I can't be dispassionate about Rachel. A Virgo. It was she who as visionary editor of the venerable magazine appointed me its first-ever astrologer in 2011. I am forever in her debt, as the brief bio on my gorgeous new website makes clear. How the periodical had coped without its own stargazer for its first 125 years is anyone's guess. I mean, one of its former senior editors (among the first to flee Rachel's lash and importation of Jilly Cooper-esque 'lady gardens' and the like) laboured under the misapprehension that The Lady was born under Aquarius (sign of free love, space probes and other lunacies). I thought that can't be right. And indeed, on drawing up the magazine's chart I learnt it drew first breath under Pisces (a much more sedate and tasteful sign).
But enough of my concerns. Rachel's novel. No, I have not read it (time, darlings, time - astrology is all about time, by the way), though I am sampling its pages on Amazon and find myself moistening. Winter Games resonates with something of the Unity Mitford-Hitler high comedy as upper class twatties permit fascist flash to tantalise their untouched rosebuds - pre-War as well as near-contemporary.
Rachel is almost a Capotean social satirist, but on the whole a keen survival instinct draws her from the brink of disgrace. It doesn't do to go over completely. Not in London, anyway.
Since I am not qualified to commend or condemn her latest book, I hand you over to one Daisy Goodwin who in her Amazon review of Winter Games concludes: 'I would have given it five stars but only sock puppets do that now.'
Very wise. Best wishes, Rachel, in your post-Lady (gardens) literary life.
Winter Games by Rachel Johnson can be bought here or here.