Antonia Fraser Books & Bio. Cheap Books by Antonia Fraser. Book People
An author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction, Antonia Fraser is the daughter of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford and Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford.
The widow of Harold Pinter, Antonia has written many acclaimed historical works and crime fiction starring the investigator Jemima Shore. She has won many awards and was made DBE in 2011 for services to literature.
Antonia Fraser Books
I first saw Harold across a crowded room, but it was lunchtime, not some enchanted evening, and we did not speak When Antonia Fraser met Harold Pinter she was a celebrated biographer and he was Britain's finest playwright. Both were already married - Pinter to the actress Vivien Merchant and Fraser to the politician Hugh Fraser - but their union seemed inevitable from the moment they met: 'I would have found you somehow', Pinter told Fraser. Their relationship flourished until Pinter's death on Christmas Eve 2008 and was a source of delight and inspiration to them both until the very end. Fraser uses her Diaries and her own recollections to tell a touching love story. But this is also a memoir of a partnership between two of the greatest literary talents, with fascinating glimpses into their creativity and their illustrious circle of friends from the literary, political and theatrical world.
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The six wives of Henry VIII - Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr - have become defined in a popular sense not so much by their lives as by the way these lives ended. But, as Antonia Fraser conclusively proves, they were rich and feisty characters. They may have been victims of Henry's obsession with a male heir, but they were not willing victims. On the contrary, they displayed considerable strength and intelligence at a time when their sex supposedly possessed little of either.
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Internationally bestselling historian Antonia Fraser's new book brilliantly evokes one year of pre-Victorian political and social history - the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. For our inconclusive times, there is an attractive resonance with 1832, with its 'rotten boroughs' of Old Sarum and the disappearing village of Dunwich, and its lines of most resistance to reform. This book is character-driven - on the one hand, the reforming heroes are the Whig aristocrats Lord Grey, Lord Althorp and Lord John Russell, and the Irish orator Daniel O'Connell. They included members of the richest and most landed Cabinet in history, yet they were determined to bring liberty, which whittled away their own power, to the country. The all-too-conservative opposition comprised Lord Londonderry, the Duke of Wellington, the intransigent Duchess of Kent and the consort of the Tory King William IV, Queen Adelaide. Finally, there were 'revolutionaries' and reformers, like William Cobbett, the author of RURAL RIDES. This is a book that features one eventful year, much of it violent. There were riots in Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham, and wider themes of Irish and 'negro emancipation' underscore the narrative. The time-span of the book is from Wellington's intractable declaration in November 1830 that 'The beginning of reform is the beginning of revolution', to 7th June 1832, the date of the extremely reluctant royal assent by William IV to the Great Reform Bill, under the double threat of the creation of 60 new peers in the House of Lords and the threat of revolution throughout the country. These events led to a total change in the way Britain was governed, a two-year revolution that Antonia Fraser brings to vivid dramatic life.
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In this delightful collection forty acclaimed writers explain what first made them interested in literature, what inspired them to read and what makes them continue to do so. First published in 1992 in hardback only, original contributors include Margaret Atwood, J. G. Ballard, Melvyn Bragg, A. S. Byatt, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Gray, Germaine Greer, Alan Hollinghurst, Doris Lessing, Candia McWilliam, Edna O'Brien, Ruth Rendell, Tom Stoppard, Sue Townsend and Jeanette Winterson. The new edition will include essays from five new writers, Emily Berry, Kamila Shamsie, Rory Stewart, Katie Waldegrave and Tom Wells. Royalties generated from this project will go to Give a Book, www.giveabook.org.uk, a charity set up in 2011 that seeks to get books to places where they will be of particular benefit. Give a Book works in conjunction with Age UK, Prison Reading Groups, Maggie's Centres, which help people affected by cancer, and various schools and literacy projects, such as Beanstalk, where many pupils have never had a book of their own in their lives.
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Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Valliere, Athenais de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general, including his mother Anne of Austria, his two sisters-in-law who were Duchesses d'Orleans in succession, Henriette-Anne and Liselotte, his wayward illegitimate daughters, and lastly Adelaide, the beloved child-wife of his grandson.
No Englishman has made more impact on the history of his nation than Oliver Cromwell; few have been so persistently maligned in the folklore of history. The central purpose of Antonia Fraser's book is the recreation of his life and character, freed from the distortions of myth and Royalist propaganda. Cromwell was a man of contradictions and surprising charm. This decisive and ruthless commander was also a country gentleman and a passionate connoisseur of music. Of Cromwell's fitness for high office, this fascinating biography leaves no doubt. Under his rule English prestige abroad rose to a level unequalled since Elizabeth I, yet his campaign in Ireland has cast a shadow over his reputation. Antonia Fraser displays great insight into this complex man and reveals a totally unexpected Cromwell, far removed from the received stereotype.
- RRP £16.99
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The childhood and early life memoir of Antonia Fraser, one of our finest narrative historians. Antonia Fraser's magical memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and '40s, but its real concern is with her growing love of history. A fascination that began with reading Our Island Story and her evacuation to an Elizabethan manor house at the beginning of the Second World War soon developed into an enduring passion, becoming, in her own words, 'an essential part of the enjoyment of life'. My History follows Antonia's relationship with her family: she was the eldest of eight children. Her parents Frank and Elizabeth Pakenham, later Lord and Lady Longford, were both Labour politicians. Then there are her adventures as a self-made debutante before Oxford University and a fortunate coincidence that leads to her working in publishing. It closes with the publication of her first major historical work, Mary Queen of Scots - a book that became a worldwide bestseller. Told with inimitable humour and style, this is an unforgettable account of one person's journey towards becoming a writer - and a historian.
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Mary Queen of Scots passed her childhood in France and married the Dauphin to become Queen of France at the age of sixteen. Widowed less than two years later, she returned to Scotland as Queen after an absence of thirteen years. Her life then entered its best known phase: the early struggles with John Knox, and the unruly Scottish nobility; the fatal marriage to Darnley and his mysterious death; her marriage to Bothwell, the chief suspect, that led directly to her long English captivity at the hands of Queen Elizabeth; the poignant and extraordinary story of her long imprisonment that ended with the labyrinthine Babington plot to free her, and her execution at the age of forty-four.
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'I warned you, Jemima Shore, things up here are seldom all they seem ...' The body of a young man has been found floating in a pool on a remote island in the Scottish Highlands. It just happens to be the island that TV reporter Jemima Shore has rented for a holiday - a holiday that is rapidly falling apart. Confronted with a foreboding stone house, a bitter family feud and cryptic warnings from locals Jemima begins to regret her choice. It is only when another body is found tangled in weeds in the river she begins to realize she has become caught up in something very dark indeed. As she tries to fight her attraction to a suspect, Jemima struggles to work out just who she can trust. In this lonely spot it seems that nobody is quite as they first appear...
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'I lit the candle and began rather gingerly to climb up the ladder. Then I heard a distinct sound above my head. A scrape on the floor, an irregular jarring on the floor above my head, like something rocking ...' A nun is dead - her emaciated corpse has been discovered locked in the tower of Blessed Eleanor's Convent. The tragic consequence of a neurotic young woman committing to a life of isolation and piety, the inquest concludes. But this young woman held unusual power over the convent - power she was planning to use. Jemima Shore tries to keep her distance from the case, but when her lover cancels their holiday she finds herself reluctantly getting involved. A violent attack in the dead of night and another death convinces her that the convent is not the haven of peace it appears to be. Suspicion and fear hang heavy in the air but how do you solve a murder no-one will admit happened?
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In May 1978 Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser visited Israel at the time of the 30th Anniversary of Independence. It was three years after they first lived together; neither had set foot in Israel before. Based in Jerusalem, they toured many of the country's historic sites: from Bethlehem to the fortress of Masada, encountering future Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, Jackie Kennedy and a long-lost cousin of Harold's on a kibbutz. It was a trip during which Pinter's feelings about his heritage emerged for the first time. As he said himself: 'For the first time I feel Jewish'. This diary was kept daily by Antonia Fraser: the vivid narrative and descriptions (Antonia swimming in the Dead Sea while Harold had a beer) are leavened with humour, occasionally wry where Harold's quirks were concerned, and always tender. Above all, it is a unique picture of a time and place - and a touching insight into fifteen days in the lives of two writers, one Jewish, one Catholic, one a playwright and one a biographer, who were also a devoted couple.
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