The Beauty’s Story – Lillie Langtry

Jersey: The Hidden Histories is an ideal Christmas present for anyone who loves the history of this beautiful Island. I was delighted that the story of Lillie Langtry was reprinted in this month’s Our Island magazine, which reaches nearly 16,000 homes in Jersey across several parishes. The drama and energy of the Victorian age has passed into deep history, but the legend of its greatest beauty will not fade.

Lillie Langtry by Millais (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Lillie Langtry by Millais (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

“She rose like Venus from the foam, a rare jewel of grace chipped from the rough granite of her homeland. She was born Emilie le Breton, they say, a Dean’s daughter from the Channel Island of Jersey, best known for its lowing cows and sturdy potatoes. From this unpromising turf, and after a marriage into minor money, she burst like a hurricane upon the London season.

Her alabaster shoulders; her divine chin, her strikingly short hair; she was an angle clad in a simple black dress. Men were stupefied and their wives could merely seethe and cringe. Before long great artists were scrambling to idolise her, her photographs were hawked on every street corner; men would scramble onto chairs or queue for hours merely to catch a passing glimpse of perfection”.

From Jersey: The Hidden Histories by Paul Darroch (c) 2015

 

 

 

Jersey: The Hidden Histories – Festival Talk

Excited to be speaking at the inaugural Connections – Jersey Festival of Words next week on my new book, Jersey: The Hidden Histories. I look forward to sharing some “immersive history”, discussing the creative writing process and answering some questions during the talk at Jersey Museum.

Here’s my publisher’s summary of the book:

“Panoramic in scope, Jersey: The Hidden Histories is a spellbinding journey into the life and times of this entrancing Island. It is painted on a canvas that stretches from the primeval hunters crossing the tundra to the arrival of the first aeroplane in the magical summer of 1912, on the eve of the Great War.

Imaginative and vibrant, this is history seen through the eyes of those who witnessed it; an unknown Charlie Chaplin exploding onto the stage of the Jersey Opera House; Queen Victoria travelling to Gorey Castle in the sultry September heat; Sir Walter Raleigh strutting into the States Chamber. This is the story of Karl Marx supping in St Helier; the fugitive King Charles II seeking sanctuary in his loyal Island, and Lillie Langtry treading the boards in her prime.

Jersey: The Hidden Histories is the biography of an Island perched on the frontier between clashing kingdoms, brimming with a rich cast of iconic characters. Paul Darroch brings history vividly to life, as the narrative sweeps from the green parishes of home to the distant shores where a New Jersey would be born”.

The book is available from Seaflower Books, Amazon UK and a wide variety of book retailers in Jersey.