By Lisa Hilton
A definitive portrait of one of the most compelling monarchs England has ever had: Elizabeth I.'We are a prince from a line of princes.'Lisa Hilton's majestic biography of Elizabeth I, 'The Virgin Queen', uses new research to present a fresh interpretation of Elizabeth as a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince, delivering a very different perspective on her emotional and sexual life, and upon her attempts to mould England into a European state. Elizabeth was not an exceptional woman but an exceptional ruler, and this book challenges readers to reassess her reign, and the colourful drama, scandal and intrigue to which it is always linked.
The English Opium-Eater
By Robert Morrison
Definitive life of the author of CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER, journalist, political commentator and biographer.Thomas De Quincey's friendships with leading poets and men of letters in the Romantic and Victorian periods - including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle - have long placed him at the centre of 19th-century literary studies. De Quincey also stands at the meeting point in the culture wars between Edinburgh and London; between high art and popular taste; and between the devotees of the Romantic imagination and those of hack journalism. His writing was a tremendous influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, William Burroughs and Peter Ackroyd.De Quincey is a fascinating (and topical) figure for other reasons too: a self-mythologizing autobiographer whose attitudes to drug-induced creativity and addiction strike highly resonant chords for a contemporary readership. Robert Morrison's biography passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected essayist, critic and biographer.
By Richard Davenport-Hines
The life of Lady Desborough - beautiful heiress, aristocratic hostess, unfaithful wife, tragic mother, Edwardian icon.Born in 1867 and orphaned at three, Ettie Fane was brought up by a beloved grandmother and then two adoring, almost incestuous, bachelor uncles. At twenty she married Willy Grenfell, later Lord Desborough. Beautiful, rich, charming and clever, Ettie soon became a leading hostess at the two magnificent country houses she had inherited. Leading politicians, writers and artists were very much part of her circle.But there was a dark side too, as this book will reveal. Ettie could be manipulative and cruel. Her eldest son Julian, after a nervous breakdown at Oxford, rejected her world and values. Nemesis and tragedy were not far away. In 1915 Julian died of war wounds. Six weeks later her second son Billy was killed in action. Her youngest son Ivo would be killed shortly after the war. But despite intense private misery, she reacted with outward courage and self-mastery. Grief revealed the greatness of her spirit. In the 1920s and 1930s she continued to collect new types, especially gifted young men, relishing people of all ages up to her death in 1952, a redoutable survivor from a vanished age.
By Miss Read
The enchanting childhood memoirs of bestselling author Miss Read.Miss Read's early days were spent with two remarkable grandmothers - one in Lewisham and one in Walton-on-the-Naze. EARLY DAYS is full of childhood memories of an extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins and their houses full of mystery and adventure, where Miss Read spent so much time, living in the shadow of the First World War.At the age of seven, Miss Read moved to the small village of Chelsfield, Kent, into a magical new world - and so began her love of the English countryside which was to have such a strong influence on her career as a writer. Her evocative descriptions of the village school, the joys of exploring the woods and lanes rich in wildlife and of childhood events, from toffee-making to the treat of a lift on the corn-chandler's cart, vividly convey this time as one of the happiest of her life.