I was very kindly given a copy of Family history by Simon who had accidentally acquired a copy when he already owned one (I empathise, I've done that once myself too). I had not read any other Sackville-West before this, and although I wondered whether I should start with one of her more famous books (All passion spent or The Edwardians) I wanted to do Simon the courtesy of actually reading the book rather than letting it languish!
There is a fantastic review of this book here by Leaning towards the sun which says far more than I could write about the book; I will let you read that review rather than repeat myself talking about the plot. I found the book hugely enjoyable; the premise of the difficulties encountered in relationships between those of different backgrounds and classes greatly interested me and was handled well by Sackville-West. I felt frustrated at times when characters failed to understand the viewpoint of others, such as Mr Jarrold's incomprehension that his grandson Dan should not want to pursue traditional hobbies such as shooting and fishing. I found myself identifying with Evelyn when she failed to understand the importance of Miles' work to him.
When I'd finished, I went back and had a look at the introduction by Victoria Glendinning. It said that quite a lot of the material in the book was drawn from Sackville-West's own life and relationships. Most interesting of all was the fact that the house inhabited by the Jarrold's where much of the action takes place was based on Sissinghurst where Sackville-West lived. I am now desperate to visit Sissinghurst, and also to watch Portrait of a Marriage which is a dramatisation of the relationship between Sackville West and Harold Nicholson.
I am sorry that it has taken me so long to getting around to reading Sackville West. Can't quite decide which one to read next though...I have All Passion Spent, The Edwardians and No Signposts in the Sea.
Two Virago Modern classic editions. Simon gave me the original first cover, but it has subsequently been reissued in the more modern green style.