Synopses & Reviews
In an absorbing mixture of poignant biography and wonderfully entertaining social history, Daughters of Britannia
offers the story of diplomatic life as it has never been told before.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Vita Sackville-West, and Lady Diana Cooper are among the well-known wives of diplomats who represented Britain in the far-flung corners of the globe. Yet, despite serving such crucial roles, the vast majority of these women are entirely unknown to history.
Drawing on letters, private journals, and memoirs, as well as contemporary oral history, Katie Hickman explores not only the public pomp and glamour of diplomatic life but also the most intimate, private face of this most fascinating and mysterious world.
Touching on the lives of nearly 100 diplomatic wives (as well as sisters and daughters), Daughters of Britannia is a brilliant and compelling account of more than three centuries of British diplomacy as seen through the eyes of some of its most intrepid but least heralded participants.
From the first expeditions into foreign lands, through the heyday of the British Empire, and even at the end of the millennium, the foreign service has been greatly influenced by the wives, daughters, and sisters of its ambassadors. Though little known, their remarkable stories are a rich and colorful treasure-trove of eccentricity, hardship, and heroism as these women struggled to bring their civilzation with them into some of the world s remotest places. Drawing on letters, private journals and memoirs, as well as oral history, this brilliantly written book introduces these women and their experiences, revealing not only the public pomp and pageantry of diplomatic life, but also its intimate and private world. Touching on the lives of nearly 100 women including such luminaries as Vita Sackville-West, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Lady Diana Cooper, Daughters of Britannia is a singularly engaging and entertaining read, and a fascinating glimpse of history reminiscent of Phyllis Rose s Parallel Lives.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 311-314) and index.
About the Author
Katie Hickman was born into a diplomatic family in 1960 and has spent more than twenty-five years living abroad in Europe, the Far East and Latin America. She is the author of three previous books: A Trip to the Light Fantastic -- Travels with a Mexican Circus, which was one of the Independent's 1993 Books of the Year and was short-listed for the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; The Quetzal Summer, a novel set in the Andes, for which she was short-listed for the 1993 Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award; and Dreams of the Peaceful Dragon -- a Journey into Bhutan. She is featured in the Oxford University Press guide to women travellers, Wayward Women.