Darling Monster

Darling Monster

The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to her Son John Julius Norwich 1939-1952

Summary

The glittering letters of British socialite Lady Diana Cooper to her son John Julius Norwich, from pre-World War Two London to post-Liberation Paris

‘Please, darling monster, write as often as you can. It’s so sad waiting for letters that don’t come and are not even written. I love my darling boy. Don’t treat me so badly again or I’ll have your lights and liver when I get home.’ 19 November 1939

‘I wish, I wish it was all over – Hitler defeated, the lights up again and the guns still.’ 2 October 1940

Lady Diana Cooper was the Edwardian It Girl who inspired novelists from Evelyn Waugh to Nancy Mitford. Born Lady Diana Manners, she was an aristocrat, society darling and an actress. Married to political star Duff Cooper, they were the golden couple at the heart of 20th century British upper-class life. This extraordinary collection of letters written by Diana to her only son, John Julius Norwich, takes us from the rumblings of war, through the Blitz to rural Sussex to post-Liberation Paris.

Beyond all the glitz, Diana emerges in these letters as highly intelligent, funny and fiercely loyal: a woman who disliked extravagance and was often shy, who was happiest in the countryside and whose greatest love were her husband and son John, who would later become a leading historian and broadcaster. These illuminating letters document some of history’s most dramatic events, but they provide a vivid and touching portrait of the love between a mother and son, separated by war, oceans – and the constraints of the time they lived in.

Diana Cooper is as vivid in literature and social legend as she was in life. Her letters are frank, witty and humorous’ The Times

Reviews

  • Witty, touching, perceptive and beautifully written... Read at a sitting or keep by your bed -- either way you will be enchanted
    Jonathan Dimbleby, Mail on Sunday

About the author

Diana Cooper

Lady Diana Cooper was born on 29 August 1892. She married Alfred Duff Cooper, DSO., who became one of the Second Word War’s key politicians. Her startling beauty resulted in her playing the lead in two silent films and then Max Reinhardt’s The Miracle. In 1944, following the Liberation of Paris, the couple moved into the British Embassy, Paris. They then retired to a house at Chantilly just outside Paris. After Duff’s death in 1954 Diana remained there till 1960, when she moved back to London. She died in 1986.

John Julius Norwich, the only son of Diana and Duff Cooper, is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire,the Mediterranean and, most recently, The Popes. He has also written on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and has presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.
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