Child of the Twenties

First published in 1962, in her neat and good-tempered way the author brings alive the attitudes and the atmospheres common to the twenties and thirties. No names are dropped for the sake of it. No mad and witty intimacies with the great are vaunted. Few wild parties are attended, despite the eccentric pressures of Frances Donaldson’s father, the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, whose personality is one of the book’s delights.

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Life and Times among the eccentrics of the 1920 and 30s

No names are dropped for the sake of it. No mad and witty intimacies with the great are vaunted. Few wild parties are attended, despite the eccentric pressures of Frances Donaldson’s father, the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, whose personality is one of the book’s delights. First published in 1962, in her neat and good-tempered way the author brings alive the attitudes and the atmospheres common to the twenties and thirties. Abetted by her father, she passed through the mill of night-clubs into a faulty marriage, from which she escaped early in the thirties to take part in her second husband’s, Jack Donaldson’s, heartening social experiment in Peckham. Using the same intelligence that brought success in her father’s sophisticated entourage, she now became part of the serious world of left-wing intellectualism; in those frivolous times a most unfashionable pursuit. And with that she abandons us on the eve of the Second War; leaving us with an impression of the intelligence, humour and skill with the pen which, in the quarter century since this book was first published, have made the name of Frances Donaldson famous as the eminent biographer of such figures as Edward VIII and P.G. Wodehouse.
Lady Donaldson of Kingsbridge (1907-1994), a British writer and biographer, was the daughter of Freddie Lonsdale, a playwright. She married John George Stuart Donaldson, Baron Donaldson of Kingsbridge (known as Jack), a left-wing intellectual, social worker, and dilettante Gloucestershire farmer in 1935. As the daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, she grew up in the frivolous world of 1920s cafe society, yet she became a committed socialist. As the wife of Lord Donaldson who was on the board of both London Opera houses and was subsequently Minister for the Arts, Frances Donaldson was at the cultural centre of British life. Her body of work included topics such as farming, and biographies on writers Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, as well as on her father, Freddie. Her biography of King Edward VIII won the Wolfson Literary Award and was the basis for a six-part television series, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, starring James Fox and Cynthia Harris.

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