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A Profound Secret by Josceline Dimbleby
  

A Profound Secret

Biography / Autobiography   The Real World   
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This book prompted acres of press on her and her family and the discovery of a cache of letters from the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward-Burns-Jones to her great-grandmother. Josceline then turned detective in this enthralling account of love in a fascinating age.

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Synopsis

A Profound Secret by Josceline Dimbleby

A chance encounter at a summer party sent Josceline Dimbleby on a quest to uncover a mystery in her own family’s past. Talking to Andrew Lloyd Webber about a beautiful dark portrait in his art collection, by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones, she undertook to find out more about the subject of the painting, her great-aunt Amy Gaskell. All that was known about Amy, according to family lore, was that she had ‘died young of a broken heart’.

In her search, Josceline came across a cache of unpublished letters from Burne-Jones to her great-grandmother May Gaskell, Amy’s mother. These letters turned out to be part of a passionate correspondence, of up to five letters a day, which continued throughout the last six years of the painter’s life. As she read, more and more questions were raised: why did Burne-Jones feel he had to protect May from an overwhelming sadness? What was the deep secret she had confided to him? And what was the tragic truth behind May’s beautiful daughter Amy’s wayward, wandering life, her strange marriage and her unexplained early death?

In piecing together the eventful life of her great-grandmother, Josceline Dimbleby takes us through a turbulent period in English history that includes the Boer War, the Great War and the Second World War, and visits the most far-flung corners of the Empire. The Souls, William Morris, Rudyard Kipling and William Gladstone all play a part in this sweeping, often funny and sometimes tragic story. Above all, it is her infectious enthusiasm for a subject so close to home that makes A Profound Secret a compelling and richly entertaining read.


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Reviews

‘As with the opposite sex, there are few books you fall for and want for life, even fewerwith which you can find little fault.Here is a right stunner, a secret family history…At the book’s outset she is an innocent setting off breathlessly on a search; but the innocent evolves into a romantic, then acquires the wisdom of a historian, and ends up encasing a whole century in the most attractive of nutshells.’ David Hughes, Spectator

‘Enchanting.’ Independent

‘An entirely captivating book…Josceline Dimbleby’s greatest gift as a story-teller is her ability to communicate the excitement of her discoveries… compelling.’Miranda Seymour The Sunday Times

About the Author

Josceline Dimbleby

Josceline Dimblebywas brought up both abroad and in England. She has been one of Britain’s most popular food writers for over thirty years. Her cookery books have sold well over 2 million copies in the UK alone, and been translated into many languages.

Her first book A Taste of Dreams, published in 1976, won the Andre Simon Award for the best cookery book of the year. Since then she has published seventeen cookery books and was cookery correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper for 15 years, winning a Glenfiddich Award for her pieces on India and the Far East.

A complete change from anything she had done before was A Profound Secret – a biographical family mystery spanning 100 years, which included her great grandmother’s secret relationship with the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. It was published in hardback in March 2004 to great critical acclaim, and a year later in the US, together with a UK paperback. Josceline continues to travel widely, writes occasionally on travel and food for various publications, gives live talks and contributes to television and radio programmes.

Her book Orchards in the Oasis – Recipes, Travels and Memories was published in October 2010 and won the Kate Whiteman Award for Work on Food and Travel at the Guild of Food Writers Awards in June 2011.

She has now completely revised her 1980’s bestseller Marvellous Meals with Mince and the new edition was published by Quadrille in September 2012.

Photograph by J.Culme-Seymour

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Book Info

Publication date

1st February 2005

Author

Josceline Dimbleby

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Author's Website

www.joscelinedimbleby.com

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Publisher

Black Swan

Format

Paperback
464 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
The Real World

Biography: historical, political & military
Painting & paintings

ISBN

9780552999816

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