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Joan: Beauty, Rebel, Muse: The Remarkable Life of Joan Leigh Fermor Hardcover – 5 Oct 2017

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150984869X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1509848690
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

The first biography of Joan Leigh Fermor, society beauty, professional photographer and muse

From the Inside Flap

Cairo 1944: Major Patrick ‘Paddy’ Leigh Fermor, lionized for his daring kidnap of a Nazi general in Crete, meets the attractive, witty and unhappily married Joan Rayner at a party. It was the beginning of a love affair that would endure until her death in 2003.

But who was Joan? Volumes have been written by and about Paddy, but she is almost entirely absent from their pages. Now Simon Fenwick, the first archivist to see the Leigh Fermor papers, reveals a woman hitherto only fleetingly glimpsed.

Despite being the daughter of wealthy and well-connected parents, Joan, a talented photographer, defied convention by earning her own living. Through her lover, Alan Pryce-Jones, later editor of the TLS, she met and mingled with the leading lights of 1930s bohemia – Maurice Bowra adored her, as did John Betjeman, and her circle included Cyril Connolly, Osbert Lancaster and Evelyn Waugh. She featured regularly in the gossip columns, not only for her affairs and her fashionable clothes, but also for her intrepid travels to Russia and America. In 1936, she met and married the journalist John Rayner, but her belief in open marriage was not shared by her husband and their relationship floundered. Then in 1944, as a cypher clerk in Cairo, she met Paddy Leigh Fermor.

This riveting biography, written with full access to Joan’s personal archive, reveals the extraordinary life of a woman who, until now, has been defined by the man she married and their famous friends. Here, at last, Joan is placed at the centre of her own story. It is also a riveting portrait of a marriage and a milieu, revealing the sexual and intellectual mores of that wartime generation who lived life at full tilt, no matter what the consequences.

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