A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers

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A masterfully atmospheric book of hidden lives and family secrets from the celebrated biographer

A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers, Michael Holroyd

A Book of Secrets is a masterfully atmospheric treasure-trove of hidden lives, uncelebrated achievements and family mysteries.

Acclaimed biographer Michael Holroyd peers into dusty corners to bring a company of unknown women into the light; Alice Keppel was the mistress of both the second Lord Grimthorpe and the Prince of Wales; Eve Fairfax was Lord Grimthorpe's abandoned fiancée and sometime muse of Auguste Rodin; and the novelist Violet Trefusis was the lover of Vita Sackville-West.

Taking the reader on a journey of discovery from Ravello to Paris, from Kirkstall Grange in Yorkshire to Vita Sackville-West's home at Knole, A Book of Secrets lucidly gives voice to fragile human connections.

Available Formats

  • Paperback
    $19.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9780099548942
    Published: 02/01/2012
    Imprint: Vintage
    Extent: 272 pages
  • Hardback
    $46.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9780701185343
    Published: 15/11/2010
    Imprint: Chatto & Windus
    Extent: 272 pages
  • eBook
    ISBN: 9781407063751
    Published: 15/11/2010
    Imprint: Vintage Digital
    Extent: 272 pages
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"A subtle paean to the art of biography. It is a biographical experiment, but a deeply humane and sensitive one. It glows with the energy of lives investigated, restored, reanimated and celebrated." - Sarah Bakewell, Sunday Times

"Here, he has given us the distilled essence of biography and a fitting end to what he evokes as 'the comedy of life'." - Lisa Appignanesi, Observer

"As is always the case with Holroyd, the reader comes away equally inspired, equally curious, and lavishly entertained by a story-teller of the first rank" - Scotsman

"A small gem of humanity, curiosity and observation with a wonderful, rolling undercurrent of comedy" - Sunday Telegraph

"Scintillating... Holroyd's book is a sly, inconclusive and utterly bewitching dance through the elusive narrative echoes that make up the biographer's art" - Metro

"A prince among biographers" - Boyd Tonkin, Independent, Christmas round up

"Beautifully and immaculately written" - Country Life

"[The book] displays all the wisdom of a long life in a story linking the author with the lives of three extraordinary women connected over the centuries by an opulent Amalfi Coast villa" - Psychologies Magazine - Mariella Frostrup

"A touching story of human frailty" - Leslie McDowell, Independent on Sunday

"Humane and sensitive, his book glows with the energy of lives restored, reanimated and celebrated" - Sarah Bakewell, Sunday Times