Diana Souhami - Quercus

Diana Souhami



Diana Souhami is the author of many widely acclaimed books, and she has also written plays for radio and television. She won the Whitbread Biography Award for Selkirk's Island, her biography of Alexander Selkirk, or as he is better known, Robinson Crusoe.
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Gwendolen

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

I was winning when I met your gaze . . . So begins the confession of Gwendolen Harleth: dazzling beauty, wilful vivant and gambler of hearts: who bet her strength against her cruel husband, staked it all on the love of Daniel Deronda, and played her way back to a winning hand. With the profound insight of her acclaimed biographies, Diana Souhami fashions a real life for this most mercurial and magnetic of literary heroines, plotting Gwendolen's course in step with the drama of the age as a pioneer of women's aspirations in our own.(P) 2014 WF Howes Ltd

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Murder at Wrotham Hill

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami
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Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

Alice Keppel, lover of Queen Victoria's son Edward VII and great-grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles, was the acceptable face of Edwardian adultery. It was her art to be the King's mistress yet to laud the Royal Family and the institution of marriage. She partnered the King for yachting at Cowes and helped him choose presents for his wife Queen Alexandra while remaining calmly married to her complaisant husband George. But for her daughter Violet, passionately in love with Vita Sackville-West, romance proved tragic and destructive. Mrs Keppel used all the force at her command to repress the relationship. This fascinating and intense mother-daughter relationship highlights Edwardian and contemporary duplicity and double standards. It goes to the heart of questions about the monarchy, family values and sexual freedoms.

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Gertrude and Alice

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tokas were the talk of pre-war Paris. Photographed by Cecil Beaton and Man Ray, painted by Picasso and written about by Hemingway, they were at the heart of Parisian cultural and literary life. Alice, convinced that Gertrude was a genius, cooked for her, typed her manuscripts and fought to obtain the fame she was convinced Gertrude was due. Alice said Gertrude was the happiest person she had ever known, and was besotted with her for the many years they were together. They were indomitable, charismatic, and wildly eccentric, driving around in 'Auntie', their Ford, with Basket, their cherished poodle. In Gertrude and Alice, award-winning writer Diana Souhami brings these two extraordinary women, and the fascinating world in which they moved, to vivid life.

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Gluck

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

As stubborn as she was gifted, as fierce as she was tender, and notorious for her mannish dress that was provocative and chic in equal measure, Gluck was an artist and a rebel. Born Hannah Gluckstein in 1895 into the family that founded the J. Lyons & Co. catering company, she had passionate affairs with society women such as Constance Spry and exhibited her portraits, flower paintings and landscapes in 'one man' shows that captivated the beau monde of the 1920s and 30s. But Gluck's success was never unmixed with controversy: at the height of her fame she stopped working, caught in a bitter campaign over the quality of artists' materials, and her personal life was rarely less than torrid. In Gluck Diana Souhami captures this paradoxical, talented and unusual woman in all her complexity.

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Greta and Cecil

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

Greta Garbo first met society photographer Cecil Beaton in Hollywood in 1932. Both were caught in turbulent same-sex affairs. Yet Garbo flirted and danced with Beaton, told him he was pretty, presented him with 'a rose that lives and dies and never again returns' and at dawn drove away in her black Packard. Cecil took the rose home to England, framed it in silver and hung it above his bed. Fifteen years later Greta and Cecil met again. For her it was an idle flirtation. For him it fuelled his ambition to photograph her, to be like her and to marry her - an obsession that became a betrayal. Souhami draws on diaries, memoirs, letters, photographs and films to reveal the truth behind this fascinating and narcissistic relationship.

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Natalie and Romaine

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami
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The Trials of Radclyffe Hall

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

Radclyffe Hall was born in 1880 in Bournemouth in a house inappropriately named 'Sunny Lawn'. Her mother drank gin in an attempt to terminate the pregnancy, and her father fled the family home. At the mercy of a violent mother and sexually abusive stepfather, her life changed when at the age of eighteen she inherited her father's estate of £100,000. She was free to travel, pursue women and write - most notably The Well of Loneliness, her famous novel about 'congenital inverts', which was declared 'inherently obscene' by the Home Secretary and banned. In this brilliantly written, witty and satirical biography Diana Souhami brings a fresh and irreverent eye to the life of this intriguing and troubled woman.

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Coconut Chaos

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

At dawn on 27 April 1789 Fletcher Christian, master's mate on HMS Bounty, took a coconut to quench his thirst from the supply on the quarterdeck. This seemingly insignificant act resulted in mutiny, chaos and a chain of events that leads right up to the present day. With a story driven by hazardous and extraordinary sea voyages and a cast that includes the Bounty mutineers, an eccentric lesbian aristocrat, Pitcairn Island sex offenders and the narrator's ancient mother, this sparkling and original book weaves together fact and fiction, history and autobiography, humour and danger in inimitable style.

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Selkirk's Island

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

When Alexander Selkirk was abandoned by his shipmates on the remote island of Juan Fernandez in 1704 he could not have know that he wouldn't see another human soul for four long years, could not have anticipated the lonely and fierce existence to which he had been condemned, nor could he have ever guessed that his plight - recreated in the form of Robinson Crusoe - would be immortalised by Daniel Defoe.In this startlingly original book, award-winning author Diana Souhami brings new life to this story, evoking the abandoned sailor's struggle with solitude, God and the savage new home into which he had been so brutally thrust.

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Edith Cavell

Diana Souhami
Authors:
Diana Souhami

Edith Cavell was born in 1865, daughter of a Norfolk vicar, and shot in Brussels on 12 October 1915 by the Germans for sheltering British and French soldiers and helping them escape over the Belgian border. Following a traditional village childhood in 19th century England, Edith worked as a governess in the UK and abroad, before training as a nurse in London in 1895. To Edith, nursing was a duty, a vocation, but above all a service. By 1907, she had travelled most of Europe and become matron of her own hospital in Belgium, where, under her leadership, a ramshackle hospital with few staff and little organization became a model nursing school. When war broke out, Edith helped soldiers to escape the war by giving them jobs in her hospital, finding clothing and organizing safe passage into Holland. In all, she assisted over two hundred men. When her secret work was discovered, Edith was put on trial and sentenced to death by firing squad. She uttered only 130 words in her defence. A devout Christian, the evening before her death, she asked to be remembered as a nurse, not a hero or a martyr, and prayed to be fit for heaven. When news of Edith's death reached Britain, army recruitment doubled. Diana Souhami brings one of the Great War's finest heroes to life in this biography of a hardworking, courageous and independent woman.