Last month I wrote about the writing family of the Brontës. This month I’d like to share with you my pleasure in the works of another writing family – the Nicolsons.
Vita Sackville-West married Harold Nicolson in 1913. Both were authors, and they began a writing dynasty. I love Vita’s novel All Passion Spent (1931), a tender story of an elderly woman who decides the time has come for her to live for herself, rather than for others. There is also a nice film version with Wendy Hiller you may like to watch. Harold wrote biographies of Byron, Tennyson and Paul Verlaine. He and Vita were prolific letter writers.
Their son Nigel Nicolson, who I once had the privilege of meeting, wrote a famous biography of his bisexual parents, Portrait of a Marriage, an excellent book about Jane Austen, and a fascinating memoir, Long Life. In my view the best writer in the family is Nigel’s son Adam Nicolson. His Power and Glory: The Making of the King James Bible (the US edition is called God’s Secretaries) is one of my favourite history books ever!! Other excellent books by Nigel include Mrs Kipling, Sea Room, and Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History. There’s not one of his books I have not really enjoyed.
Nigel’s daughter, Juliet Nicolson, is also an excellent writer. I loved her The Perfect Summer about the summer before WWI, and her latest book, which I have yet to read, is A House Full of Daughters about the women in her own unusual family starting with her great-great grandmother Pepita, a Spanish dancer, through to Juliet’s own story of feeling abandoned by her mother. This new book is being much praised by reviewers, so I can’t wait to read it.
I hope this remarkable family continues to produce authors. Their works have given me much reading pleasure. Have you read any works from the Nicolson family? Who do you think is the best writer in the family?
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
Portrait of a Marriage by Nigel Nicolson
The World of Jane Austen by Nigel Nicolson
The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson
A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson