The Bolter: Idina Sackville - The Woman Who Scandalised 1920s Society and Became White Mischief's In

The Bolter

The Bolter
The Story of Idina Sackville, Who Ran Away to Become the Chief Seductress of Kenya's Scandalous "Happy Valley Set"
Published by Virago Press Ltd
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The woman who scandalised 1920s Society and became White Mischief's infamous seductress: Idina Sackville - the 1920’s ... said to have inspired Taylor Swift’s The Bolter

On Friday 25th May, 1934, a forty-one-year-old woman walked into the lobby of Claridge's Hotel to meet the nineteen-year-old son whose face she did not know. Fifteen years earlier, as the First World War ended, Idina Sackville shocked high society by leaving his multimillionaire father to run off to Africa with a near penniless man.

The Bolter US
    U.K. Edition
An inspiration for Nancy Mitford's character The Bolter, painted by William Orpen, and photographed by Cecil Beaton, Sackville went on to divorce a total of five times, yet died with a picture of her first love by her bed. Her struggle to reinvent her life with each new marriage left one husband murdered and branded her the 'high priestess' of White Mischief's bed-hopping Happy Valley in Kenya.

Sackville's life was so scandalous that it was kept a secret from her great-granddaughter Frances Osborne. Now, Osborne tells the moving tale of betrayal and heartbreak behind Sackville's road to scandal and return, painting a dazzling portrait of high society in the early twentieth century.

Reviews & Comment

US Praise for THE BOLTER


". . . A vivid portrait of her scandalous ancestor and her relationships with family members, while conjuring a vanished world with novelistic detail and flair." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A beautifully written, intriguing chronicle of a frenetic, privileged, and profoundly sad life, it catches a social group and the mad-cap lives they led- so luxurious, so wasted." - Barbara Goldsmith, author of Obsessive Genius and Little Gloria. . . Happy at Last

"The Bolter is a feast." - Dominique Browning, New York Times Book Review

"Intoxicating." - People

"For those who can't ever get enough of the frolics and affairs of the British upper class in the '20s and '30s, this is the book for you. . . brilliant and utterly divine. . . full of charming details and wonderfully good stories about old scandals. . . It's a breath of fresh air from a vanished world." - Michael Korda, The Daily Beast

"Osborne has written an engaging book, drawing a revealing portrait of a remarkable woman and adding humanity to her "scandalous" life. . . And what a life it was. - Wall Street Journal

"Osborne's lively narrative brings Lady Idina Sackville boldly to life. . . the text, most lyrical when describing the landscapes around Idina's African residences, proves than an adventurous spirit continues to run in this fascinating family." - Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Sex, money, glamour, and scandal make Idina Sackville's story hard to put down. What brings that story to life is the courage of an incorrigibly stylish survivor. Searching for the woman behind the legend Osborne discovers [gives us] a heroine impossible to resist." - Frances Kiernan, author of The Last Mrs. Astor and Seeing Mary Plain: A life of Mary McCarthy

"Fascinating. . . beautifully written. . . Frances Osborne brings the decadence of Britain's dying aristocracy vividly to life in this story of scandal and heartbreak." - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin and Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar

UK Reviews

Truly interesting. Osborne paints an enthralling portrait of upper class English life just before, during and immediately after the Great War. Frivolous, rich, sexy, achingly fashionable… [Idina was] a tragic figure of a young woman whose life was broken by the catastrophes of 1914-18..’ Robert McCrum, Observer

‘This is a truly astonishing book. Frances Osborne has not just brought to life a dizzingly rich and scandalous slice of social history, she has produced a tragic and deeply moving tale as well. It is far more gripping than any novel I have read for years’ Antony Beevor

‘A wonderfully engaging book which combines the tingling immediacy of the best kind of history with the stay-up-till-3am-to-finish-it urgency of a bestseller.’ Allison Pearson, Daily Mail


Woman's Hour Feature

BBC Listen Again click here

The Andrew Marr Show

BBC Listen Again click here

The Bolter read by Rosamund Pike

Listen to an extract click here or click here to buy.

Filmed Interview with Frances, Hay 2008 - click here

Hardcover | B00SLS9DRE | May 1, 2008