The Bolter

Written by Frances Osborne
Review by Wisteria Leigh

Frances Osborne, the great-granddaughter of Idina Sackville, has written a shockingly candid biography of a brazen woman who defied the convention of upper society’s expectations. She glowed in the scandalous acts of the choices she made but always yearned for love. Born in 1893, she married Euan Wallace, the first of five husbands, and they set sail to Kenya to build a home. She was surrounded by majestic breathtaking vistas, and there she fell in love. After having two sons, the marriage began to disintegrate; a divorce was inevitable. When she lost custody and visitation from her boys, she was devastated. She returned alone to her idyllic hideaway of hedonism with only short respites back to England. Idina’s world was wrapped in a cocoon of pleasure with an edge of danger looming. Her friends, The Happy Valley Set, knew Idina for her outrageous behavior, including frequent nude appearances, adultery and couple-switching and the endless flow of alcohol. The Bolter is absorbing with Idina’s life laid bare and presented in detail. Her quest for love and freedom was paramount to her. Osborne succeeds brilliantly in conveying a sense of compassion not condemnation for this petite powerhouse.