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Summary of the house full of daughters

It covers the biographies of eight generations of women in the author's family as well as offering a close study of the frequently fraught mother- daughter relationship all women recognize.

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It starts with the mother of the author's great-great-grandmother, who was born in 1830. It concludes with the author's own granddaughter born in the second decade of the 21st Century. By studying these women what do we learn? To some extent the author is writ This book does two things.

  • Maternal abandonment is one common thread, as is alcoholism;
  • Nigel, Nicolson explains, was a Tory MP in need of a wife in his late 30s and unmarried; people in his constituency were beginning to talk but within weeks he was bored by his new wife;
  • The author is very honest; she recognized that she was repeating the very same mistakes made by previous women in her family;
  • It is not hard to keep track of who is who.

To some extent the author is writing this book to help her understand her own behavior and to stop making the same mistakes! Secondly she is writing simply because her family has always written about themselves.

Writing is a family trait. Hopefully readers too will learn from what the author has learned. Mistakes are often repeated from one generation to the next.

The author is very honest; she recognized that she was repeating the very same mistakes made by previous women in her family. Every woman reading this account will recognize that we do tend to repeat the same errors.

BOOK REVIEW: 'A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations'

So how do we stop this? Through understanding and a conscious decision to shape our own lives as we want them to be. This is not a self-help book, but it does offer food for thought.

What starts as an interesting study of particular women moves on to become a psychological study of relationships. The author is an historian, but history is not the focus of the book.

A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations

Historical events are thrown in as a backdrop, only mentioned to the extent with which they influence family life. Historical details are dispersed as interesting tidbits that help explain the era and why particular choices were made. Authors, literature and trends are detailed; these are important since they draw the atmosphere of the time and place. Clothes and food and particularly place play a prominent role in these women's lives.

Much is said about the Sackville-West residencies. I must point out the writing is good, both in its description of places and how people behave.

In expression of thoughts too. Grief is the price you pay for love. The book gets better the further you go. Because it gets more personal. The author speaks from her heart. She had a deep relationship with her grandmother, Vita Sackville-West; she had a difficult relationship with her mother, a close relationship with her father and when she herself has a granddaughter she has begun a path toward deeper self-understanding.

With this understanding comes appreciation of the granddaughter held in her arms. I am left feeling a bit envious, a little bit jealous. Family relationships are difficult, quite simply because they are so important.

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Nobody can teach you how to deal with vulnerability, and aren't most of us unsure, vulnerable and uncertain of ourselves? Also, there isn't one answer; you have to find it for yourself, but we can read to see how others reason.

  • One particularly amusing moment comes with an appearance at a university tutorial in Shakespeare from the recently remarried Richard Burton and a rather argumentative Elizabeth Taylor, bottle of Jack Daniels in hand;
  • Let us not forget that this is by no means gloom and doom all the way;
  • The starting point is the saga of her great-great-grandmother Pepita, a dancer born in Malaga in 1830 to a life of poverty;
  • I had to have time to think.

It is not hard to keep track of who is who. Each person becomes a real identity.

A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson, review:

There aren't too many extraneous people to confuse the reader. Alcoholism, feminism, lesbianism and aging are covered too.

  1. Maternal abandonment is one common thread, as is alcoholism. After giving him several children she died in childbirth.
  2. Nigel, Nicolson explains, was a Tory MP in need of a wife in his late 30s and unmarried; people in his constituency were beginning to talk but within weeks he was bored by his new wife.
  3. It covers the biographies of eight generations of women in the author's family as well as offering a close study of the frequently fraught mother- daughter relationship all women recognize. I had to have time to think.
  4. She had a deep relationship with her grandmother, Vita Sackville-West; she had a difficult relationship with her mother, a close relationship with her father and when she herself has a granddaughter she has begun a path toward deeper self-understanding.

For example, I wanted more about how it feels when both your parents have passed away. I enjoyed the audiobook narration by Julie Teal.

  1. Historical events are thrown in as a backdrop, only mentioned to the extent with which they influence family life.
  2. It is at times an unhappy one — the all-too-frequent story of a couple who appeared mutually devoted at first and only later realised that theirs was not a love match after all. A House Full of Daughters.
  3. Every woman reading this account will recognize that we do tend to repeat the same errors.
  4. I enjoyed the audiobook narration by Julie Teal. A House Full of Daughters.
  5. Alcoholism, feminism, lesbianism and aging are covered too. The author is an historian, but history is not the focus of the book.

Then I did wish it had been a teeny bit slower. I had to have time to think. I was forced to rewind on several occasions.

So good writing, food for thought and interesting people, but it takes a while to be drawn in.

'A House Full of Daughters': seven generations in a literary family

I recommend it to those interested in the Sackville-West family and those interested in thinking about their own mother-daughter relationships. I made that plural on purpose! We all have a mother and many of us have a daughter too.