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Annabel: An Unconventional Life Hardcover – 8 Mar 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; 1st edition (8 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297829661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297829669
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 822,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

She writes the way she speaks. Directly and amusingly..... This is a wonderful read. Annabel stays a lady through-out - no lurid exposes and the like - yet she has a voice, and a very moving one. (EVENING STANDARD Taki)

Annabel Goldsmith's conversation is a joy. Out rattles a stream of anecdote and comment so racy, gossipy and funny........this book is rather like that (DAILY MAIL Anne de Courcy)

'There are some farcical moments........ she writes best about her servants, who she seems to have had genuine affection and towards whom she has behaved with noblesse oblige'. (Christopher Silvester THE SUNDAY TIMES)

I soon found myself enjoying the book immensely. (Hugh Massingberd THE SPECTATOR)

this is a well-ordered, decently written book. (Selina Hastings THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

...

Book Description

Memoirs of the woman who gave her name to London's hippest nightclub, 'Annabel's' and was married to the entrepreneur Sir James Goldsmith

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First Sentence
All my hopes for immortality were severely shaken in December 2000 by an incident which nearly wiped out three generations of my family. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Weatherford on 25 Jun. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lady Annabel has had a fun and privileged life, albeit one marked by tragedy. This is a fascinating glimpse of aristocratic life, but it would have been a better story with more disciplined editing. Lady Annabel seems to have assumed that anyone who would read her memoirs would already know all about her, so she makes no effort at all to preserve dramatic tension. The book is organized in chronological chapters, but typically Lady Annabel will introduce a person, place, or theme, and then carry on with it to its conclusion before returning to her place in the narrative, mentioning crucial details about her own future along the way. This steals much of the drama from a dramatic life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chelli on 1 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Annabel is the kind of person you hope you'll be sat next to at a dinner party. She's absolutely full of hilarious, fascinating and tragic tales. Her stories cover such a wide range of subjects too - tales of the rich & famous, royalty, glamorous parties, exotic travel, affairs and shocking accidents. You could never be bored listening to her.
But unfortunately the tales don't come across quite as well in the form of a book. There are so many different characters involved in each chapter that I was often confused as to who was who and of what order it was happening in and I found the book quite a tiring read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pirlo on 1 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I think the criticisms of the two earlier writers should be taken with a little salt if they fail to overcome the labour of spelling such tricky words as 'butterfly' and 'entirely'.
'Annabel' is a very amusing and refreshing biography. The story is perfectly 'linear' in fact and rattles along from anecdote to amusing anecdote. Some may be surprised by how well it is written - and I found the author's experiece of life both interesting and informative, even if some may find unpalatable her descriptions of the privileges of post-war aristocratic social life.
The book does not shy away from the tragedies that has touched Mrs Goldsmith's life and shows that her irreverence remains. For me, much is to be learned from this refusal to bow down or to project oneself as a victim.
As a tonic to the grimness and greyness of modern life, 'Annabel' has much to recommend it.
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By Alfonso on 23 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this book and in fact, I read three quarters of it in just two days. It covers what can only now be descrbied as a 'bygone era' when 'high society' in London consisted of Aristocrats, Ladies and Gentleman. Worlds apart from London today...

I feel a slight frustration with this book as I believe it really could have been a 5-Star book and a most excellent autobiography. Sadly, through a mixture of veering off the linear time sequence occasionally and a dissapointing final chapter (following a very moving penultiamte one), this book doesn't quite count as a great work. It could have been though...

Certainly worth a read if you are at all interested in the not so distant past when Gentleman were noble and Ladies elegant; full of laughs and a fantastic insight into what has most definitley been, an uncoventional life.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ian Millard on 19 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
The title is a misnomer, for this book shows a life entirely conventional, save for its cocoon of money. Even the authoress' affair and remarriage would reflect, almost, the norm today in England. She was born into the Londonderry family, from aristocrats from way back, an ancestor of hers having secured the family fortunes by marrying into coal mines in NE England. As a child she lived in at least two huge houses, i.e. Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland and Wynyards, in Co. Durham (now or until recently owned by Sir John Hall, the ex-miner owner of Newcastle F.C.). The scale of the house will be hard for most --indeed, even those who have lived in country houses-- to imagine: 140 rooms.
She was born in 1934. In the 1950's, in her late teens, Annabel "came out" into what was then still called "Society", a fairly ancient term which lasted, even if only in the tabloid gossip columns, into the 1970's. Before very long she married Mark Birley, whose photo at the time shows someone looking very much the "chinless wonder", but that might be an unfairly superficial judgment: he and Annabel gave up their London lives for a while to look after Hungarian refugees fleeing to Austria in 1956 (but were disappointed that many returned in the end; they perhaps failed to understand the strong or even mystical connection between the Magyars and their land). Birley had been a commercial artist at the large ad agency JWT. Now he acquired financial backing and opened Annabel's in Berkeley Square, which club bridged the gap between the white tails nightspots of the aristocracy of the 1930s-1950's and the not very glossy new discos. It's still there and still insists on collar and tie (those refused entry --by the doorman, at that--having included Prince Andrew and George Harrison).
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