History & True Crime
The Angels of Englemere Wood by Karen Farrington published in paperback today
Nino Strachey is a writer, public speaker and historian who has worked as Head of Research for the National Trust. She is related to a family at the heart of the Bloomsbury Group, and has a particular interest in this area.
Since starting her career with the Landmark Trust, Nino has worked for English Heritage and the National Trust researching the homes of scientists (Darwin), politicians (Churchill) and authors (Woolf). Her writing focuses on the expression of personality through place, seeking to uncover hidden or under-represented histories. Her book Rooms of Their Own explored the lives of three writers linked to the Bloomsbury Group, revealing changing attitudes towards sexuality and gender in the 1920s and 30s.
Nino is a regular public speaker, making festival appearances, chairing panel discussions, and giving talks for conferences, museums and societies. She has lectured in the US and Italy as well as in the UK, Nino has written for many publications, ranging from The Literary Review to Apollo and Country Life. She lives in London with her husband and family.
The Bloomsbury Group gained a controversial reputation before the First World War, with their irreverent spirit and eagerness to challenge conventions in their writing and art. But commercial success came only in the 1920s, when a group of unorthodox creatives joined their ranks. Who were these younger figures who invigorated the ageing ‘Bloomsberries’ with their captivating looks and provocative ideas?
In Young Bloomsbury Nino introduces an extraordinarily colourful cast of Bright Young Things, including novelist Eddy Sackville-West ‘who wore elaborate make-up and dressed in satin and black velvet’, sculptor Stephen Tomlin, and writer Julia Strachey. Talented, productive and ahead of their time, these larger-than-life figures had high-achieving professional lives and extremely complicated emotional lives.
Bloomsbury had always celebrated sexual equality and freedom in private, feeling that every person had the right to live and love in the way they chose. But as transgressive self-expression became more public, this younger generation gave Old Bloomsbury a new voice. Revealing an aspect of Bloomsbury history not yet explored, Young Bloomsbury celebrates an open way of living that would not be embraced for another hundred years.
‘Young Bloomsbury just BRIMS with the same kind of sexy vitality embodied by the characters Nino Strachey describes in such effervescent detail. Just when you might have wondered if there could possibly be room for a new and revealing study of a group of lives which have been so meticulously and extensively documented, Nino’s exhilarating lens offers an entirely original and thrilling focus. As scepticism, admiration, envy, and confusion ebb and flow between one chattering , seductive, thinking, inspiring generation and another, this is Gatsby made real’
— Juliet Nicolson, author of Frostquake
‘With a deft turn of the Bloomsbury kaleidoscope, and an impressive gift for finding treasures in the archives, Nino Strachey reveals colourful new patterns of experiments in living which speak trenchantly to our own cultural moment.’
— Mark Hussey, author of Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism
‘… a superb, sparky and reflective book.’
— Paul Levy, The Spectator
‘Above all else, Bloomsbury was a liberating force, as Nino Strachey shows in her sparkling new book. The younger friends and relations of the Bells, Stracheys and Woolfs lived, worked and loved freely, finding their own ways to personal and artistic fulfilment. This book is packed with their brilliant, subversive energy.’
— Anne Chisolm, author of Frances Partridge: The Biography
‘A lively account of a group of bright young things in the 1920s. A hundred years ahead of their time, these creative souls were pushing the boundaries of gender identity and sexual expression, and – surprisingly – finding acceptance among their friends and families.’
— Robert Sackville-West, author of The Searchers: The Quest for the Lost of the First World War
‘Evocative, engaging and filled with vivid details, Rooms of their Own explores the homes of three writers linked to the Bloomsbury Group: Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West and Edward Sackville-West. Bringing together stories of love, desire and intimacy, of evolving relationships and erotic encounters, with vivid accounts of the settings in which they took place, it offers fresh insights into their complicated, interlocking lives. Complete with first-hand accounts, this book illuminates shifting social and moral attitudes towards sexuality and gender in the 1920s and 30s.’