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A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling,…

A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne Jones, Agnes Poynter,… (2001)

by Judith Flanders

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1593114,991 (3.59)11
Daughters of a poor Methodist minister, the Macdonald sisters started life precariously stationed in the lower-middle class. Denied the advantage of a traditional education, or the expectation of social advancement, as wives and mothers they made a single family of a famous painter (Georgiana's husband, pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones), a president of the royal Academy (Agnes' husband, painter-critic Edward Pointer), a prime minister (Louisa's son Stanley Baldwin) and a poet (Alice's son Rudyard Kipling). They lived at an exceptional moment in British history, and their journey from provincial obscurity to metropolitan and imperial grandeur symbolized the energy and vitality of 19th-century Britain.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Rich biographies of these women and their families(rather too long) ( )
  siri51 | Oct 25, 2017 |
A poor family headed by a Methodist minister had five surviving daughters and two sons. Of these, the four daughters who married all had husbands or sons of import, and are supposedly the focus of this book.

I say supposedly because pages go by without one of them being mentioned. The vast majority of this book is actually about their various relations. From the first to the last the four sisters get very little attention, and in fact I came away with only a vague understanding of Georgie Burne-Jones and the rest remained cyphers. After the daughters marry and start having children, they fall out of the narrative almost entirely and the book becomes more and more disorganized and scattered.

Bad enough that the ostensible focus of the book is nearly ignored, but the various children and grandchildren receive very variable amounts of attention--I felt that about half this book was about Rudyard Kipling, whereas three-time Prime Minister of Britain Stan Baldwin gets literally two paragraphs to summarize his entire political career.

And, icing on my hate-cake, the author has the strangest interpretations of letters and happenings that I have ever seen. She decides upon the nastiest interpretation every single time. See my status updates for examples. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
given to anna bagshaw as a gift
  kevinkear | Aug 10, 2014 |
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