Non - Fiction
Miss Palmers Diary The Secret Journals of a Victorian Lady
n 1847, seventeen-year-old Miss Ellen Palmer had the world at her feet. A debutante at the start of her first London season, Ellen was beautiful, rich and accomplished and about to experience the world of dances, opera visits and dinner parties which were a rite-of-passage for young women of her class. To record the glittering whirl of activity, Ellen started writing a diary, a unique daily account which was discovered over a century later by her descendants. For Ellen, the path to true love did not run smooth '" after a scandalous encounter with a duplicitous Swedish count, her marriage prospects were dealt a heavy blow. But Ellen was a woman ahead of her time. Undeterred by her increasing social isolation, she set off on a treacherous trip across Europe in pursuit of her beloved brother Roger, an officer in the Crimean War. In doing so she became one of the first women to visit the battlefield at Balaclava. Ellen's diaries provide a first-hand account of the realities of debutante life in Victorian London whilst also telling the story of an inspirational young woman, her quest for love and her spectacular journey from the ballroom to the battlefield.
"This book is a work of art: Ellen Palmer's diary, on which it is based, offers a fascinating glimpse into mid-Victorian high society - and into the mind of a beautiful, intelligent and self-aware young woman gifted with a trenchant turn of phrase"--Anne de Courcy, author of The Viceroy's Daughters
"Engrossing...a great piece of social history"--Katharine McMahon, author of The Rose of Sebastopol
"This is a compelling record of a woman stultified both by her family and even more by the rigid hierarchy of Victorian Society. I know of no other record which so vividly charts the failed efforts at social climbing by a family that used their daughter, Ellen Palmer, as the wedge whereby to prise open the door upwards. They failed. The diarist herself emerges as a mass of contradictions, vivacious and musically accomplished, vain and strong-willed, snobbish and also lacking in judgement when it came to men. But other traits, like her journey to the Crimea, anticipate what womanhood was to become in the next century."--Sir Roy Strong