counter A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations

Availability: Ready to download

A family memoir that traces the myths, legends, and secrets of seven generations of remarkable women. All families have their myths and legends. For many years Juliet Nicolson accepted hers--the dangerous beauty of her flamenco dancing great-great-grandmother Pepita, the flirty manipulation of her great-grandmother Victoria, the infamous eccentricity of her grandmother Vita A family memoir that traces the myths, legends, and secrets of seven generations of remarkable women. All families have their myths and legends. For many years Juliet Nicolson accepted hers--the dangerous beauty of her flamenco dancing great-great-grandmother Pepita, the flirty manipulation of her great-grandmother Victoria, the infamous eccentricity of her grandmother Vita Sackville-West, her mother’s Tory-conventional background. But then Juliet, a distinguished historian, started to question. As she did so, she sifted fact from fiction, uncovering details and secrets long held just out of sight. A House Full of Daughters takes us through seven generations of women. In the nineteenth-century slums of Malaga, the salons of fin-de-siecle Washington D.C., an English boarding school during the Second World War, Chelsea in the 1960s, the knife-edge that was New York City in the 1980s, these women emerge for Juliet as people in their own right, but also as part of who she is and where she has come from. A House Full of Daughters is one woman’s investigation into the nature of family, memory, and the past. As Juliet finds uncomfortable patterns reflected in these distant and more recent versions of herself, she realizes her challenge is to embrace the good and reject the hazards that have trapped past generations. (From Farrar, Straus and Giroux's Official Summary via Macmillan)


Compare

A family memoir that traces the myths, legends, and secrets of seven generations of remarkable women. All families have their myths and legends. For many years Juliet Nicolson accepted hers--the dangerous beauty of her flamenco dancing great-great-grandmother Pepita, the flirty manipulation of her great-grandmother Victoria, the infamous eccentricity of her grandmother Vita A family memoir that traces the myths, legends, and secrets of seven generations of remarkable women. All families have their myths and legends. For many years Juliet Nicolson accepted hers--the dangerous beauty of her flamenco dancing great-great-grandmother Pepita, the flirty manipulation of her great-grandmother Victoria, the infamous eccentricity of her grandmother Vita Sackville-West, her mother’s Tory-conventional background. But then Juliet, a distinguished historian, started to question. As she did so, she sifted fact from fiction, uncovering details and secrets long held just out of sight. A House Full of Daughters takes us through seven generations of women. In the nineteenth-century slums of Malaga, the salons of fin-de-siecle Washington D.C., an English boarding school during the Second World War, Chelsea in the 1960s, the knife-edge that was New York City in the 1980s, these women emerge for Juliet as people in their own right, but also as part of who she is and where she has come from. A House Full of Daughters is one woman’s investigation into the nature of family, memory, and the past. As Juliet finds uncomfortable patterns reflected in these distant and more recent versions of herself, she realizes her challenge is to embrace the good and reject the hazards that have trapped past generations. (From Farrar, Straus and Giroux's Official Summary via Macmillan)

30 review for A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This book does two things. It covers the biographies of eight generations of women in the author's family as well as offering a close study of the frequently fraught mother- daughter relationship all women recognize. It starts with the mother of the author's great-great-grandmother, who was born in 1830. It concludes with the author's own granddaughter born in the second decade of the 21st Century. By studying these women what do we learn? Mistakes are repeated. To some extent the author is writ This book does two things. It covers the biographies of eight generations of women in the author's family as well as offering a close study of the frequently fraught mother- daughter relationship all women recognize. It starts with the mother of the author's great-great-grandmother, who was born in 1830. It concludes with the author's own granddaughter born in the second decade of the 21st Century. By studying these women what do we learn? Mistakes are repeated. To some extent the author is writing this book to help her understand her own behavior and to stop making the same mistakes! Secondly she is writing simply because her family has always written about themselves. Writing is a family trait. Many of Vita Sackville-West’s novels are in fact about herself and her family. Hopefully readers too will learn from what the author has learned. Mistakes are often repeated from one generation to the next. I have noticed this, and haven’t you? The author is very honest; she recognized that she was repeating the very same mistakes made by previous women in her family. Every woman reading this account will recognize that we do tend to repeat the same errors. So how do we stop this? Through understanding and a conscious decision to shape our own lives as we want them to be. This is not a self-help book, but it does offer food for thought. What starts as an interesting study of particular women moves on to become a psychological study of relationships. There is much about the Sackville-West family and Vita Sackville-West in particular. The author is an historian, but history is not the focus of the book. Historical events are thrown in as a backdrop, only mentioned to the extent with which they influence family life. Historical details are dispersed as interesting tidbits that help explain the era and why particular choices were made. Authors, literature and trends are detailed; these are important since they draw the atmosphere of the time and place. Clothes and food and particularly place play a prominent role in these women's lives. Much is said about the Sackville-West residencies. Places and life in France, in Spain and in NYC are well described. I must point out the writing is good, both in its description of places and how people behave. In expression of thoughts too. Just two examples: -Grief, such a small word, and yet an iceberg of a word....Grief is the price you pay for love. -Within dying there is so much living. The book gets better the further you go. Why? Because it gets more personal. The author speaks from her heart. She had a deep relationship with her grandmother, Vita Sackville-West; she had a difficult relationship with her mother, a close relationship with her father and when she herself has a granddaughter she has begun a path toward deeper self-understanding. With this understanding comes appreciation of the granddaughter held in her arms. I am left feeling a bit envious, a little bit jealous. Me? I don’t have all my answers. Family relationships are difficult, quite simply because they are so important. Nobody can teach you how to deal with vulnerability, and aren't most of us unsure, vulnerable and uncertain of ourselves? Also, there isn't one answer; you have to find it for yourself, but we can read to see how others reason. It is not hard to keep track of who is who. Each person becomes a real identity. There aren't too many extraneous people to confuse the reader. Alcoholism, feminism, lesbianism and aging are covered too. Some of the ideas drawn by the author stopped too short, or rather they didn’t cover ideas I have pondered. For example, I wanted more about how it feels when both your parents have passed away. Of course maybe the author’s thoughts were simply different from mine. I enjoyed the audiobook narration by Julie Teal. For the most part, it’s easy to follow, but sometimes there is so much to consider. Then I did wish it had been a teeny bit slower. I had to have time to think. I was forced to rewind on several occasions. So good writing, food for thought and interesting people, but it takes a while to be drawn in. I recommend it to those interested in the Sackville-West family and those interested in thinking about their own mother-daughter relationships. I made that plural on purpose! We all have a mother and many of us have a daughter too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Juliet Nicolson has written some excellent books, including two works of history, “The Perfect Summer” and “The Great Silence,” plus a novel, “Abdication.” However, in this new book she turns her attention to her own family history and what a family it is . The granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, daughter of Nigel Nicolson and sister of the historian Adam Nicolson, she comes from a great literary heritage; as well as having the shadow of the great family estates of Knole an Juliet Nicolson has written some excellent books, including two works of history, “The Perfect Summer” and “The Great Silence,” plus a novel, “Abdication.” However, in this new book she turns her attention to her own family history and what a family it is . The granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, daughter of Nigel Nicolson and sister of the historian Adam Nicolson, she comes from a great literary heritage; as well as having the shadow of the great family estates of Knole and Sissinghurst as part of her history. That is not to mention her family’s involvement in politics, Vita’s greatest friend Virginia Woolf or even the fact that her favourite teacher at school was no less a person than Penelope Fitzgerald and that she was unfazed when Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor came for a visit. This book though, is not interested in the rich and famous , even if most of those who inhabit these pages are one or the other (if not both), but looks at seven generations of women in her family; from the birth of her grandmother’s grandmother in 1830 to the birth of her granddaughter. All of these women, apart from one, were privileged in terms of wealth and all were daughters – as all women are born, and remain, daughters. As Juliet Nicolson says, families have different expectations from sons and daughters and this story is riddled with secrets and maternal jealousy, as well as maternal love. This history begins with Juliet’s great-great-grandmother, the Spanish dancer, Pepita. Unlike all of the other women in this history, Pepita was born in 1830 to a life of poverty. Her mother worshipped her beautiful and talented daughter and, before long, Pepita had found fame and fortune. She also had an early marriage; an unfortunate fact when she fell in love with Lionel Sackville-West, a twenty five year old attaché at the British Legation in Germany, with whom she would have children but never a real family. The next woman in this history is Pepita’s oldest daughter, Victoria. Unlike her mother, Victoria eventually became accepted by society and married a man with the exact same name as her own father – her cousin Lionel Sackville-West. Married in 1890, the couple were originally head over heels in love; but a terrible experience with childbirth led to the marriage turning sour and left Vita as their only daughter and, indeed, only child. Vita Sackville-West was entirely unconventional and, like many of the daughters in this book, had an early , slightly suffocating, relationship with a mother, which became distant and estranged as the young girl became more independent with age. Her marriage to Harold Nicolson was, despite their difficulties, built upon a commitment to each other, although motherhood baffled Vita. We then move on to Juliet’s mother, Phillipa; whose own mother Pam married Vita’s son, Nigel Nicolson. Juliet Nicolson does not hesitate to reveal the less comfortable sides of wealth, privilege and snobbery – such as the time when Pam and a young Phillipa reduced young evacuee’s staying at their house to tears, or when she is open about the problems with alcohol she shared with her own mother. Philippa obviously cared about her daughter and visited her every day in hospital when she was once ill, but it is distressing to read how little warmth Juliet was shown and how she can even recall the rare occasions her mother held her hand. The book continues with her relationships with her own daughters, Clemmie and Flora, and the circle closes with the birth of her granddaughter, Imogen. I really enjoyed this family history, which concentrated on the female line of a family. There is the unconditional love of motherhood, but also manipulative behaviour, selfishness and benign neglect. This is an honest account of mothers and daughters and is both moving and well written. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    I've read two history books by Juliet Nicolson and enjoyed them both, so I was pretty confident I would enjoy this family memoir Nicolson starts her book with the story of her great, great grandmother, the very lowly born Spanish dancer Pepita, and then works through 7 generations of the female line to end with a beautiful chapter on her own much loved grand daughter Imogen. Much of the early part of this book will be familiar with those who have read The Disinherited by Robert Sackville West, a I've read two history books by Juliet Nicolson and enjoyed them both, so I was pretty confident I would enjoy this family memoir Nicolson starts her book with the story of her great, great grandmother, the very lowly born Spanish dancer Pepita, and then works through 7 generations of the female line to end with a beautiful chapter on her own much loved grand daughter Imogen. Much of the early part of this book will be familiar with those who have read The Disinherited by Robert Sackville West, a relative (cousin I think) of Nicolson. Nicolson is a talented, clear and elegant writer, and the early chapters show she is a more than capable historian and biographer. However, I think the book really comes into its own when she writes about her own mother, and then about herself, motherhood and her battle with alcoholism. Nicolson admits how difficult it was to write this part of the book, and indeed the doubts she had about even trying to do so. But she confronts it unflinchingly and whilst I very rarely cry at any book, this got me very close!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I loved this sweep through history told through the singular lives of the women of the author's family. Each woman's life is described in just a couple of chapters, so that I never found myself getting too bored by mundane details. Juliet Nicolson does a wonderful job of placing these women in their exact time and place while also uncovering the major and more universal themes of their lives. She examines the characters lovingly and forgives them their faults. When she tells her own story, the a I loved this sweep through history told through the singular lives of the women of the author's family. Each woman's life is described in just a couple of chapters, so that I never found myself getting too bored by mundane details. Juliet Nicolson does a wonderful job of placing these women in their exact time and place while also uncovering the major and more universal themes of their lives. She examines the characters lovingly and forgives them their faults. When she tells her own story, the author is very honest about her strengths and foibles, and you can understand her clearly as a product of her family and the particular time period in which she has lived. I loved the book because it reminded me that life is often difficult. Even living surrounded by beautiful things at places like Knole and Sissinghurst does not protect you from heartache and fear and often destructive coping mechanisms. Finally, although most of the book centers on the women in her family, the author does a brilliant job describing her father, Nigel, the son of Vita Sackville-West. I think it is a beautiful book with some poignant life lessons.

  5. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

    This is a richly layered story, spanning 7 generations over 160 years, of 2 families (the Sackville-Wests and the Nicolsons) with a focus on the lives of the women. The author, a renowned historian, shares with the reader the lives of 7 women -- starting with her great-great Spanish grandmother Pepita, who enchanted Europe with her flamenco dancing in the 1850s, winning the heart of a young British diplomat (Lionel Sackville-West) in the process; continuing onward with Pepita's daughter Victoria This is a richly layered story, spanning 7 generations over 160 years, of 2 families (the Sackville-Wests and the Nicolsons) with a focus on the lives of the women. The author, a renowned historian, shares with the reader the lives of 7 women -- starting with her great-great Spanish grandmother Pepita, who enchanted Europe with her flamenco dancing in the 1850s, winning the heart of a young British diplomat (Lionel Sackville-West) in the process; continuing onward with Pepita's daughter Victoria, who later served as her father's hostess in Washington DC, where he served as British Ambassador during the 1880s; and forward to Victoria's daughter, Vita Sackville-West; Vita's granddaughter, the author; the author's mother Philippa, with whom she had an uneasy relationship; and the author's 2 daughters, Clementine and Flora. The book takes the reader on a journey marked with many paths, showing how at times the choices made by one generation are sometimes repeated -- at heavy cost -- by future generations. "A House Full of Daughters" is also a testament to the power of love, hope, and faith, which in themselves can help a person to overcome one's own shortcomings, learn from past mistakes, and build closer, enduring ties with loved ones. This is a book that comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ALL.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Durrant

    A very moving account of seven generations of women. Interesting how things are carried on through the generations. All amazing women , love is the key! Touching and beautifully written.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I was a goodreads giveaway winner of this ARC book. Juliet Nicolson writes about seven generations of her family. She mostly writes of the women.She starts with her great great grandmother,Pepita born in Spain, daughter of Catalina. Pepita is born poor but earns money and becomes famous for being a Spanish Flamenco dancer. This book starts in 1830 Spain and spans the years up to present day with the birth of Juliet's own Granddaughter , Imogen. Each chapter writes of the lives of Pepita,Victoria I was a goodreads giveaway winner of this ARC book. Juliet Nicolson writes about seven generations of her family. She mostly writes of the women.She starts with her great great grandmother,Pepita born in Spain, daughter of Catalina. Pepita is born poor but earns money and becomes famous for being a Spanish Flamenco dancer. This book starts in 1830 Spain and spans the years up to present day with the birth of Juliet's own Granddaughter , Imogen. Each chapter writes of the lives of Pepita,Victoria, Vita,her son Nigel who marries Philipa, Juliet the author and her daughters Clementine and Flora. This book takes us from Spain, the the USA, To England, back the USA. Some of the relatives have wrote books of their own like Vita Sackville West. Most of the generations grew up well to do and went to boarding schools etc. I found part interesting. My favorite part was about Juliet's grandmother, Vita. If readers like historical non fiction memoirs, this is okay. I found some parts less interesting than others. but that is just me. Okay for the most part.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Van Leadam

    Reading about the family history of the well-known (especially if they carry double-barrelled names) seems to satisfy the readers' voyeristic needs: it gives us the insiders' view of persons we know in quite abstract terms. In this respect, the book does not disappoint: there are lots of scandalous stories to keep us intrigued and occupied. Probably the strongest aspect of the book is the dispassionate way they are told; its weakest the formulaic expressions used to tell them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liana

    The promise of the prologue goes unfulfilled. There is a lack of organization and continuity to the writing, and it is truly the story of very unlikeable people. Or perhaps the author simply spent too much time discussing the horrific flaws of her family and not enough time on creating a story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    The mother/daughter relationship is notoriously complex, and in this family history (half biography and the other half memoir) author Juliet Nicolson has particularly rich material to work with. Although the book is a very personal project for Nicolson, in the sense that she is hoping to fill in the shadowy outlines of her female ancestors, she is also aiming for a social history and even a psychological one. Maternal patterns of smothering, possessive love are contrasted with a more distant, ev The mother/daughter relationship is notoriously complex, and in this family history (half biography and the other half memoir) author Juliet Nicolson has particularly rich material to work with. Although the book is a very personal project for Nicolson, in the sense that she is hoping to fill in the shadowy outlines of her female ancestors, she is also aiming for a social history and even a psychological one. Maternal patterns of smothering, possessive love are contrasted with a more distant, even indifferent model, and Nicolson is particularly interested in the ways that maternal insecurity are handed down to the next generation. Although this book is ostensibly about mothers and daughters, Nicolson also emphasises the nurturing role that fathers have played in her family history - and most particularly in the case of her own parents. Beginning with Pepita, great-great grandmother to the author, Nicolson attempts to separate out the fragments of family legend in order to discover something more complete (authentic?) about this female ancestor. Born in Malaga to poor and undistinguished parents, Pepita manages to leverage her good lucks and grace into a successful dancing career. She captures the attention of an English aristocrat (described as ‘old’ Lionel Sackville, to differentiate him from his nephew ‘young’ Lionel Sackville), and ends up being a common-law wife to him and bearing him many children. The oldest of these children, Victoria, ends up marrying the young Lionel Sackville (her first cousin) and becomes the mistress of Knole - one of the grandest aristocratic homes in England. Two generations from poverty in Spain to the highest rung of English society: it reads more like a fairy story or fantasy than real life. I read this book because of the Vita Sackville-West connection, but ironically she does not particularly stand out in this long line of interesting women. Mother to the author’s father Nigel, Vita’s life is somewhat downplayed; and Juliet’s childhood memories of her, primarily in the garden she created at Sissinghurst, are given more attention than her bolder experiments. To be fair, Vita’s bisexuality and unconventionality are referenced, but there is much more emphasis on the Vita of later years and the unexpectedly close partnership she achieved with her husband Harold. Nicolson has fascinating material to work with, and all three of her female ancestors have lives interesting enough to warrant a book of their own. Without a doubt, though, her selective history of her own family becomes most emotionally affecting when she delves into the life of her own mother. Although Philippa comes from a ‘good’ family, they have none of the glamorous unconventionality or aristocratic insouciance of the Sackvilles. Nicolson describes them as Tory, conventional and well-heeled. In many ways, Nicolson pities her mother - who she feels has been a victim (of sorts) of history. Sandwiched between two brothers in her family, nothing much has been expected of or for Phillipa - except that she be pretty, competent at bridge and tennis, and make a good marriage. Her marriage to the significantly older Nigel Nicolson is a disaster for them both. Not only are they temperamentally unsuited, but they do not love each other. Although the author was close to her father, she is not unaware of his more difficult, prickly qualities. His intellectual high standards, and capacity for hard work, makes him incapable of understanding the ‘social butterfly’ life of his wife. Even more corrosively, he finds the sexual and physically affectionate side of life very difficult - and even repugnant. Philippa is both a maddening and pitiable figure, and I can understand well why her unhappy life and inconsistent parenting scarred her daughter. Although Nicolson ends the book by describing her own daughters and her toddler (at the time of writing) granddaughter, it is her brave attempt to understand her own maternal legacy which really defines the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathrin

    I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley. I wasn't that lucky by finding memoirs in 2016. Oftentimes, they turned out to be real different from what I was looking for at that moment. However, 'A House Full of Daughters' started strong and I was completely in love by the middle of the book. There're two problems that usually make memoirs quite tricky for me. One, the author might not find the right stories and items left behind and two, sometimes the book ends up to be a collection of le I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley. I wasn't that lucky by finding memoirs in 2016. Oftentimes, they turned out to be real different from what I was looking for at that moment. However, 'A House Full of Daughters' started strong and I was completely in love by the middle of the book. There're two problems that usually make memoirs quite tricky for me. One, the author might not find the right stories and items left behind and two, sometimes the book ends up to be a collection of let's say letters but there's no overall theme behind them. Nicolson was lucky as a few of her ancestors already left diaries and autobiographies behind. Besides, talking about and reflecting about other family members seemed to quite common within her family. What I liked the most was the fact that I could tell from the beginning what she set out to do. By looking at the oldest daughter in every generation she presented their lives within their time as well as searching for common themes that united the women in her family. There was a lot of honesty involved when it came to the darker aspects of the story. I believe it takes a lot of courage to talk about the not-so-bright parts in your family history. The only downside for me was the focus on the oldest daughter which is understandable as you can't talk about all of them but it felt a little awkward when there was more than one girl. I'm a big fan of the writing style. The author managed to present current day events as intriguing as the 20th century past. Really entertaining and easy to read. The end of the book made me quite emotional and I can see myself reading it again as there're a lot of information and maybe I'll discover new aspects the second time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    KateKing58

    These big, inter-generational stories are often not best served by being told by family members. Yes, they get access to material that other biographers might not have been able to use, but they are often too uncritical of that material and too ready to bow to family sensibilities. The early chapters, when the author is reporting on ancestresses that she did not know, read very much like an exercise in name-dropping. It is only when she writes about her grandfather, her parents, and her daughter These big, inter-generational stories are often not best served by being told by family members. Yes, they get access to material that other biographers might not have been able to use, but they are often too uncritical of that material and too ready to bow to family sensibilities. The early chapters, when the author is reporting on ancestresses that she did not know, read very much like an exercise in name-dropping. It is only when she writes about her grandfather, her parents, and her daughters that the book comes alive. And, despite her claim to be writing about daughters, it is motherhood in its good and bad aspects that unites most of the writing. Note to the publisher - a person who had the library book before me felt compelled to correct spelling and grammatical errors encountered in its pages. I am not sure that all the corrections of "who" to "whom" were correct, but there were still enough egregious errors to indicate that the editor and proof-reader were not at the top of their game.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    BOTW http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0774ysd Description: Juliet Stevenson reads Juliet Nicolson's journey through seven generations of women, including her Flamenco dancing great great grandmother Pepita, her grandmother Vita Sackville West and her mother Philippa - all of whom have shaped and formed, in extraordinary ways, exactly who she has become today. We journey through the slums of 19th century Malaga to the political elite of Washington, from English boarding schools during the second w BOTW http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0774ysd Description: Juliet Stevenson reads Juliet Nicolson's journey through seven generations of women, including her Flamenco dancing great great grandmother Pepita, her grandmother Vita Sackville West and her mother Philippa - all of whom have shaped and formed, in extraordinary ways, exactly who she has become today. We journey through the slums of 19th century Malaga to the political elite of Washington, from English boarding schools during the second world war, to London in the 60s and New York in the 80s. It is one woman's investigation into how her past forms and informs her future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the Week: Juliet Stevenson reads Juliet Nicolson's journey through seven generations of women, including her Flamenco dancing great great grandmother Pepita, her grandmother Vita Sackville West and her mother Philippa - all of whom have shaped and formed, in extraordinary ways, exactly who she has become today. We journey through the slums of 19th century Malaga to the political elite of Washington, from English boarding schools during the second world war, to London in From BBC radio 4 - Book of the Week: Juliet Stevenson reads Juliet Nicolson's journey through seven generations of women, including her Flamenco dancing great great grandmother Pepita, her grandmother Vita Sackville West and her mother Philippa - all of whom have shaped and formed, in extraordinary ways, exactly who she has become today. We journey through the slums of 19th century Malaga to the political elite of Washington, from English boarding schools during the second world war, to London in the 60s and New York in the 80s. It is one woman's investigation into how her past forms and informs her future. A Pier production for BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0774ysd

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris McCracken

    An exploration of the lives and loves of a very posh family indeed. Struggles with love, struggles with drink, the pain (!) of having to pay inheritance tax (I mean, how much sympathy can you have for anyone who owns a house with 365 rooms...?) I can't help but feel that it would have strongly benefited from a far more brutal editor.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I am an admirer pf Juliet Nicolson's historical studies of women's lives; this work is intensely personal though. A must for anyone with an interst in Bloomsbury and associated folk but much more than that. How interesting to see how the dysfunctionality passes through generations. Very readable and I did not find it too sentimental. Not one of your tedious confessional works!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    From BBC Radio 4 abridged version - really very interesting though it petered off with the more current descriptions in the last part.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    If you liked this, try the similar (but better) The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    3.5 stars An interesting, well written book, but oh, so much privilege. I'd be interested to read a similar book about 7 female generations of a more 'ordinary' family.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    More like 3.5. The author's premise was interesting but only sometimes fully fleshed out. I did enjoy reading about women at various historical points. A fascinating family. The book definitely picked up for me in the second half.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    A wonderful evocative read, a glimpse into a world and existence we will never witness again, leading up to an Unknown future. How our ancestors impact upon us! I learnt a lot reading this book, not just about the people, but about life itself.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    A raw and honest insight into seven generations of the feminine side of the Sackville-West dynasty, given from the perspective of Juliet Nicholson, daughter of Nigel Nicholson and Phillipa Tennyson d'Eyncourt. I bought this book at the Sackville-West's ancestral home of Sissinghurst where I felt the presence of this family's creative and expressive spirit still lingering in every nook and cranny and in the spectacularly beautiful garden. I thoroughly enjoyed Nicholson's straightforward narrative A raw and honest insight into seven generations of the feminine side of the Sackville-West dynasty, given from the perspective of Juliet Nicholson, daughter of Nigel Nicholson and Phillipa Tennyson d'Eyncourt. I bought this book at the Sackville-West's ancestral home of Sissinghurst where I felt the presence of this family's creative and expressive spirit still lingering in every nook and cranny and in the spectacularly beautiful garden. I thoroughly enjoyed Nicholson's straightforward narrative and the thoughtful perspectives on the relationships and decisions of her forebears. Truly excellent.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Juli Rahel

    The title was the first thing that intrigued me about A House Full of Daughters as did the idea of bringing together seven generations, spanning decades upon decades of family history. So I was very excited when I got the chance to read it and am very glad I did. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Family history is absolutely fascinating, especially when it is conducted by a family member themselves. I myself have been The title was the first thing that intrigued me about A House Full of Daughters as did the idea of bringing together seven generations, spanning decades upon decades of family history. So I was very excited when I got the chance to read it and am very glad I did. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Family history is absolutely fascinating, especially when it is conducted by a family member themselves. I myself have been fascinated by the history of my family, the way in which the different generations interacted with each other and where potential roots can be found. And since Nicolson comes from a fascinating family, one which started in Spain, stopped over in Washington before becoming nobility in England , A House Full of Daughters is quite an intriguing read. What immediately endeared Nicolson and her book to me, however, was that she purposefully looked at the women in her family and their roles and relationships with each other. History is largely man-made and hence full of men doing interesting things that we're all taught about, with women too often sidelined and invisible. What Nicolson shows in A House Full of Daughters is that women have always led equally fascinating lives, even if they haven't been as reported about, as men and that these deserve as much attention. The emphasis upon daughterhood as well, a singular concept which shows how women never truly lose their ties to family, provided Nicolson with an interesting perspective to approach her family history. I thoroughly enjoyed A House Full of Daughters but I don't think it's necessarily for everyone to read about the ups and downs of a single family, even if it is an interesting one. I'd recommend this both to fans of Historical Fiction and Biographies. For full review: http://universeinwords.blogspot.co.uk...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Disclaimer: I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. This is my honest review. I really enjoyed "A House Full of Daughters." Juliet Nicolson weaves a beautiful memoir of 7 generations of daughters in her family. She traces her lineage back to her great-great-grandmother, Pepita, who was a Spanish flamenco dancer. Similar, yet different, challenges face each daughter in their relationships with parents, spouse, place, etc. There are parts of this book that are so sad, I almost cried, Disclaimer: I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. This is my honest review. I really enjoyed "A House Full of Daughters." Juliet Nicolson weaves a beautiful memoir of 7 generations of daughters in her family. She traces her lineage back to her great-great-grandmother, Pepita, who was a Spanish flamenco dancer. Similar, yet different, challenges face each daughter in their relationships with parents, spouse, place, etc. There are parts of this book that are so sad, I almost cried, and others that are beautiful and pure joy. I read through the whole book in less than a week, reading about 50 pages a day because I was so into the people and their stories. Juliet did a wonderful job of sharing the stories of hope, hurt, love, and loss amongst these 7 daughters. Note: I would rate this book as PG-13 for some sexual elements in the memoir.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pierke Bosschieter

    An unflinching look at the women in Juliet Nicolson’s own family, starting with her great-great-grandmother Pepita, the Spanish dancer and closing her story with the birth of her granddaughter Imogen. For one with an ongoing interest in Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, the first part of the story was familiar territory. The story picks up when she tells about the marriage of her parents, Nigel Nicolson (Vita and Harold’s son) and Phillipa Tennyson-d'Eyncourt and her own childhood. Her hon An unflinching look at the women in Juliet Nicolson’s own family, starting with her great-great-grandmother Pepita, the Spanish dancer and closing her story with the birth of her granddaughter Imogen. For one with an ongoing interest in Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, the first part of the story was familiar territory. The story picks up when she tells about the marriage of her parents, Nigel Nicolson (Vita and Harold’s son) and Phillipa Tennyson-d'Eyncourt and her own childhood. Her honest and compelling account of being a mother and battling with alcoholism is admirable. The book reminded me of Margaret Forster’s Hidden Lives: A Family Memoir. Also a story centered on the women in one family. It’s a story that I will savour for a long time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Hall

    Each chapter in this fascinating book concerns itself with famous ancestors, 2 daughters and a granddaughter of Juliet's. From her Spanish great, great grandmother Pepita, growing up in Malaga, becoming a famous Flamenco dancer and feted all over Spain via Vita Sackville West the sometimes ambivalent writer who's first love was Knole in Kent, a grand family house, now owned by the National Trust. Juliet writes fascinating life stories of the many strong independent ladies that are a part of her fa Each chapter in this fascinating book concerns itself with famous ancestors, 2 daughters and a granddaughter of Juliet's. From her Spanish great, great grandmother Pepita, growing up in Malaga, becoming a famous Flamenco dancer and feted all over Spain via Vita Sackville West the sometimes ambivalent writer who's first love was Knole in Kent, a grand family house, now owned by the National Trust. Juliet writes fascinating life stories of the many strong independent ladies that are a part of her family history. A great book to dip into as each part can be read independently. Very highly recommended. I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Chatto and Windus via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Hall

    Each chapter in this fascinating book concerns itself with famous ancestors, two daughters and a granddaughter of Juliet's. From her Spanish great, great grandmother, Pepita, growing up in Malaga, becoming a famous Flamenco Dancer and feted all over Spain via Vita Sackville West, the sometimes ambivalent writer, who's first love was Knole in Kent, a grand family house, now owned by the National Trust. Juliet writes fascinating life stories of the many strong independent ladies that are a part of h Each chapter in this fascinating book concerns itself with famous ancestors, two daughters and a granddaughter of Juliet's. From her Spanish great, great grandmother, Pepita, growing up in Malaga, becoming a famous Flamenco Dancer and feted all over Spain via Vita Sackville West, the sometimes ambivalent writer, who's first love was Knole in Kent, a grand family house, now owned by the National Trust. Juliet writes fascinating life stories of the many strong independent ladies that are a part of her family history. A great book to dip into as each part can be read independently. Very highly recommended. I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Chatto and Windus via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Liz Gray

    I was predisposed to like this book because I have always been fascinated by the author's family, notably her grandmother Vita Sackville-West. Nicolson, whose past work includes both fiction and history, has done a remarkable job of writing about her family by focusing on the women who both preceded and follow her, and by weaving history with family lore. There's a lot of pain and sadness in this story but it does not overwhelm the narrative. Though I wish there had been a little more about Vita I was predisposed to like this book because I have always been fascinated by the author's family, notably her grandmother Vita Sackville-West. Nicolson, whose past work includes both fiction and history, has done a remarkable job of writing about her family by focusing on the women who both preceded and follow her, and by weaving history with family lore. There's a lot of pain and sadness in this story but it does not overwhelm the narrative. Though I wish there had been a little more about Vita (besides the author's daughters, she is the only woman who doesn't get two chapters), I found this family history honest, unique, and compelling.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bobby Title

    I was intrigued by the title and disappointed by the book. I understand that you get what your ancestors leave for you, and if you are really lucky there will be joy abounding. But to read a memoir where the bulk of 7 generations are full of negativity really is a bummer. I don't mean to be Pollyannaish but dear me, it sounds like the weakest genes won out, for sure. It was hard for me to imagine such a string of difficult and unlovely upper-class people inhabiting one family. I DID finish the bo I was intrigued by the title and disappointed by the book. I understand that you get what your ancestors leave for you, and if you are really lucky there will be joy abounding. But to read a memoir where the bulk of 7 generations are full of negativity really is a bummer. I don't mean to be Pollyannaish but dear me, it sounds like the weakest genes won out, for sure. It was hard for me to imagine such a string of difficult and unlovely upper-class people inhabiting one family. I DID finish the book, but only because I had nothing in line to read next. I was sorry to have found it such a depressing book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    Hugely disappointing. I do not ordinarily read non-fiction, but after reading the amazing biography of Louisa Adams (John Quincy Adams' remarkable wife), I thought this would be equally engrossing. Not even close. This book tells of seven women beginning with the author's great grandmother, a flamenco dancer and ending with her own grandchildren. What a pathetic bunch of whiney pointless women, none of whom learns anything from the generation that preceded them. Alcoholics who leads empty lives o Hugely disappointing. I do not ordinarily read non-fiction, but after reading the amazing biography of Louisa Adams (John Quincy Adams' remarkable wife), I thought this would be equally engrossing. Not even close. This book tells of seven women beginning with the author's great grandmother, a flamenco dancer and ending with her own grandchildren. What a pathetic bunch of whiney pointless women, none of whom learns anything from the generation that preceded them. Alcoholics who leads empty lives of their own making. What a waste of my time and effort. Nothing to be learned here. Nothing interesting. Nothing entertaining. Save yourself.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.