Outrageous Fortune: Growing Up at Leeds Castle

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Anthony Russell was born in 1952 to wealthy parents, each with titles in their backgrounds. His paternal grandmother owned a small castle in Ireland; his maternal grandmother owned Leeds Castle. It was at this sprawling and sumptuous estate he spent holidays and weekends growing up. Readers of his new memoir get to learn about the people who also spent a lot of time there, forming Lady Baillie’s social circle, and their typical routines: late starts to each day, lunches lubricated with plenty of alcohol, card-playing with “Granny B.” Russell and his two older brothers and younger sister lived only on the periphery, observing but never fully participating.

Russell’s main theme: the “castle way,” the expectations and culture of this way of life, didn’t do him any favors when it came time for him to become an adult and make his own way in the “real” world. Luckily, he still had a trust fund and inheritances to stay well afloat.

The book makes interesting reading, giving “normal people” a peek into a very different world. It contains a variety of anecdotes, but the best and most outrageous story by far was that of his father’s “virgin birth,” which made headlines in the 1920s. Just read it.


Reviewed By:

Author Anthony Russell
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Publish Date 2013-Nov-26
ISBN 9781250006011
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue March 2014
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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