The Bohemian Girl

Frances Vernon

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The Bohemian Girl (1988), Frances Vernon’s fourth novel, transports us to 1890s London to meet the young Diana Blentham, whom Vernon first introduced to readers – as a celebrated grande horizontale – in the opening pages of her 1982 debut Privileged Children.

Diana fears that the lot of an intelligent woman is to simply be married and never again open a book. Her father wonders – not incorrectly – if Diana’s brains may lead her ‘to some grave lapse in good behaviour’. So it comes to pass one day when, riding on her bicycle in Battersea Park, she knocks over a handsome Irish painter…

‘A pretty, witty little parable about Victorian values, and the hazards of being female and intelligent in a country as sexist and anti-intellectual as the United Kingdom… This romance has teeth… it bites the eternal issues of class, and sex, and freedom.’ Philip Howard, The Times


Frances Vernon was born on December 1 1963, and raised on the Sudbury Estate in Derbyshire. At the age of 18 she embarked upon a writing career, and would complete six novels in the space of ten years. Privileged Children (1982) won the Author’s Club Award for Best First Novel, and the Daily Express praised its ‘genuine sparkle and invention.’…

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