By Sofka Zinovieff
Just like the Bolter and Portrait of a wedding, this beguiling, heady story of a scandalous ménage à trois between England's higher sessions combines memoir and biography to re-create an unforgettably decadent world.
Among the glittering stars of British society, Sofka Zinovieff's grandparents lived and enjoyed with abandon. Robert Heber-Percy used to be a speeding younger guy who may particularly have a drink than open a booklet, so his involvement with Jennifer Fry, a beautiful socialite well-known for her variety and grace, used to be now not unbelievable. yet by the point Robert met and married Jennifer, he had already been concerned with a man—Gerald, Lord Berners—for greater than a decade.
Stout, eccentric and considerably older, Gerald was once a composer, author and aesthete—a inventive aristocrat such a lot at domestic within the corporation of the era's most sensible and brightest minds. He additionally owned certainly one of Britain's most endearing stately houses, Faringdon condo, in Oxfordshire, which less than his stewardship grew to become a beacon of sybaritic attractiveness. Robert and Gerald made an not going couple, in particular simply because they lived jointly at Faringdon condo whilst homosexuality used to be unlawful. after which a pregnant Jennifer moved into Faringdon in 1942, making a bold ménage à trois.
In this beautiful, interesting narrative of bohemian aristocracy, Sofka Zinovieff probes the mysteries of her grandparents and the 3rd guy of their marriage: Gerald, the complicated and gifted inheritor to a mythical condominium, its partitions coated with necessary paintings and its gardens roamed by way of a bevy of doves, the place he entertained each person from Igor Stravinsky to Gertrude Stein. What introduced Robert and Jennifer jointly less than his roof, and why did Jennifer stay—and marry Robert?
Blending memoir and biography in her quest to put previous ghosts to relaxation, Zinovieff items jointly the complex fact at the back of the scandals of revelry and sexuality. The ensuing tale, outlined by way of willing perception, deep affection and tremendous wit, captures the honour and indulgence of the age, and explores the various ways that we've the means to like.
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Additional resources for The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother, and Me: An Aristocratic Family, a High-Society Scandal, and an Extraordinary Legacy
In its own way, the house was as horsey as Jane’s, but at a higher, wealthier level: wonderful paintings of horses, including a few by George Stubbs himself, bronzes of horses from every era, shelf after shelf of gleaming polo trophies, some of them works of art in themselves. There was a pianist at the big white Steinway grand playing tunes from Cole Porter, Noel Coward, and Rogers and Hart, while the butler circulated through the room reﬁlling people’s glasses. It was all like stepping back into the 1920s.
That’s what I said to him. ” She paused. ” “Up to a point. ” I knew better than to put the blame on Black Jack. You can’t criticize the horse somebody has lent you—it just isn’t done. Jane chuckled. “Nobody’s done that in years,” she said. ” “Aye, that he did,” Thady said contentedly. “I told him that’s what happens when you get a real daredevil in the hunt ﬁeld. ” He sipped his tea, into which Jane had poured a generous shot of Irish whiskey. ” The same thought had occurred to me, which perhaps explains why I never repeated the experience.
I gave a sigh of relief as we turned off the main road into a narrower, 38 Horse People but quieter, dirt one, then, after what seemed like a long time, onto the gravel of a driveway that took us around the side of a magniﬁcent old brick mansion to a vast expanse of lawn, on which I saw two or three dozen more horses and riders, mixed in with a lot of well-dressed people on foot—for foxhunting is as much a social occasion as a sport, in which seeing who is there and being seen are perhaps more important to most people than killing a fox.
The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother, and Me: An Aristocratic Family, a High-Society Scandal, and an Extraordinary Legacy by Sofka Zinovieff