Mary's Library

Monday, April 17, 2006

Circle of Sisters

Today's mail brought me a book that was recommended by some folks in my Not-Trollope group. Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne, Agnes Poynter, and Louisa Baldwin (©2001) is by Judith Flanders, who wrote another fine book about 19th century England, Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England (©2004.)

The Macdonald sisters were daughters of a Methodist minister in mid-Victorian England, a modest lower middle class background for women who were to become so eminent.

Alice was the mother of Rudyard Kipling; Georgiana was the wife of Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones; Agnes was the wife of Edward Poynter, who was director of the National Gallery and president of the Royal Academy; and Louisa was the mother of Stanley Baldwin, who became Prime Minister of England.

Wouldn't you love to be invited to a dinner party when the whole family got together? Circle of Sisters is the literary equivalent.

Flanders is interested in the social history of Victorian times, and this book, like her earlier one, offers "a glimpse of daily life in the nineteenth century – of how people lived and died, of how houses were run and children were raised. . . . Flanders tells their remarkable story with wit, authority, and flair." (From the book jacket.)


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