The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl is an extraordinary memoir—a jewel. Rosemary Kingsland was born in India during the dying days of the British Raj. While there, she and her family lived a life of privilege. But with the fall of the Raj, they were forced to return to England, where their fortunes took a decided turn for the worse. In London, then in Cornwall, then back in London, the simmering tension between Rosemary’s parents erupted into outright warfare fueled by alcohol and her father’s persistent, unrepentant womanizing. It was a lonely, dangerous childhood.
But one day Rosemary’s life changed forever. At a café where she had gone to escape from a party her father had insisted she attend with him, she met Richard Burton, the dashingly handsome Welsh actor who was then the toast of the London stage. She had seen him in Under Milkwood some months before. She was an adolescent schoolgirl. He was twenty-nine.
The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl is a deeply felt evocation of first love, and of family bonds forged in intense isolation. It is made all the more remarkable by the luminous quality and riveting narrative voice of Rosemary Kingsland.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Rosemary Kingsland
Rosemary Kingsland is a novelist and journalist. Her journalism has been featured in the Sunday Times and Evening Standard in London. Her novels, After the Ball and Cassatta, were published by Viking/Penguin. She lives in London. Visit her at www.rosemarykingsland.com
Ebook | $7.99
Published by Crown Dec 18, 2007| 352 Pages| ISBN 9780307422323
“Memoirs are best told by those who have stood in the path of life, letting it flow through—not around—them, leaving poetic truth to survive the filtering of experience. Rosemary Kingsland has created such a memoir. The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl is a magnificently, sensitively remembered, beautifully written story that excites the senses with such liveliness it stays locked in the reader’s imagination. This work is a literary achievement worth celebrating.” —Terry Kay, author of Taking Lottie Home
“The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl is all at once enthralling, lyrical, and stunning in its illumination of a young girl’s exhilaration and pain. I’m not sure what is more shocking about this gorgeous memoir—Rosemary Kingsland’s adolescent affair with the brilliant and dashing Richard Burton or the bizarre dynamics she had to cope with inside her family. Yet Kingsland handles each episode with nothing short of grace, revealing the humanity of each of its characters.” —Karen Essex, author of Kleopatra and Pharaoh
“Rosemary Kingsland’s story is not just beautifully written, but irresistible. Each person she recalls in this memoir, from the wild and poetic Richard Burton to her own family members, is drawn with such grace and understanding that their heartaches and joys reflect our own. In short, this is a book that simply sparkles.” —Deborah Joy Corey, author of Losing Eddie and The Skating Pond