LITERARY LIVES

Discovering the Original Gossip Girl

Blair, Serena, the Upper East Side? Gossip Girl has nothing on the frolics and affairs of the 1920s and ‘30s British upper class, writes Michael Korda. The New York Times bestselling author hails the new book The Bolter by Frances Osborne as “brilliant and utterly divine” and “full of charming details and wonderfully good stories about old scandals.” Real-life writer Nancy Mitford’s character The Bolter was based on Idina Sackville, a “diminutive, bird-like, perfectly couturiered, glamorous late-Edwardian belle” and great-grandmother to Frances Osborne, and she comes to life in this detailed novel full of sex and glamour. It’s easy—and perhaps necessary—to escape to a time when wearing your best jewelry, keeping your hair blond, and telling scandalous stories were all that were needed to remain respected in life.