Queen Bee of Tuscany

Queen Bee of Tuscany

The Redoubtable Janet Ross

Book - 2013
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"Quite simply one of the best books of the year." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

Ben Downing's Queen Bee of Tuscany brings an extraordinary Victorian back to life. Born into a distinguished intellectual family and raised among luminaries such as Dickens and Thackeray, Janet Ross married at eighteen and went to live in Egypt. There, for the next six years, she wrote for the London Times , hobnobbed with the developer of the Suez Canal, and humiliated pashas in horse races. In 1867 she moved to Florence, Italy where she spent the remaining sixty years of her life writing a series of books and hosting a colorful miscellany of friends and neighbors, from Mark Twain to Bernard Berenson, at Poggio Gherardo, her house in the hills above the city. Eventually she became the acknowledged doyenne of the Anglo-Florentine colony, as it was known. Yet she was also immersed in the rurallife of Tuscany: An avid agriculturalist, she closely supervised the farms on her estate and the sharecroppers who worked them, often pitching in on grape and olive harvests.
Spirited, erudite, and supremely well-connected, Ross was one of the most dynamic women of her day. Her life offers a fascinating window on fascinating times, from the Risorgimento to the rise of fascism.
Encompassing all this rich history, Queen Bee of Tuscany is a panoramic portrait of an age, a family, and our evolving love affair with Tuscany.

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2013

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374239718
0374239711
Characteristics: 338 pages, 8 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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butterk
Mar 31, 2015

Unfortunately, very boring recounting of dusty relatives.
Unable to get far, so maybe it improves.

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