I read the first 60% of the book – all of the chapters that covered the generations between Pepita, Vita Sackville-West’s grandmother, and Philippa, Vita’s daughter. The author is her granddaughter and I was just getting to her chapters when I decided that I had read the parts that interested me. There was nothing wrong with the book – but I selected it for its connection to Vita Sackville-West, and the connection became increasingly attenuated.
I did find it interesting, and it gave me some additional insight into Vita Sackville-West. She came from a long line of flamboyant, talented and often self-involved women. None of them were maternal in the way that I think of maternal – I suspect that being their child resulted in a lot of emotional neglect, benign at best. If there can be benign neglect of a child, which I strongly doubt. But they were an intriguing bunch, who lived their lives, each of them, in ways that were very different from my personal version of middle-class upbringing.
I am very interested in the women who were associated with the Bloomsbury Group, and the feminist movement in England in the pre- and post-WWI era. I’m done with Vita for now, but I can definitely see revisiting her work in the future, or reading a full biography that focuses on her. I’m also interested in Sissinghurst and her skill as a horticulturist, which was also an important part of who she was and which I didn’t get into at all. I also, eventually, want to read Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf, which may peripherally relate to Vita.
Anyway, this closes out my Vita Sackville-West project quite nicely, at least for now.