About Me

My photo
Surrey, United Kingdom

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Perfect Summer: Dancing into Shadow in 1911 by Juliet Nicolson

I have quite mixed feelings about this book. I had been really looking forward to reading The Perfect Summer: Dancing into Shadow in 1911 by Juliet Nicolson, particularly as it was written by Vita Sackville-West's great grand-daughter. While there was much of interest, I couldn't help but get the feeling it was more like an anthology. There were plenty of extracts from writing of the time and interesting little anecdotes, passed down through the generations. Unfortunately, I think it just made the book as a whole feel a little incoherent. It jumped from one tit-bit to another and I didn't really feel that it drew any conclusion, or made any comment on the social circumstances of 1911. It did leave me wanting to find out more (particularly about Lady Diana Manners and the life of domestic servants) so from that point of view, it was very successful! I am not giving up on Juliet Nicolson though - I have The Great Silence: 1918-1920 Living in the Shadow of the Great War to read too...


  1. Hi, I read this a while back and came to the same conclusion as you. Can't even remember any of it now. Think I prefer fiction!

  2. I have this close to the top of my "To Read" pile; every time I've picked it up and opened it, I've felt very much as you describe - that it's bitty and doesn't have an overall arc that gels the various anecdotes together. Ah well - I WILL read it, but I'll have to make sure I'm definitely in the right mood.