Deborah ("Debo") Devonshire, the youngest, and only surviving, of the famous Mitford sisters, has written an autobiography that combines "both" her lives. Born in 1920 as the youngest Redesdale child (and, boringly, the sixth of six daughters), Deborah Devonshire has lived an active 90 years, filled with famous family and friends. The Mitford sisters, famous from the 1930's on for their political beliefs (both Left and Right) and their writing, also had a brother, Tom, who was killed in Burma in 1945. In 1941 she married Andrew Devonshire, younger son of the heir to Chatsworth, one of England's great estates. After the death of Andrew's brother - who had married Kathleen Kennedy - in 1944, Andrew became heir to the Devonshire fortune. After his father died, Andrew and Deborah, had to sell off parts of the estate - paintings and furniture - to pay off the onerous British death duties.Together they developed Chatsworth into a tourist magnet that saved it from the auction block. They had three children who lived and another three who died at birth. Andrew died in 2004; Deborah lives on.
So - "two" lives. Deborah does an excellent job in writing about both parts, not skipping the less attractive parts of life with such eccentric creatures as her parents and sisters. I think she was more honest - open, maybe - about her family of birth than her marital one. In other sources, I've read that her husband wasn't faithful - she does talk about his alcoholism - and from her "couched" writing, it would seem that his relationships with their three children were not close. In addition to their family life, Deborah writes about their "public life", with their postings abroad and the friends and acquaintances they made and the duties they performed.
Hers was an interesting, long life and well-written about. I sometimes wish, though, that I could have read a little more "between the lines".
on January 13, 2013
I actually gave this book as a Christmas present. It arrived on December 24th, so it worked out very well. The book was in good conditon, and is really interesting. Deborah Mitford has lived a long and fascinating life, has had acquaintances and friendships with many great and famous, (and some infamous) people throughout her life. The book includes many interesting and humourous stories and anecdotes. A great read with lots of wonderful pictures also.
This is the first time I have ordered anything from Amazon, and it was a positive experience.