Anne Sebba

Three Graces

Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power


William Collins 492pp £25 order from our bookshop

In 1913, when Perf Wyndham married the Honorable Diana Lister, an onlooker, observing the remarkable family assembled for the occasion, commented, ‘The Wyndham clan – all so beautiful and so well pleased with each other.’ The remark, while astutely nailing one of the feelings induced by reading about these intensely self-obsessed, largely leisured women for 400 pages, is especially poignant because, with hindsight, we know that their apparently perfect world was about to be destroyed forever. Along with many of his friends and relations, Perf, the nephew of the titular sisters of Claudia Renton’s book, was killed in action little more than a year later, aged 26. And so this elegantly written tableau of a book is much more than a group biography; it is an elegiac account of the horrors of the First World War from the female perspective. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter