The Sunlight On The Garden ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Elizabeth Speller

The Sunlight On The Garden

Granta Books
Publication date: February 2012
ISBN: 9781847086600
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
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In 1880, Ada Curtis bore Gerald Howard the first of several illegitimate children. Ada was a housemaid, the daughter of a Lincolnshire butcher. Gerald was her employer and the son of a once-grand family now obsessed with its own threadbare nobility. They thereby sent their descendants tumbling chaotically into the twentieth century. More than a century later, inspired by the stories, reinventions and half-truths in her family's past, Elizabeth Speller - Gerald and Ada's great-granddaughter - set out to trace the criss-crossing lines of their history, and, as she recovered from a mental breakdown, she began to wonder if that history offered any explanation of what had happened in her own life. The search brings vividly to life the passions and hopes of four generations, amid tales of wealth inherited and lost, eccentricity, sexual indiscretion and madness. Ultimately, this book will remain in the memory as a beautifully realised sequence of portraits of mothers and daughters.

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What a brilliant memoir! Speller writes beautifully, weaving her way backwards and forwards between the various pasts and her present to create a vivid portrait of several generations of women in her own family, their various struggles with class, love and depression. I found this quite unique in its field as it comes across very honestly. You don't get the impression that Speller is trying to make herself exceptional. Although some of her roots lie in artistocracy, what she shows is the compexity of family lives, perhaps more specifically women's lives, over a period of time. I like the way she flicks between past and present to provide comparisons; it gives a greater indication of the richness of our evolution. Reading this I wished I knew more about my own family... and whatever skeletons there may be.
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