Witty, charming, irreverent and irresistible, these are the diaries of Elizabeth - hopeless host, inattentive wife, absent mistress, devoted gardener (though she'll never be seen with a shovel) and wholehearted lover of the great outdoors.
Elizabeth von Arnim was born on 31 August 1866 in Australia. She was cousin to the writer Katherine Mansfield. In 1890 she married her first husband, Count Henning August von Arnim-Schlagenthin, a Prussian aristocrat, with whom she had five children. Elizabeth and her German Garden, published anonymously in 1898, was a barely fictionalised account of Elizabeth's life and the creation of her garden at the family home of Nassenheide in Pomerania, where Hugh Walpole and E. M. Forster were tutors to her children. Its instant success was followed by many more novels, including Vera (1921) and The Enchanted April (1922), and another almost-autobiography, All the Dogs of My Life (1936). She separated from Count von Arnim in 1908, and after his death two years later she built a house in Switzerland, marrying John Francis Stanley Russell in 1916. This marriage also ended in separation in 1919 when Elizabeth moved to America, where she died on 9 February 1941, aged 74.
An extraordinary piece of work...it has a freshness, a freakish
charm, an irrepressible energy -- Elizabeth Jane Howard
A gem of a book: rare, simple, innocent and charming -- Susan Hill
Unusual in the way that the sympathetic female narrator either cheerfully disregarded or, more often than not, gently mocked her husband and family. The book was a wild success and by 1899 it had run through 21 editions. * Independent *
A witty tale about marrying a richer, older man and finding liberation from a stifling world of elitism through gardening. It was a risky tale for its time, and still feels modern on both love and the garden. * Guardian *
Delightful * Evening Standard *