PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewGoldstone’s forthright and often witty asides keep this complicated story bowling along at a terrific pace ... Hard though Goldstone works, she fails to inject the daughters of her book’s title (Princesses Elizabeth, Louisa, Henrietta Maria and Sophia) with the charisma of their mother, also known in her day as \'the queen of hearts\' and even as \'the most charming princess of Europe\' ... Lively and well-researched, Daughters of the Winter Queen offers a timely introduction to a turbulent period in Britain’s past relations with Europe.
MixedThe Guardian...sporadically brilliant ... Phillips’s use of Rhys’s life is capricious. We learn little about her writing and nothing at all about her relationship with Ford Madox Ford, her first editor. Instead, Phillips speeds the story past an impulsive first marriage to Jean Lenglet, and into Gwen’s reckless decision to marry the most forlornly chivalrous of all her gentlemen, a failed publisher (who has promised to promote her work) ... Phillips makes skilful use of Tilden-Smith as a prism through which to observe an angry, taunting sorceress; a woman who knows how to enchant and how to inflict pain. He watches Gwen flaunt herself, a naked Circe before a mirror ... Phillips ends a well-intended but mildly unsatisfactory novel by imagining a penitent Gwen weeding her Welsh father’s neglected grave—while proudly rejecting assistance from a well-meaning Negro ... Finally...Phillips tells us that Jean Rhys—a novelist whose work is known to be ferociously unsentimental— \'broke off a piece of her heart and gently dropped it into the blue water.\'
RaveThe Guardian...it was partly due to Victoria’s manipulative energy that seven of her 42 grandchildren eventually became crowned rulers. Much of the pathos of Deborah Cadbury’s absorbing book stems from our knowledge of what happened next ... Anarchy was the brooding giant that overshadowed Queen Victoria’s manipulative scheming in her role as 'universal grandmother' ... Dynastic mergers, we may deduce from Deborah Cadbury’s account, offer no defence against the whims of history. This catastrophe-laced slice of royal history offers a ripping read.
RaveThe GuardianThe number of cross-connections between life and fiction that Bellos describes are remarkable. The 19-year exile of Hugo himself paralleled the 19-year prison sentence served by Valjean, the sinner turned saint hero of the novel ... Can Hugo’s monumental novel provide a mirror to the injustices of our own times? After reading Bellos’s graceful and constantly intriguing account of a great novel’s history, the uninitiated (myself included) will have been inspired to find out.
Christine L. Corton
RaveThe New York Times“Corton’s book combines meticulous social history with a wealth of eccentric detail…. It’s discoveries like these that make reading London Fog such an unusual, enthralling and enlightening experience.”