Category: SOC028000

Hotbed: Bohemian New York and the Secret Club that Sparked Modern Feminism

The dazzling story of the early feminists who blazed a trail for the movement’s most radical ideas

 

New York City, 1912: in downtown Greenwich Village, a group of women gathered, all with a plan to change the world.

 

This was the first meeting of ‘Heterodoxy’, a secret social club. Its members were passionate advocates of women’s suffrage, labour rights, equal marriage and free love. They were socialites and socialists; reformers and revolutionaries; artists, writers and scientists. Hotbed is the never-before-told story of the club whose audacious ideas and unruly acts transformed an international feminist agenda into a modern way of life.

 

For readers who loved Mo Moulton’s Mutual Admiration Society and Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting.

The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4)

The touching, honest and laugh-out-loud account of what it’s like to become a first-time mum after 40

Whatever your age, becoming a mum for the first time brings excitement, anxiety and numerous challenges. But how do you cope when, to top it all off, you discover you are almost old enough to be the mother of everyone else in your birth prep group? As one in five babies is born to a mum over 35, and the number of women over 40 giving birth has doubled, The Secret Diary of a New Mum (Aged 43 1/4) is Cari Rosen’s timely and hilarious account of becoming a first-time mother in her 40s.

Whether it’s deftly side-stepping questions about your age and baby number two, weeping as younger counterparts ping back into their size ten jeans within thirty seconds of giving birth, or your doctor suddenly referring to you as geriatric, Cari approaches the shared experiences of an ever-increasing number of mothers with insight, humour and honesty.

***Praise for The Secret Diary of a New Mum***

‘Hilariously candid.Daily Mail

Brilliantly observed… funny, embarrassing and yet cruelly honest. It feels good to laugh about it, now the stitches are out.’ Fay Ripley

Warm, witty and very, very wise the perfect antidote to all those po-faced pregnancy books. As a fellow ”Geriatric Mother” I found myself constantly laughing and nodding along in agreement.‘ Imogen Edwards-Jones

Beyond the Secret Garden

The definitive and revealing biography of the author of The Secret Garden.

 

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s favourite theme in her fiction was the reversal of fortune, and she herself knew extremes of poverty and wealth. Born in Manchester in 1849, she emigrated with her family to Tennessee because of the financial problems caused by the cotton famine. From a young age she published her stories to help the family make ends meet. Only after she married did she publish Little Lord Fauntleroy that shot her into literary stardom.

 

On the surface, Frances’ life was extremely successful: hosting regular literary salons in her home and travelling frequently between properties in the UK and America. But behind the colourful personal and social life, she was a complex and contradictory character. She lost both parents by her twenty-first birthday, Henry James called her “the most heavenly of women” although avoided her; prominent people admired her and there were many friendships as well as an ill-advised marriage to a much younger man that ended in heartache. Her success was punctuated by periods of depression, in one instance brought on by the tragic loss of her eldest son to consumption.

 

Ann Thwaite creates a sympathetic but balanced and eye-opening biography of the woman who has enchanted numerous generations of children.

The Iris Trilogy: Memoirs of Iris Murdoch

Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was one of the greatest British novelists and philosophers of the twentieth century. She read philosophy at Oxford where she met and later married John Bayley, a literary critic and fellow novelist. So began a forty-year, intense and unconventional but happy marriage, detailed in the classic bestselling memoir Iris. Despite Iris’ extramarital affairs with men and women throughout their long marriage – which John always suspected – their bond was unbreakable, and his memoir beautifully captures their child-like moments of bliss: walking in forests, swimming together in streams, and sharing hot cups of coffee on crisp mornings.

These are touching but poignant stories with the knowledge that Iris and her grand intellect would eventually succumb to Alzheimer’s disease. John would care for her singlehandedly for five years, the last of which he writes about in Iris and the Friends that also describes her peaceful passing. Finally, he reflects on his bereavement and the void that is left when a soulmate departs in A Widower’s House. All three books are told by the person who knew Iris best, with gentle humour – at times unbearably moving – in his portrayal of a remarkable woman.

Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

Why would a good person commit a terrible act?

Fifteen years ago, Jeannie’s relationship with a close friend ended in rape. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, recurring nightmares of the event that plagued her as a girl have returned. To process her conflicted feelings of betrayal and take back control, she resolves to face her trauma head-on by interviewing her rapist.

Through their transcribed conversations and discussions with her closest friends, Jeannie’s compelling memoir explores how the incident impacted both of their lives, while examining the culture and language surrounding sexual assault and rape. Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl is a necessary contribution to the wider conversation around sexual violence from a brave, new voice. 

***PRAISE FOR THINGS WE DIDN’T TALK ABOUT WHEN I WAS A GIRL***

A Time magazine ‘The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019’ 

A Bustle ‘The 20 Best New Books for Fall 2019’ 

Bustle ‘10 New #MeToo Movement Books to Read in Fall 2019′

An Esquire ‘Best Fall Books of 2019’: ‘Perhaps the most important book of the season.’

A Nylon ‘34 Books You’ll Want to Read This Fall’: ‘Thought-provoking, unmooring and haunting.’

A Domino  ‘Best Fall Books of 2019: ‘A compelling, nuanced look at trauma and survival.’

A NetGalley UK’s Top Ten Books for October

‘Brave and compelling… Vanasco muddles through the silt of her thoughts to create a language for something we don’t talk about.’ The Paris Review, staff pick

‘With deep self-consciousness, courage, and nuance, the author reveals the inner universe of her survivorship… An extraordinarily brave work of self- and cultural reflection.’ Kirkus Reviews, starred review

‘A powerful memoir… a painful reminder of the ugly ways some men treat women, and Vanasco’s nuanced story will resonate with those who’ve endured sexual inappropriateness in any form.’ Publishers Weekly

 ‘Vanasco has written exactly the book we need right now. I wish everyone would read it.’ Melissa Febos, author of Abandon Me

‘A gorgeous, harrowing, heartbreaking book. Vanasco is whip-smart and tender, open and ruthless.’ Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

Queen of Spies

The only biography of Britain’s celebrated female spy – now fully updated with previously classified materials.

From being raised in a Tanzanian shack, to attaining MI6’s most senior operational rank, Daphne Park led a highly unusual life. Drawing on first-hand accounts of intelligence workers close to agent Park, Hayes reveals how she rose in a male-dominated world to become Britain’s Cold War spy master.

With intimate, nail-biting details Queen of Spies captures both the paranoia and on-the-ground realities of intelligence work from the Second World War to the Cold War, and the life of Britain’s celebrated female spy.

Wilde’s Women

‘A remarkable book… the breadth and depth of research is astonishing’ Emma Thompson

‘An illuminating study… fascinating’ Independent

Hailed as a gay icon and pioneer of individualism, Oscar Wilde’s insistence that ‘there should be no law for anybody’ made him a staunch defender of gender equality. Throughout his life from his relationship to his extraordinary mother Jane and the tragedy of his sister Isola’s early death to his accomplished wife Constance and a coterie of other free-thinking writers, actors and artists, women were a central aspect of his life and career. Wilde’s Women is the first book to tell the story of his female friends and colleagues who traded witticisms with Wilde but also give him access to vital publicity and whose ideas he gave expression through his social comedies.

Author Eleanor Fitzsimons reframes Wilde’s story and his legacy through the women in his life including such fascinating figures as Florence Balcombe who left him for Bram Stoker, actress Lillie Langtry (for a while an inseparable friend) and his tragic and witty niece Dolly who bore a strong resemblance to the writer and loved fast cars, cocaine and foreign women.

Full of fascinating detail and anecdotes Wilde’s Women relates the untold story of how the writer played a vitally sympathetic role on behalf of many women and how they supported him in the midst of a Victorian society in the process of changing forever.

The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit: Author of The Railway Children

A SUNDAY TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

Winner of the Rubery Book Award 2020 (Non Fiction)

Edith Nesbit is considered the inventor of the children’s adventure story and her brilliant children’s books influenced bestselling authors including C.S. Lewis, P. L. Travers, J.K. Rowling, and Jacqueline Wilson, to name but a few. But who was the person behind the best loved classics The Railway Children and Five Children and It? Her once-happy childhood was eclipsed by the chronic illness and early death of her sister. In adulthood, she found herself at the centre of a love triangle between her husband and her close friend. She raised their children as her own.

Yet despite these troubling circumstances Nesbit was playful, contradictory and creative. She hosted legendary parties at her idiosyncratic Well Hall home and was described by George Bernard Shaw – one of several lovers – as ‘audaciously unconventional’. She was also an outspoken Marxist and founding member of the Fabian Society. Through Nesbit’s letters and deep archival research, Eleanor Fitzsimons reveals her as a prolific activist and writer on socialism. Nesbit railed against inequity, social injustice and state-sponsored oppression and incorporated her avant-garde ideas into her writing, influencing a generation of children – an aspect of her legacy examined here for the first time.

Eleanor Fitzsimons, acclaimed biographer and prize winning author of Wilde’s Women, has written the most authoritative biography in more than three decades. Here, she brings to light the extraordinary life story of an icon, creating a portrait of a woman in whom pragmatism and idealism worked side-by-side to produce a singular mind and literary talent.

***PRAISE FOR THE LIFE AND LOVES OF E. NESBIT***

‘A terrific book.’ Neil Gaiman

‘A very well-researched biography.’ Kate Atkinson

‘Eleanor Fitzsimons’ painstaking research gives us a new insight into the bizarre Bohemian life of the groundbreaking children’s author E. Nesbit. It’s a fantastic read.’ Jacqueline Wilson 

‘Absolutely superb!’ Hilary McKay, children’s author of The Skylarks War (shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards)

‘In this long-overdue new biography, Eleanor Fitzsimons gives us a nuanced yet compelling portrait of E. Nesbit’s many-facetted personality, life and works, as well as of the politically and culturally vibrant milieu in which she lived.’ Fiona Sampson, author of In Search of Mary Shelley

‘What a stirring and unexpected story Eleanor Fitzsimons tells and what a subject she has found. I can’t think of a single writer who doesn’t owe something to Edith Nesbit’s glorious books for children. The extraordinary woman who wrote them proves to be every bit as brave, funny and imaginative as her own intrepid characters.’ Miranda Seymour, author of In Byron’s Wake

‘One of the greatest children’s writers, and an acknowledged much loved influence on Joan Aiken E. Nesbit is celebrated in this wonderful new biography by Eleanor Fitzsimons.’ Lizza Aiken, daughter of Joan Aiken

‘An exceptional biography about an absolutely fascinating individual.’ Adam Roberts, Vice-President of the H.G. Wells Society

‘A fascinating, thoughtfully organized, thoroughly researched, often surprising biography.’ Kirkus Review

‘Fitzsimons delivers a sprightly and highly readable life of a writer who deserves even wider recognition.’ Publishers Weekly