January 2015 Indie Next List
“This novel tells the story of sisters Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, later to become Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. Vanessa, an emerging painter, tells their stories in her journal accompanied by the letters and telegrams of their families, husbands, and the many brilliant artists and painters in their circle. It is a story of art, literature, betrayal, emotional upheaval, and, above all, the many complicated forms love takes. Set against the backdrop of Edwardian England, a time of sweeping social transformations, Vanessa and Her Sister is a moving portrait of a brilliant family.”
— Staci Rice, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS
For fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank comes a captivating novel that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Vanessa Bell, her sister Virginia Woolf, and the controversial and popular circle of intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group.
London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.
Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf's book review has just been turned down by The Times
. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.
But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa's constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.
The work of exciting young newcomer Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister
exquisitely captures the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. Read by a Full Cast:
"Virginia" read by Clare Corbett
"Vanessa" read by Emilia Fox
"Lytton Strachey" read by Julian Rhind-Tutt
"Leonard Woolf" read by Daniel Pirrie
"Roger Fry" read by Anthony Calf Advance praise for Vanessa and Her Sister
"Priya Parmar is on a high-wire act all her own in this radiantly original novel about the Bloomsbury Set. Irrepressible, with charm and brio to spare, Vanessa and Her Sister
boldly invites us to that moment in history when famous minds sparked and collided. Prepare to be dazzled."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
"With sparkling wit and insight, Priya Parmar sets us down into the legendary Bloomsbury household of the Stephen siblings, where sisters Vanessa and Virginia vie for love and primacy amidst a collection of eccentric guests. Vanessa and Her Sister
kidnapped me for a couple of days. I couldn't put it down."--Nancy Horan, author of Under the Wide and Starry Sky
"I loved this brilliant depiction of the true price of genius. Parmar's novel shines a bright light into the empty spaces between the lines of history."--Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
"This is the novel I didn't know I was waiting for, and it is, quite simply, astonishing: not just because of Priya Parmar's preternatural skill at evoking the moment when the lid was coming off the Victorians, but because of how she has caught the two sisters at the center of that swirl. It is beautiful, wise, and as deft as a stroke upon the canvas."--Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress