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The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-century England Hardcover – 1 Mar 2007
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`an admirable work of scholarship, written with verve, style and
imagination' -- Spectator, Review by Jonathan Sumption
`The rich and vivid characters of the Verneys make history not only
painless but positively pleasurable. This is a welcome return to exactly
the kind of history that has always captivated the general reader' -- Dian Purkiss, The Independent
`a compelling drama of marriage, death, madness, adventure and travel' -- The Sunday Times, Stella Tillyard
'By far the most historically assured, best told, and most
entertaining telling of the Verney saga.' -- Sunday Telegraph
'Enormous flair and skill Mr Tinniswood uses...full of spectacular
rows and tearful makings-up' -- The Economist
'Enthralling... [Tinniswood] writes with an ease, a sympathy, a
simplicity...that makes this book extraordinary' -- The Telegraph
'It combines scholarly enterprise and precision with the power of
imaginative re-creation' -- Literary Review
'This book hums with Tinniswood's infectious enthusiasm.'
-- Independent on Sunday
'Tinniswood gives a pungent sense of the wrangling and entangling of 17th-century life'
-- The Guardian
Book of the Week -- The Week
'To know the Verneys is to know the seventeenth century,' writes Adrian Tinniswood in his brilliant new book - and thanks to the chance survival in an attic of tens of thousands of their letters, we know the Verneys very well indeed. By drawing on their letters, he reveals the world of this family of Buckinghamshire gentry in extraordinary detail and intimacy. Here are Edmund Verney, Charles I's standard bearer at Edgehill. He died there; all they found of him was his hand, still clutching the King's standard. Edmund left ten children, the oldest of whom, Ralph, struggled to hold the family together during the Civil War. He lost the respect of his brothers and sisters because he alone of the Verneys supported the Parliamentarian cause. Then Parliament, suspicious of royalist connections, hounded him into exile. Ralph's brother Mun was a professional soldier who survived Cromwell's attack on Drogheda in 1649, only to be stabbed to death two days later. Their sister, Mall fell pregnant out of wedlock. Bess ran off with a clergyman. Henry was obsessed with horse-racing. Cary gambled away a fortune.Tom was a devout Christian and a petty crook: packed off abroad, he kept returning to sponge off his family. The next generation led equally exciting lives. Ralph's son Jack went to Syria and made a fortune. Cousin Pen stayed at home and slept with her sister's fiance. Cousin, Dick was hanged at Tyburn. Jack's brother Edmund married a girl who was rich, beautiful and deeply in love with him. Within months of the marriage, she lost her mind. The "Verneys" is narrative history at its very best - fascinating, surprising, enthralling. It is nothing short of a triumph. See all Product description
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This book is a definite must read book for anyone as the people draw you into their lives, but it is difficult to put down, so allow yourself time to get into the book.
The tale begins with Sir Francis Verney who ran away from his teenage wife in 1608, sold off much of the Verney property, converted to Islam and became one of the most feared pirates on the Barbary Coast. Carry on to read about Bess, who ran off with a clergyman; Cary, a heavy gambler, and Henry who was obsessed with horse racing; not to mention those involved in the English Civil War; Mall, who became pregnant out of marriage, or one of the later relatives who was hanged at Tyburn. A really good and compelling portrait of seventeenth-century England, and especially the Verney family. The history is based predominantly on the extensive records of the Verneys, particularly hundreds of letters kept by Sir Ralph Verney (1613-96) who presided over Claydon House in Buckinghamshire for over 50 years.
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