TANGLED SOULS – LOVE AND SCANDAL AMONG THE VICTORIAN ARISTOCRACY (pub. 17 Feb. 2022 by The History Press). Outrageously handsome, witty and clever, Harry Cust was reputed to be one of the great womanisers of the late Victorian era. In 1893, while a Member of Parliament, he caused public scandal by his affair with artist and poet Nina Welby-Gregory. When she revealed she was pregnant, horror swept through their circle known as ‘the Souls’, a cultured, mostly aristocratic group of writers, artists and politicians who also rubbed shoulders with luminaries such as Oscar Wilde and H.G. Wells.
With the unconventional Margot Tennant and philosopher-statesman Arthur Balfour at their centre, the dazzling Souls eschewed the formalities of upper-class etiquette, valuing conversation and clever games above gambling and racing. Talented and glamorous women such as Violet Granby and Ettie Grenfell joined rising politicians George Curzon and George Wyndham at grand country houses to talk, play and flirt.
Passions raged behind their courtly code. Married Souls discreetly bore their lovers’ children – and public figures got away with much worse – yet bachelor Harry’s seduction of a single woman of the same class broke the rules. For the rest of their lives, Harry and Nina would fight to rebuild their reputations and maintain the marriage they were pressurised to enter. In Tangled Souls, Jane Dismore tells the tumultuous story of the romance which threatened to tear apart this distinguished group of friends, revealing pre-war society at its most colourful and most conflicted.
Nominated for the People’s Book Prize 2018. Published June 2018 in the USA (Lyons Press, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield) and August 2018 in the UK (Thistle Books).
For the first time ten of Britain’s non-royal duchesses talk candidly about their role and their lives in the 21st century, when privilege is not a popular concept. Each also selects her favourite duchess from the past, providing a colourful gallery through the centuries. The book also contains a digital element. ISBN 9781905825851
Hatchards of Piccadilly, London, hosted the launch party and created an eye-catching window display.
Photos by Leo Wilkinson
This true life family saga focuses on two prominent families: the Hambros, a major merchant banking dynasty, and the Cobbolds, a long established British brewing family, who are united in 1919 by marriage. Their friends include the mighty Morgan banking family of the USA, and the prominent Swedish industrialists, the Wallenbergs, as well as members of the British aristocracy. At the heart of the book is the love story of Pamela Cobbold and Charles Hambro. Longlisted in 2013 for the New Angle Prize for Literature. ISBN 9781781320259