A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson; Love Like Salt: A Memoir by Helen Stevenson; Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter by Diana Athill - review by Christena Appleyard

Christena Appleyard

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A House Full of Daughters


Chatto & Windus 325pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Love Like Salt: A Memoir


Virago 289pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter


Granta Books 144pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Daughterhood is the subject matter of Juliet Nicolson’s tense, highly personal and beautifully written book. Nicolson is a historian and the daughter of the writer Nigel Nicolson. She spent much of her childhood in the magical surroundings of Sissinghurst. In her foreword, she shows that she is alert to any charges that the people who appear in this family history may be considered too privileged for their struggles to be taken seriously. ‘But’, she writes, ‘I wondered if wealth and class always amounted to privilege in a broader sense.’ 

Well, yes, it looks that way. Nicolson’s father wrote in his diary on the day she was born that when she was given a spoonful of water she accepted it ‘with the maturity of a marchioness sipping Cointreau’. Her grandmother Vita Sackville-West wrote in her diary, ‘And if she ever

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