All Passion Spent (1931)

by Vera Sackville-West

All Passion Spent is a joyous, funny, and moving book. Lady Deborah Slane was always subordinate to her statesman husband, a former UK prime minister, and when he dies, her children expect to decide her future. But 88-year-old Lady Slane demonstrates a new assertiveness, renting a house in then-sleepy Hampstead. Ruminating on her life, Lady Slane feels wistful about the artistic aspirations she set aside to become a wife and mother. Although she doesnít take up painting again, she makes new friends who expect nothing of her. Happily independent and unencumbered, doing just as she pleases, Lady Slane is testimony that a person can discover her true self at any age.

Author Vita Sackville-West was a diplomatís wife, but unlike her creation, she stayed home to pursue her writing career rather than accompany her husband abroad. She was a friend and lover of Virginia Woolf, who based the protagonist of Orlando on her.


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