This book is part history and part an account of the daily life of a large aristocratic family with homes in Roxburghshire in Scotland, and in fashionable Easton Square in London. The story is told principally by the Earl and Countess of Minto, their five sons - a diplomat, MP, soldier, sailor and lawyer - along with the daughters' governess.
The action takes place in Britain and across the world, in such places as Brazil and Uruguay, Morocco, China, Cape Province, Russia, Corfu, the Crimea, Bulgaria, Prussia, Italy, Sicily and the Vatican. It includes colorful descriptions of crises and revolutions as well as the consequences of the fortunate marriage made by one of the Elliot daughters to a future British prime minister.
It treads a careful path between being a piece of historical scholarship and the inside story of the family's life, managing to combine the style and content of letters and diaries from a variety of sources. It is the first biography of the Minto family in the reign of Queen Victoria and one in which both sexes have a part to play. Intricately choreographed, The Victorian Elliot's is not formulaic and its readers will enjoy the description it gives of the long Victorian afternoon.
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