14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A different generation,
This review is from: The Bolter: Idina Sackville - The woman who scandalised 1920s Society and became White Mischief's infamous seductress (Paperback)I brought this book having seen "White Mischief" and being fascinated by that period. Apart from knowing of "The Bolter" through the Mitford book "Love in a cold climate" (which I recall more from the televised version in '80's) I knew nothing of Idina.
I was a bit concerned that as the author was her great-grand daughter she would either try to whitewash Idina's behaviour or embelish it for greater effect. In fact she did neither, instead she sought to understand her but in doing so encountered the fact that the morals of the day were more difficult and more complex than today's society. Whilst Idina married her first husband for love she had to accept that he would bed other women, so she worked hard to hold his interest without being critical of his behaviour. Nowadays, I doubt if any sector of society would readily accept that level of infidelity almost from the start of a marriage. Idina also signed the equivalent of a pre-nup agreement so leaving her extremely wealthly husband could not have been an easy decision. Add to this the fact she left her very young children and agreed to her husband not to see them again, even through she was their main carer and he had hardly seen them in the previous year. All in all Idina's decision does seem very reckless, thus the author's seeks not only to find out why but to explain it to us. Of course after the decision was made Idiana had to live with the consequences and the fact that she was now of great interest to the world media. Unlike today Idina did not have a publicist to handle things for her and her decision to exile herself to Kenya may have been partly to remove herself from this media interest. The fact that at no stage does she appear to consider amending her sexual behaviour reflects its acceptability within the crowd she inhabited and her own belief in herself.
Part of me admires Idiana's strength, but I wonder whether it comes from being afraid of showing her own weaknesses, especially if she was still in love with her first husband when she left him.
Whatever your reason her buying this book you will find Idina's life story to be an interesting one. She had too much style to be deemed "a ladette of her day" but maybe, but by not being willing to let men have it all their own way, she could be viewed as a feminist.