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The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters Hardcover – 2 Oct 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 431 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; 1st Edition edition (2 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297819771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297819776
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The lives of the three daughters of Lord Curzon: glamorous, rich, independent and wilful.

About the Author

Anne de Courcy is a well-known writer and journalist. In the 1970s she was Woman¿s Editor on the London Evening News; in the 1980s she was a regular feature-writer for the Evening Standard; she joined the Daily Mail in 1992 where she has done interviews, historical features and book reviews, as well as editing a page on readers¿ dilemmas. She has written eight books, including a biography of Diana Mosley to appear after the subject¿s lifetime.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
...This is a hugely entertaining tale of of an upper strata of society utterly convinced of its own worth and superiority. The viceroy's daughters were at its core and many the major characters of the era figure in the story. The insights into their lives are fascinating and are vividly described. Sir Oswald Mosley, the fascist leader who married one of the daughters, for example, was a serial adulterer with minmal concern or interest in his own children.
The book describes the travails, adventures, virtues and vices of the daughters with a pace that never flags. An added, and major bonus, is a highly diverting early section on their fascinating father. The view behind the glitz often reveals appalling behaviour but there are also examples of self sacrifice and commitment to others. This is an enthralling and balanced account of a vanished era. Telling the tale through the lives of three women who were at its core works brilliantly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having thoroughly enjoyed Anne de Courcy's book about the "Fishing Fleet", I was keen to read this, with its further Indian connections via the Viceroy Lord Curzon. Having read his biography by Kenneth Rose many years ago and a number of books concerning the period, including copious Mitfordiana,I had to force myself to wait until I went on holiday. Despite it being quite a long book, and with a huge cast of characters, I found the clarity of the writing and the excellent marshalling of the numerous personae made it easy to read. I found it a total page turner and could not put it down. What I really liked was the way the author let the characters speak for themselves, using (mainly) Irene's diary and never allowed herself to judge from a 21st Century viewpoint, as is common with so many modern biographers. Yes, they were by and large a pretty revolting lot. Curzon was never regarded as a warm and charming individual, and his treatment of his daughters (basically purloining their fortunes left them by their mother for his own ends) and his fury when they challenged him shows him in an unpleasant light. He did seem genuinely fond of his first wife, even if his insistence on her trying to give him a male heir may have contributed to her death. Her wonderful peacock dress, on display in the chilly splendour of Kedleston Hall, and the portrait there of both Lord & Lady Curzon at the 1903 Durbar shows the level of luxury a Viceroy of India inhabited.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
In the realm of sibling biography the Mitford sisters have long held the floor while the Curzon sisters sat it out; safely aloof and largely unknown. Endowed with their diaries and letters - and the blessing of their sons and nephews - Anne de Courcy has turned the spotlight on to Irene, Cynthia ('Cimmie'), and Alexandra ('Baba') Curzon for almost a century from Irene's birth in 1896 until Baba's death in 1995. Through their parents and partners, the sisters' lives span and intimately intersect the world of the Souls, the Raj, the Abdication, the British Fascists, the Cliveden Set, and the Dorchester clique during the Blitz. Lord Kitchener and Winston Churchill, George V and Lloyd George, Elinor Glyn and Nancy Astor, Dino Grandi and Jock Whitney, Lord Halifax and Walter Monckton, the Mitfords and the Windsors all appear and make their mark. While Miss de Courcy manages to focus on the three girls, two particular men bestride the pages and dominate their lives. The first is their father, George, Marquess Curzon of Kedelston - Viceroy of India, and British Foreign Secretary. He was brilliant, energetic, passionate, ambitious and vain, obsessed with pomp and ceremony, a strict and distant father who used his wife's enormous wealth and (after her early death) his daughters', to acquire and restore great houses and surround himself with all the luxuries of a potentate. By the time of his death, in 1925, another colossus had entered the lives of his daughters - Oswald Mosley, known as 'Tom', a gifted, flashy, flawed baronet and politician. Although photographs of the young Mosley make him look like a slightly absurd early Hollywood villain, his magnetism and libido were such that, apart from Cimmie, whom he wed, he bedded both Irene and Baba, as well as their step-mother!Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I read this book, I read a really poorly written Swedish biography on the Mitford sisters. Diana Mitford it said, became mistress of fascist leader Mosley, and when his wife died, he also took his wife's younger sister as a mistress and had the other sister raise his children. It sounded too incredible to be true so I just HAD to find out who these women in Mosley's life were and decided on this book.

I bought it used and on the inside front someone had written "Hope this doesn't turn your stomach". This book does turn your stomach for many reasons! First of all it describes a social class that did not abide to the same rules as us other mortals do. It describes parents whose only concerns were physical pleasure, parties, looks, houses, jewels, clothes and hunting. Children were not to be heard or seen. You bred to have an heir and a spare. You married title or money. Adultery was a normal part of life and accepted as long as it was discrete.

The book does not only describe the Curzon daughters but it starts describing the man himself and then his marriage to an American heiress with too much money. A rather stupid woman that failed to see that her husband was a calculating man who had no qualms of robbing his daughters of their inheritance and his love. She died at an early age leaving her fortune in the hands of her husband that did not use it for the benefit of his daughters as she probably had hoped he would. He soon took himself a couple of mistresses and when they both became widows, he chose the younger basically because he wanted a son. All his wife's money was spent on houses for HIM and his new wife's children.
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