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In 1792-3, Juniper Hall was the unlikely refuge for a group of French aristocrats, freshly escaped from the dramas of the revolution. Into the quiet Surrey countryside descended the sophisticated, slightly scandalous Madame de Staël and her entourage of friends and lovers. All had played leading roles in the French Revolution, but with the excesses of the Terror beginning, they feared for their lives in France.
The novelist Fanny Burney was staying nearby, with her sister, Susanna Phillips. Captivated by their new neighbours, the sisters became the friends and confidantes of the French.
Linda Kelly elegantly recreates the troubled and brilliant world of those French exiles who, at a time when their hopes and ambitions lay in ruins, refused to abandon their high spirits, their intellectual curiosity – or their loves.
‘This skilful evocation and weaving together of place and personality delighted me … a delicate and witty summoning up of the ghosts of Fanny Burney, Madame de Staël and their French friends and lovers in rural Surrey in the summer of 1793.’ Claire Tomalin, Independent on Sunday
‘A short scintillating study of young de Stael, her lovers, and her shocked friend Fanny Burney in Surrey of all places: Linda Kelly, Juniper Hall: An English Refuge from the French Revolution.’ Richard Holmes, New York Review of Books
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