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on 22 January 2012
This book is a really good read, Daisy was the original WAG, although an heiress in her own right, she used her looks and charm to get what she wanted, married a man with a title for love and who remained by her side her whole life even though she had 2 children by another man, a ten year love affair with Edward , Prince of Wales, and then fell in love with another man who by todays standards would be called a player , she had 2 children by him and remained infatuated by him all her life all thought he spurned her. This was a great insight to life in Edwardian Britain how the rich lived ,the parties the affairs the intrigue. She was an puzzle this woman as she became a socialist and would go to the meetings and really put her money where her mouth was, when trying to help the working classes, starting an agriculture school and understanding that education was the key to a better life, and was instrumental in starting the idea of free school meals as this was sometimes the only food that children from poor families would have all day. Yet at the same time she thought nothing of throwing lavish parties and staying in first class hotels while travellling around preaching the socialist dogma ! In her old age she became the patron of several animal charities.She was friends with several famous writers and politicians,and was supposed to have been very intelligent . This book is like a whos who of the 80's and 90's and interesting as a insight into social history as you see the working class changing and the war clouds of the Boer war.She was a very interesting character i was unsure if i liked her or not, as at the same time as all her good works she seemed selfish and very self centred.
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2009
Daisy Maynard, Countess of Warwick, was the original Essex girl. Married at 18 to Lord Brooke, heir to the Earl of Warwick, she lost little time in involving herself in a number of passionate affairs which led to at least three of her children being fathered by men other than her husband. For almost a decade she was the acknowledged lover of the Prince of Wales (later Edward the Seventh), heading the Marlborough House circle which reflected the Prince's own tastes of "shooting, racing and sex". Anyone who thought the Profumo scandal of the 1960's was an aberration clearly has no appreciation of the dissolute nature of the British ruling classes throughout history.

Extra-marital sex was commonplace and such affairs were tolerated provided they were conducted discretely. Daisy went too far when she told Lady Beresford that she intended to elope with her husband, the father of at least one of her children, possibly more. The hapless Beresford was hauled off by his wife and ended the relationship. Daisy was not deterred and wrote a vicious letter to Lady Beresford which the Prince of Wales in person sought to have returned. Beresford asserted himself responding to the Prince's comments by calling the heir to the throne "a blackguard" - the nineteenth century equivalent of Kenneth Tynan using a four letter word on television.

The intervention of the Prince was no accident as Daisy had become his lover too. She also fell for Joe Laycock to whom she showed a devotion which betrayed her lack of judgment about men. Her letters to Laycock can be regarded as the stuff of fiction but were all too real in a society which condemned females for having surrendered to male seduction while writing off the latter as following their natural instincts. Men were men and women were sluts.

Daisy had a social conscience admiring the work of Joseph Arch, the founder of the Agricultural Workers' Union, who became an MP. She was sympathetic to - and enthusiastic in support of - the plight of the rural poor and needy and saw nothing contradictory in holding grand upper class social occasions while advocating social reform. When Robert Blatchford wrote an article in the radical journal, The Clarion, which ended, "I deeply pity the poor rich Countess of Warwick" Daisy impetuously travelled to London to confront him personally only to come away "as one who had found a new, a real world".

That new world saw her flirting with H M Hyndman's egocentric versions of socialism, the Social Democratic Federation and the British Socialist Party, before becoming part of mainstream politics and standing as a Labour candidate against the young, handsome, Anthony Eden. Inevitably she was accused of politically seducing Ramsey McDonald from his socialist principles and the offer of her home, Easton Lodge, for use by the TUC was eventually voted down by those for whom class war was a matter of principle.

Although Daisy's lifetime straddled the Victorian era and the twentieth century her story (even if were set in a different context) remains essentially human. She was promiscuous and an out and out hypocrite, refusing to consider the divorce her husband would have granted her because it would have cost her wealth and social position. Like many contemporary "celebrities" being in the public eye was more important than life itself.

Sushila Anand's biography is outstanding. No punches are pulled (and ammunition a-plenty was available in Daisy's correspondence) and the breadth of resources are matched by assiduous research and a non judgemental approach to Daisy's life. Sushila Anand certainly understood her subject and it is sad to record that Anand died in 2007, not long before this splendid book was published. I heartily recommend the book as an excellent and illuminating read of the life and times of Daisy, Countess of Warwick. Five stars, no question.
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on 21 July 2012
This book was a most delightful read. Not only describes the author a comprehensive and vivid picture of the late Victorian and Edwardian times - up to the death of this fascinating creature, she also depicts the picture of a society lady immersed in secret love affairs, one being the Prince of Wales another one with a real cad who broke her heart. She was not all superficial and glamorous, she had a quick mind and a need to help the less fortunate. She kept company with most of the intellectual elite of her time, she gave vast and beautiful dinners, weekends etc. but she also installed schools and was deeply involved in the early Socialist Party in England. And after all, she was a fascinating woman. Her love affair with Joe Laycock nearly killed her and yet she never really got over him. That makes this beautiful, rich and gifted woman so human and so sympathetic. I also thoroughly enjoyed this book and I was sad to find out, that the author Sushila Anand died shortly before this book was published - what a loss.
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on 20 April 2014
This is a very readable book. Daisy,Countess of Warwick was a person born to great wealth and privilege. In her early to middle life she was a hedonist. Her main interests were entertainment and love affairs. Her greatest object of passion was a man called Laycock. Apart from his obviously justifying the second syllable of his name, he comes over as pretty uninteresting. His name appears in Wikipedia as a 'Brigadier General' and if you hadn't read this book you'd have no idea he was such a lascivious chap.
After running through lots of money, sleeping with the Prince of Wales, and trying the patience of her saintly husband, Daisy gradually turned to socialist politics. She had an empathy with the poor and with animals, and with these interests and her enormous glamour and charm, she comes over as an Edwardian Princess Diana.
As age crept on she became more and more of a socialist. All that got in her way was the inevitable inverted snobbery.
When she was not off her head with sexual passion, which made her very unpleasant, she was a very bright, good person. I'm sad that the author of this excellent book has succumbed to cancer.
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on 18 February 2014
My husband bought this book for me after our recent re-visit to Warwick Castle, and my fascination with the history of the castle and its inhabitants of the past. This is a very interesting book though the theme is extremely repetitive throughout i.e. Daisy falls in love and write lots of love letters. That being the nature of much of her life, I guess the author couldn't do much about that. I would have liked the book to have given more information about Lord Brook, Daisy's husband, who was airbrushed out of much of the story of her life, and more about all of her children. I have to admit that I skipped a few of the socialist political pages. Unless I missed it, the book didn't say what happened to Joe Laycock, the father of two of Daisy's children and more of a main character in her life, and in this book, than her husband. Certain information missing from the book.
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on 28 December 2010
This is an enjoyable read about a fascinating woman. A socialist aristocrat with the morals of an alley cat, you couldn't make it up.

However, I also had questions about her liasons - especially with Joe Laycock - one minute the author says he's snubbing Daisy, then she's writing to him. I appreciate their relationship was a tempestuous one, but the lack of detailed explanation left me scratching my head as to what the situation was.

I also felt the lack of any information about "Brookie" and where he was and what he thought about all her affairs. Also, why was he not held liable for her debts? It's all very confusing.

The author also seemed to assume the reader had a detailed knowledge of African politics with regard to the Boer War.

This lack of information and/or research mars what would otherwise have been a very good book.
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on 27 March 2010
Dont get me wrong this is an excellent book and as the previous reviewer noted well written and researched. I am very glad I have read it but at the end I was left with a number of questions. There seemed very little about her marriage or her husband. Daisy seems to have embarked on a number of affairs very shortly after her marriage - which the author avows was a love match - why was this? surely there must have been something amiss even amongst a society where moral scruples seemed hardly to apply. We get no insight into his feelings - did he embark on numerous liaisons too? Daisy was hardly secretive about her affairs in a time when discretion was considered to be everything. Many will agree that this is a book about Daisy but as she was a woman often governed by her emotions it seems a mistake to leave out her primary relationships - which must include her husband surely? I was left wanting more - maybe this is a mark of a good book that it spurs the reader to do some research for themselves.
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on 17 January 2013
Not sure what I thought of this book which was well written. It clearly demonstrated the extravagance and thoughtless of the person involved. There was nothing about it to endear me to the Countess. In some ways she was a victim of circumstances which is probably why, when she became a socialist, the change was extreme.
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on 20 August 2012
I found the book very shallow. On the whole, just a list of the social events in her life.
In depth descriptions of the characters of her lovers would have helped
Did no one interview Daisy in her lifetime?
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on 21 November 2013
I visited Warwick castle and wanted to know more about the people who lıved there.The book met all my expectations.
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