“Life is divided between books read and books to be read. It’s reassuring.
Whatever happens in life, there’s always this comfort – books.”
Our pick for this first read is ‘The Secret Life of the Savoy’.
The story of the Savoy Hotel’s founders, through a century of luxury.
“For The Gondoliers-themed birthday dinner, the hotel obligingly flooded the courtyard to conjure the Grand Canal of Venice. Dinner was served on a silk-lined floating gondola, real swans were swimming in the water, and as a final flourish, a baby elephant borrowed from London Zoo pulled a five-foot high birthday cake.”
In 1889, Victorian Impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte, opened The Savoy. Britain’s first luxury hotel.
Allowing the rich to live like royalty, it attracted glamour, scandal and a cast of eccentric characters, with the D’Oyly Carte family elevated to a unique vantage point on high society.
‘The Secret Life of the Savoy’ tells their story through three generations : Richard [the founder, who died in the same year as Queen Victoria], Rupert [ a moderniser who saw the hotel through two world wars and the roaring twenties], and Bridget [ a Queen-like figure who was one of mid-20th century Britain’s wealthiest women].
The book explores their roller-coaster achievements, lifestyles and private lives, through the prism of this iconic hotel and its many distinguished guests – from Oscar Wilde to the Beatles.
[P]2020 Headline Publishing Group.
A thoroughly entertaining account of some of London’s most treasured history, with its beloved, The Savoy at the heart of a fascinating and delightful plot. Bravo to Olivia Williams and her fantastically colourful cast of characters.
Lady Kinvara Balfour, director and producer
A new book by Olivia Williams is to be welcomed as a reminder that “at their height”, the D’Oyly Cartes ranked as “the great impresarios and hoteliers in the world” – as dynamic, innovative and powerful in their way as any of today’s media dynasties.