The Disinherited: A Story of Family, Love, and Betrayal
The twenty-year affair between Lord Lionel Sackville-West, and the Spanish dancer Pepita de Oliva, produced five children—Max Victoria, Flora, Amalia, and Henry—who would live their tumultuous lives overshadowed by the stain of their illegitimacy. By the graces of a serendipitous marriage, Victoria would become the mistress of Knole, the estate of the Sackville-West family, but her siblings would spend the rest of their lives in a fruitless effort to claim part of a legacy that refused to recognize them.
Writing real life is both easier, and harder, than writing fiction. Easier because you know what happens, harder because you can’t take a lot of liberties. The author does a decent job in telling the story of his illegitimate ancestors, but the book is riddled with French words and phrases that are never translated, the pettiness and selfishness of all the main characters makes it hard for the reader to care about any of them, and even the court scene in which Henry tries to prove his legitimacy in order to claim Knole is utterly devoid of any real tension. For those who love English history, this book might speak strongly to you, but I was unable to embrace it fully.
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