The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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November 5, 2015

Only connect: Antonia Fraser and Christine Longford and Flora Fraser and Elizabeth Longford

This is something I started wondering about on the bus ride home. I'm currently reading, and greatly enjoying, My History:  a memoir of growing up, by historian and mystery writer Antonia Fraser (a.k.a. Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham), who mentions that she is the niece (by marriage) of Christine Longford (a.k.a Christine, Countess of Longford), who wrote Making Conversation, one of the Persephones on my someday list. And, as it turns out. she's the mother of Flora Fraser, who wrote a book about the daughters of George III that I bought (but haven't read yet) after I read this one, and the new book about George and Martha Washington that I just brought home from the library and hope I'll have time to read next.  And then there's Elizabeth, Antonia's mother, who became Countess of Longford when her husband and Antonia's father and Flora's grandfather Francis Aungier Pakenham became the 7th Earl of Longford upon the death of his brother Edward, husband of Christine. As Elizabeth Longford, she wrote biographies and a memoir, The Pebbled Shore, which I've now also put on my list after meeting her in her daughter's book. This is the kind of thing I love: when  my books are related. :)


Lisa said...

You've just added at least four books to my reading list!

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

My TBR list grew enormously when I read this! I'm still most eager to read The Pebbled Shore, because Elizabeth Longford sounds quite marvellous and fascinating. I borrowed it from the library months ago but never got around to reading it - one day! Also, in last week's Financial Times there was a review of a book (The Company of Trees) by Antonia Fraser's brother, Thomas Pakenham. And Rachel Billington, author of one of the worst Austen sequels ever written (Perfect Happiness) is another of Antonia's siblings. They are an inescapable family!

Audrey said...

She does, doesn't she? And Antonia's 'Irish twin' Thomas and little sister Rachel {they're all still children in the memoir so far}also turned out to writers? I've heard of Rachel Billington but didn't know about the connection (or the awful book, which I am of course now tempted to read...) Thanks for introducing me to all of them, Claire!

Vintage Reading said...

Gosh I didn't know of all those connections. I'd quite like to read My History, I heard Fraser talking on the radio about it, thanks for the reminder.

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