August is shared short review month

In the last month or so I read two recent Australian biographies which bring to life some fascinating aspects of Austalian social life and history.

1." Joan in India" by Suzanne Falkiner - This biography is about a relative (Joan) of the author who married an Indian Prince in 1939/40 . Joan was a member of the wealthy grazier socialite family and left Melboune by boat to go to india and marry her Prince. It was a big cause for gossip and amazement in Melbourne of the day. Joan was a beautiful - her Prince was Indian, Muslim , quite a bit older than her and had one other wife. The marriage was apparently successful. The book is well researched and gives the reader a wealth of fascinating information about the politics of India including Independence and partition. Well worth reading, strongly written and not at all salacious.
2. "An Exacting Heart : the story of Hephzibar Menuhin" by Jacqueline Kent. This book tells us about the life of the beautiful Hephzibar - fine concert pianist and sister of the renowned Yehudi Menuhin. Hephzibar married into the wealthy Nicholas family of Melbourne (Aspro fortune) as did Yehudi in late 1930s- brother and sister married brother and sister. Hephzibar came to live on a property outside Melboune and threw herself energetically into her new life which was so different from her European experience. An amazing woman from an incredibly talented family - she performed concerts for the ABC as well as threw herself into the life of countryside. Her life in Australia and after she left and remarried is engrossing and very well told.

I would recommend the above to any lover of well written biographies and current social history.

Please tell us a good book you have read lately.

Faye Lawrence