Five Sisters by James Fox.
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster(May 2, 2001)
With the same narrative panache and gift for good gossip that made White Mischief such fun, James Fox turns his attention here to the Langhorne sisters, Southern beauties who wielded a powerful influence in politics and culture during the tumultuous years from the turn of the 20th century through the Second World War. Lizzie (1867-1914) married a Virginian and stayed home, but her siblings conquered Yankee America and England. Irene (1873-1956) married Charles Dana Gibson and served as the model for that all-American icon, the Gibson girl. Baby sister Nora (1889-1955), dreamy and artistic, had a turbulent life scattered with lovers including, perhaps, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nancy (1879-1964) entered English society through second husband Waldorf Astor and focused her formidable energies on politics as the first female member of Parliament and hostess to the notorious "Cliveden set." Sensitive, introspective Phyllis (1880-1937), the author's grandmother, survived a bad first marriage and an affair with a British officer to happily wed the brilliant English economist Bob Brand. Fox makes excellent use of thousands of the sisters' letters to reveal five dynamic personalities in their own words. His shrewd commentary provides context for a riveting tale of family ties, social commitments, and the complex interplay between them that shaped the Langhorne women's lives.
Without realizing it, when I began this book, I couldn’t help but remember reading a book about “other sisters” called The Mitfords. This was an unintentional thing but once it was in my 1/2 drugged 1/2 depressed brain I was stuck with it.
It didn’t help that the one sister that they talked the most about is named Nancy.. but it wasn’t Nancy Mitford! agggg!
The book is about a family born In the beautiful state of Virginia in the very early 1900’s. As you can read in the Amazon Review they go off and marry “money”… Charles Gibson of the Gibson Girls and of course Nancy who marries Waldorf Astor. Known both in the USA and England. In fact, most of the story takes place in England !
The book (to me) is not as well written as the book on the Mitfords, and at times I found it dragging.. but being still a bit of “history” I found myself staying with the book and reading it all, even though it took me a very long time. (also admitting my eyes and health have kept me from doing a lot of reading)
This is a book that unless you are into the time period and those who marry for money and status and yet most are lucky enough to also have brains.. you might not rush out and put this on your must read list.
I was glad when towards the end of the book it was the time of Roosevelt , and Churchill and Hitler and so a bit of that time period was covered also.
The book was interesting but a bit long in the tooth.. :o) sorta like the person who read it..heh..
I’m glad I read it but not sure I’d tell anyone to put it on their wish list.