TANGLED SOULS: Love and Scandal among the Victorian Aristocracy

Sample reviews:

Artemis Cooper (author of Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure) ‘With painstaking skill, Dismore lays bare the double standards of the Souls – a brilliant group who thought themselves superior, in morals and intellect, to the rest of their class.’

Hugo Vickers (author of The Sphinx: The Life of Gladys Deacon) ‘Harry Cust has long needed to emerge from the shadows. A rich tapestry unfolds.’

History Scotland magazine Sept/Oct 2022 – Extract: ‘Despite the number of family and large estate names involved, Dismore’s story moves slickly and with pace from character to character. Rather than creating a narrative knitting pattern of Victorian titled personages, she handles their tangled stories so carefully that the reader never drops a stitch.’

The Lady magazine March 2022 – one of their ‘Three Great Book-Club Reads’. Extract: ‘Through original research, Dismore has crafted an upper-class soap opera to rival Downton Abbey and The Crown.  The rich cast of characters are pretty, witty and immoral. An exciting page-turner of a book.’

US author Allegra Huston writing about Tangled Souls in The Oldie magazine (May 2022): Oldie Article_20220507_0001

Roger Bolton (former BBC Radio 4 presenter; podcast presenter; author of The Witch, Poet & Spy and other Little Gaddesdon Lives) ‘Dismore forensically dissects the moral hypocrisies of the Souls with a delightfully light touch. Harry Cust, undoubtedly a cad, emerges as a surprisingly sympathetic character…..I genuinely could not put it down.’

Bedfordshire Local History Association (newsletter, Spring 2022) – ‘It is a fascinating tale which involves most of the well-known names of the era’.

Karen D. on Facebook – ‘I really enjoyed it. Very well researched and so fascinating. I’ve learnt so much more about Harry Cust. A fabulous read, thank you Jane Dismore.’

Mike Donovan (on WOB website, October 2022): ‘An excellent book.’

Emma via Goodreads – ‘The research that must have gone into the book is phenomenal! There are so many people with interconnected and complex lives…..The account of the campaign waged against Harry by Millicent Garret Fawcett was fascinating…..It is certainly an illuminating snapshot of a bygone era.’

PRINCESS: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II (sample reviews – more on Amazon and Goodreads)

Jane Ridley (historian and author of The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII): ‘Fascinating.  Packed with rich new research. A gripping read.’

Sarah Bradford (author of Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen): ‘Excellently researched: a readable and interesting book with new material.’

“Jane Dismore’s research is as meticulous as her writing form is engaging, and it is this balance of talents that makes Princess such a good read.” Emi Bevacqua, Goodreads.

“Written almost as a novel, it offers a fresh look at the early life of the Princess who would be Queen. Includes especially intriguing insights into Elizabeth’s relationship with Philip as they navigate her ascendancy to the throne. Five stars.” Char Jones (

“This is an excellent bio of a fascinating woman.”  Janet’s Book Corner

“Carefully researched and more set in context and well rounded than previous royal biographies”. Margaret Sankey, Goodreads.

‘It’s a fascinating read.’ Read more here:  Review by Royal Central

DUCHESSES: Living in 21st Century Britain

The Telegraph said ‘It’s essential reading’ for the newspaper’s series on stately homes (3 Dec. 2015)

Amazon reviews:

“This is a first class book. It is written with clarity and understanding and has provided me with many enjoyable hours of reading. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history or the aristocracy.”

“Very enjoyable read; a good mix of history of each of the Duchesses’ forbears combined with excellent “interviews” with the current encumbents.”

“Good history, well told.”

Review in The European Royal History Journal,  Issue CII –Volume 17.6: December 2014

‘In this innovative book, the Duchesses of Somerset, St Albans, Bedford, Rutland,  Buccleuch, Argyll, Montrose, Northumberland, Leinster and Abercorn talk about their lives and roles in today’s world. They are ten of the twenty-four remaining Duchesses in Britain today. Some are from aristocratic families and have family links or connections to the royal family. The Duchess of Abercorn, born Alexandra Phillips, is a granddaughter of Sir Harold and Lady Zia Werner. As such, she is a direct descendant of Nicholas I of Russia and also of the poet Alexander Pushkin;….. [two dukedoms] descend from illegitimate children of Charles II.

Others are non-aristocratic but all have differing views on the role of a duchess today and whether women should inherit titles in the absence of a male heir…..Each Duchess was also asked to choose a favourite Duchess in her title from the past, providing a fascinating gallery from the 17th to the 20th century and a comparison with today. ……An app also accompanies the book — featuring video footage of some of the homes, interviews with some of the Duchesses, family trees and additional content.

This is an interesting concept which works very well, giving a valuable insight into the lives of modern day aristocracy and how it differs from that of their predecessors.’

Extracts from review on Royal Central, (by Jessica Hope)

 “Duchesses is the perfect kind of book to keep on your bookshelf to flick through on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon. …[I]t certainly displays interesting questions about the relevance of our modern day nobility and takes a peek into the lives of 21st century aristocrats…. The genealogy of each Duchess is fascinating, especially when learning about where and when their title originated from…. A great deal of research has certainly gone into this book and this is demonstrated in the ‘favourite Duchess’ chapters, chosen by each of the current Duchesses. No one can doubt that each of the titles included in this book are steeped in great history and enchanting stories…..

“Duchesses has embraced technology and created an app to accompany the book. By using this app, readers can watch videos focusing on five of the Duchesses featured in the book, and witness footage of their homes and family trees, alongside interviews with them and other additional content.”  11th September 2014


In February 2013 the book was selected for the longlist of 12 for the New Angle Prize for Literature, a literary competition for books about or inspired by East Anglia. In the announcement the judges, author Esther Freud, Professor Jo Catling, and previous winner Jim Kelly, said of the book: “A meticulous and captivating reconstruction of the life of Pamela Hambro – of the East Anglian Cobbold family – and the impact of the First World War on her life.” In a discussion with the judges on BBC Radio Suffolk, one of them said the book was “a great way to read history.”

“The book manages the difficult task of telling a personal story compellingly while setting it in the very dense context of the social and political scene over the whole of that volatile period.” Vivien Whelpton, author of ‘Richard Aldington: Poet, Soldier and Lover’ (published by Lutterworth, January 2014).

On 24 Dec 2012 The Daily Telegraph published a feature it had commissioned by Jane inspired by the book, headlined, ‘What happened to my father on that hilltop?’ Follow this link <a href=”;

BBC Radio Suffolk’s Georgina Wroe, in a live interview, said of ‘The Voice From the Garden’: ‘If you like Downton Abbey, you’ll love this…..It’s a beautiful, gorgeous book.’

Steven Russell in a feature article on the book in the East Anglian Daily Times wrote: “The impetus for a book can come from anywhere, but few starting points are as unsettling as the one that sparked The Voice from the Garden.”

Anthony Cobbold of the Cobbold Family History Trust wrote: “….it sped past me like a good film, over before it had begun, leaving me satisfied but wanting more.”

Press cutting of Pamela Hambro and friend golfing in North Berwick by the Daily Sketch