Tuesday, August 26, 2014

put on reserve at NYPL:Darling Monster The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to Son John Julius Norwich, 1939-1952 Cooper, Diana, 1892-1986

PW Reviews 2014 July #2
"She was an inveterate letter-writer," Norwich (Absolute Monarchs: The History of Papacy) declares in the introduction to his intriguing but uneven collection of letters from his mother, Lady Diana Cooper. She was born to a duke, and became a socialite, a great beauty, a movie actress, ambassador's wife, and doting mother. Cooper led an extraordinary life by any standard, and her letters give readers entrée to a rarified world. This sampling of correspondence covers crucial years during which Cooper's husband served as minister of information during WWII, as well as Cooper's life in Paris as an ambassador's wife, and her eventual retirement to the French countryside. Her letters are open and honest, even when writing to her son when he was still a child, and peppered with references to her famed acquaintances, including Winston Churchill, Laurence Olivier and Janet Leigh, and Nancy Mitford. The book is most engaging in the first half, as Cooper describes London during the Blitz and her adventures running a small farm. With plenty of room devoted to mundane details like the weather or illness, the volume is admirably annotated, though readers may struggle to keep track of all the names cited, and yearn for more context. Nevertheless, Cooper is always quick with a turn of phrase, and the collection reminds us of a time, not so long ago, when letters were a natural part of life. 45 b&w photos in 16-page insert. (Aug.)
[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

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