Released on 26 March 2015.

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A Curious Friendship

The Story of a Bluestocking and a Bright Young Thing

4.11 based on 40 ratings & 11 reviews on


The winter of 1924: Edith Olivier, alone for the first time at the age of fifty-one, thought her life had come to an end. For Rex Whistler, a nineteen-year-old art student, life was just beginning. Together, they embarked on an intimate and unlikely friendship that would transform their lives. Gradually Edith's world opened up and she became a writer. Her home, the Daye House, in a wooded corner of the Wilton estate, became a sanctuary for Whistler and the other brilliant and beautiful younger men of her circle: among them Siegfried Sassoon, Stephen Tennant, William Walton, John Betjeman, the Sitwells and Cecil Beaton - for whom she was 'all the muses'.

Set against a backdrop of the madcap parties of the 1920s, the sophistication of the 1930s and the drama and austerity of the Second World War and with an extraordinary cast of friends and acquaintances, Anna Thomasson brings to life, for the first time, the fascinating, and curious, friendship of a bluestocking and a bright young thing.

In the media

Thoroughly researched, with elegant prose and a glittering cast of characters, Thomasson's account merges Victorian sensibilities with the raucous Jazz Age, giving the reader the best of both worlds.
The Lady
A Curious Friendship tells the story of Rex Whistler and Edith Olivier with haunting novelistic intensity - a remarkable first book.
Observer Best Books of 2015

Reverent and sympathetic, and often fascinating