"Nicely packaged ... Her book s subject matter, although hardly unfamiliar, never fails to grip" --The Sunday Times
"There can be few racier literary or artistic sets than the Pre-Raphaelites. Perhaps only the Bloomsbury group can rival them for incestuous pairings, which is why Henrietta Garnett, the daughter of David Garnett and Angelica Bell ... is so well placed to understand them" --Independent on Sunday
"Her angle is the women in their lives, a very reasonable approach since the greatest Pre-Raphaelite pictures are of women" --The Daily Express
"It is one of the strengths of Garnett s writing that she doesn t take sides, or rather, she tends to take both sides at once...It s in moments such as these that Garnett s book excels. Real feeling emerges, and a knack for colourful, engaged phrase-making."
"She is alert to physical details and frequently walks her readers around particular rooms, pointing out what is in them.
She perceives what is happening between two people at any one moment in time. She is also wise but not judgmental. She notices the absurd and has fun with the facts available to her, but she never mocks.
Even those who know something about these artists and their relationships with women will find Garnett engaging. Her stance is clear-eyed, unbiased and unfussy. Her prose is brisk, yet behind it can be felt a nice poise of mind." --Daily Mail
"Garnett is good at evoking the bohemian mores of this tightly knit group of friends, setting them against the deeply conventional and male dominated society in which they worked." --Literary Review
Essentially a domestic biography whose main concern is the tragicomedy of manners enacted by a closely knit group of friends and lovers, Wives and Stunners tells the story of Janey Morris, Georgie Burne-Jones, Lizzie Siddall, Effie Gray and less well-known, Marie Spartali, Aglaia Coronio and Mary Zambacco. These women were the wives, mistresses andmuses, of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the inspiration behind the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and John Millais. Set against the background of mid-Victorian bohemian England, Henrietta Garnett vividly evokes the world they inhabited and the lives they lived. She recounts the romances and friendships between the artists and the 'stunners' in a lively and original way and her book will appeal to anyone interested in Victorian England, the history of the Pre-Raphaelites and, significantly, to everyone who wants to read a spellbinding story of a bygone era.