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Dawn Chorus Hardcover – 2 Sep 2004
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delightful book about Joan's ancestors and early life (MAIL)
This engaging memoir introduces a family of unique characters. (WOMAN & HOME)
By the author of Love Lessons, a fascinating and outrageous upper-class memoir that makes for compulsive reading, and is filled with colourful characters to say the least.See all Product Description
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"The first three years of my childhood were spent in a vast Victorian country house in Wiltshire called Clouds. Built entirely of green sandstone, it boasted forty bedrooms, and a kitchen so far from the dining room that a miniature railway track had to be built to carry food from one place to the other. Luckily, tepid meals were the norm in those days."
How could I possibly resist such an opening?
In Dawn Chorus Joan Wyndham tells the story of her family, beginning with her great-grandfather, Percy, who built Clouds to be his family home and continuing on through the generations down to her own memories of her childhood and teenage years. Her life begins in 1921 at the second incarnation of Clouds, the first having burned down before she was born, then is transported to London after her parents separate, where her mother's friends, a group known as `the Souls' simultaneously entertain and embarrass her with their eccentric antics. Joan attends a convent school and has a somewhat tempestuous relationship both with religion and the nuns responsible for her education, until she goes to the theatre and sees John Gielgud as Hamlet, whereupon she decides to audition for RADA.
This is a wonderful memoir, not only because the subject matter than it chronicles is so interesting, but also because the evidence on which Joan Wyndham draws is so miraculously complete. Her relatives seem to have been meticulous record keepers, and so her accounts of their history is littered with diary entries and excerpts from letters which lend a great immediacy to the writing.Read more ›