Top positive review
Five stars for the author, if not the subject
26 June 2010
I bought this book knowing nothing about Rosamond Lehmann, but knowing the most essential thing about her biographer - that she writes wonderfully.
I now know that Rosamond Lehmann was born the day after Queen Victoria's funeral; that she was a novelist; that her love-life was eventful and a bit of a mess; and that she had endearing qualities which made up for a rather alarming egotism. She was also very beautiful. For much of her life she was under the influence of the atheist/agnostic culture of the Bloomsbury Group, but later became deeply involved in spiritualism.
It would be nice if publishers could be a bit more generous with photographs. The ones included are fascinating - in particular Rosamond on a motorbike sandwiched between one of her husbands and his gay best friend - but one would like to be able to put a face to every significant character.
I am unlikely to rush out and buy the collected works. I finished this book with only the mildest inclination to read any of Rosamond's purple prose, but with my veneration for her biographer absolutely intact.