Edwina Mountbatten - A Life Of Her Own

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9780006377870: Edwina Mountbatten - A Life Of Her Own
From Kirkus Reviews:

A poignant biography of Edwina Mountbatten, a woman known for her glamorous friends, glittering prizes, and attainments, but one apparently born too early to fulfill her considerable abilities. British writer Morgan is the author of Agatha Christie (1985). Granddaughter of one of the richest men in England, and related by marriage not only to the British royal family but to half the crowned heads of Europe, Edwina Mountbatten, n‚e Cassel, should have had the most sublime of lives--and in many ways she did. Married at 20 to Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle of the duke of Edinburgh and a descendant of Queen Victoria, she was a close friend of royalty. Her grandfather's fortune enabled her to lead a life of conspicuous consumption: town and country houses; frequent and far-flung travel; the finest of clothes and jewelry. In 1947, she became the last vicereine of India, the real jewel in the imperial crown, as her husband negotiated Indian independence. But there was, of course, a darker side: Her mother, who died young, had neglected her; her father was affectionate but weak; her stepmother unkind; the life she was expected to lead too superficial; and the marriage to Louis a disappointment. World War II and India provided the first opportunities to use her extensive talents, which were widely recognized, but these experiences made her dissatisfied with her marriage and way of life. Only a close but platonic relationship with Nehru, who admired and respected her intelligence, gave any joy in the last years of her life. Parties, lovers, travels, and family history are all fully detailed here, but Mountbatten herself remains elusive, though Morgan does demonstrate how stifling and destructive high society was to these women doomed to be rich and idle despite their intelligence. More informative than analytical, then, but a good read nonetheless. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

How a self-indulgent heiress transformed herself into a zealous, globe-hopping humanitarian is the crux of this vivacious, energetic biography. Edwina Astley wed Lord Louis ("Dickie") Mountbatten in 1922 at the age of 20, then embarked on two decades of frivolity. Not satisfied having two well-behaved daughters and an "enthusiastic boy" of a husband, she took refuge in lovers and sparked scandals. When the German blitz hit London, Edwina Mountbatten worked in an ambulance brigade and proved herself a charismatic administrator. She organized relief teams in newly liberated Europe as well as rescue efforts to bring home prisoners held in Japanese camps. While her husband, appointed the last viceroy of India, hammered out the terms of India's independence and partition, she experienced a passionate union of souls with Nehru, the great unfulfilled love of her life. Morgan ( Agatha Christie ) had unique access to the hundreds of letters Edwina and Nehru wrote to each other until her death in 1960. She presents Edwina as a "brittle, troubled" woman but also as an audacious, independent voice critical of British neocolonialism and Cold War jingoism. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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