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9 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, honest and vivid memoir, a little gem of a book
I bought "The Ugly One" because I had been entranced by "To War With Whittaker", Lady Ranfurly's account of her war years in the Middle East. She is now 86, and when you read this book you can hear her talking. With the quick strokes of a watercolour, this book gives a vivid picture of her childhood without going into every detail. But the ones she...
Published on 19 Dec 1999

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wooden and immature writing style
While I absolutely loved (and highly recommend) Hermione Ranfurly's wartime diary (To War With Whittaker) I was incredibly disappointed with this book.
I found the writing awkward, rambling, and without any merit or substance. I was left wondering why she had bothered publically recording her life up to the war as none of the content offered any sense of discovery...
Published on 19 Jan 2010 by M. Moon


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, honest and vivid memoir, a little gem of a book, 19 Dec 1999
By A Customer
I bought "The Ugly One" because I had been entranced by "To War With Whittaker", Lady Ranfurly's account of her war years in the Middle East. She is now 86, and when you read this book you can hear her talking. With the quick strokes of a watercolour, this book gives a vivid picture of her childhood without going into every detail. But the ones she remembers (or choses to share with us) bring to life her charming but profligate father, her much-loved brother or the nannies, aunts, dogs, mice, servants and bosses who were part of her life. It's wonderful to come across someone who, while reticent to expose her own feelings (we get only the briefest words of her engagement), has such a gift to characterize scenes and people. The Cockney shop assistants with whom she worked selling gas appliances in the 30s or the Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales are equally, engagingly drawn. Hermione Ranfurly is an extraordinary writer, and an extraordinary woman.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, beautifully descripitive and entertaining, 22 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 (Hardcover)
Unlike 'To War with Whitaker', this book traces a long forgotten time and the bringing down to earth of the British aristocracy between the Wars. Told from the perspective of a young girls eyes as she grows and the world around her changes forever. The description is fascinating, the stories moving and uplifting,childlike thoughts mixed with heartrending emotions that only the young can pervey. It's hard to put down and leaves you desperate for more.Another 'Coming Home' in the making.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving account of a childhood of frequent crises, met with humour and love. and, 30 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 (Hardcover)
Hermione Ranfurly's account of her early years is written with the same humorous, unselfconcious voice that made "To War With Whittaker" such a hit. Taken from her diaries, her descriptions of the emotional and financial havoc caused by her parents' separation and her mother's subsequent descent into depression are handled with a light touch. Despite these troubles, she, her sisters and their cherished older brother managed to create numerous opportunities for wickedness and fun as they grow up, sustained by their fierce sense of family unity and the devotion of friends. Referred to as 'the Ugly one' by her family, she approaches life with no expectations of particular happiness: readers will be delighted that her courage and cheerfulness are so amply and suitably rewarded; few Cinderellas find a Prince Charming like Dan Ranfurly. Both books are highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lost Era, 16 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 (Hardcover)
On the strength of my enjoyment of 'To War with Whitaker' I bought this book.
The Ugly One is not in the same style nor vein as the first book, it lacks a certain 'feisty-ness' that was so apparent in 'Whitaker'. This book is rather gentle, sorrowful even, but still hints of the strength of personality that shines forth so strong in 'Whitaker'. It describes a period and way of life in Britain that is lost forever and it was this that I found so interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A picture of a privileged family surviving mental illness, ..., 2 July 2014
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This review is from: The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 (Hardcover)
A picture of a privileged family surviving mental illness, debts and death in an upper class setting before the second world war.
Entertaining and interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely autobiograph, 8 Mar 2014
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This is the auto biography mentioned in a review of "To War with Whitaker". The Countess does have a particularly strong featured face but her lovely nature comes through in this interesting book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Book I Feel a Personal Connection With, 21 Sep 2013
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Mr. Clifton Jones (Matlock, Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a view of the young years of an aristocrat. I am certainly not an aristocrat. Although she spent a lot of time moving about, she makes quite a few references to the village of Baglan, where I originate from. More to the point, she mentions that the Hall was used as a hospital in the first world war - my grandfather was invalided there and stayed the rest of his life! So for me reading the parts which mention Baglan are of particular interest. In giving it a four star rating, I have tried to give a rating for the other parts of the book, which are written in a way that mentions but does not dwell on the family problems and I found quite an entertaining read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The amazing Hermione, 15 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 (Hardcover)
Anyone who has read 'To war with Whittaker' should read the other two instalments of Hermione's life and this is the place to start, before reading the third book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wooden and immature writing style, 19 Jan 2010
By 
M. Moon "Moonster" (Essex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 (Hardcover)
While I absolutely loved (and highly recommend) Hermione Ranfurly's wartime diary (To War With Whittaker) I was incredibly disappointed with this book.
I found the writing awkward, rambling, and without any merit or substance. I was left wondering why she had bothered publically recording her life up to the war as none of the content offered any sense of discovery or empathy with the writer. To me, the book read as if a person was recording information solely for the family's historical reference - as it failed to illuminate anything meaningful. Still, though, I am left adoring a woman who left a legacy of ensuring books be provided to African nations in need*. (*found from external content not contained in the book being reviewed)
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The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39
The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39 by Hermione Ranfurly,Countess of Ranfurly (Hardcover - 5 Nov 1998)
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