Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Written with wit, verve and heart, Queen Bees is the story of a social revolution, and the extraordinary women who helped it happen.

Lady Nancy Astor, the first female MP to take her seat, who rode pillion on Lawrence of Arabia’s motorbike.

Lady Sybil Colefax, an interior designer and loyal friend to Edward Vlll and Wallis Simpson.

Laura Corrigan, who sold jewellery to Hermann Goering to fund the French Resistance.

Lady Emerald Cunard, the scapegoat for the Abdication, who transformed the Arts scene.

Mrs Ronnie Greville, who holed up on the top floor of a London hotel as the Luftewaffe dropped bombs.

Lady Edith Londonderry, the founder of the Women’s Legion, with a snake tattoo on her ankle.

In the aftermath of the First World War, the previously strict hierarchies of the British class system were weakened. For a number of ambitious, spirited women, this was the chance they needed to slip through the cracks and take their place at the top of society as the great hostesses of the time. In an age when the place of women was uncertain, becoming a hostess was not a chore, but a career choice, and though some of the hostesses' backgrounds were surprisingly humble, their aspirations were anything but.

During the inter-war years these extraordinary women ruled over London society from their dining tables and salons - entertaining everyone from the Mosleys to the Mitfords, from millionaires to maharajahs, from film stars to royalty. Their influence can still be felt today.

Hachette NZ
RRP is $37.99

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