Book Review – The Fabulous Frances Farquharson

JoAdult Books, Books

Front over of The Fabulous Frances Farquharson

The Colourful Life of an American in the Highlands

About the book:

Taken from the book sleeve:

Born in 1902 in Seattle, Washington, Frances Lovell Oldham left her hometown in her early twenties to pursue a journalism career in Europe. At a time when women rarely found independent success, Frances transcended boundaries as a working woman in London, becoming fashion editor first at British Vogue then later at Harper’s Bazaar, when the magazines were expressively modernist in their design and output.

Her story is even more remarkable given she made a career comeback after fracturing her spine during a house fire that killed her first husband in 1933. At Harper’s Bazaar, she would raise the morale of British women during the Second World War, and embarked on a fearlesss trade mission to the United States to boost British exports. After marrying Captain Alwyne Farquharson, the 16th Laird of Invercauld, in 1949, Frances threw herself into life as the queen’s neighbour at Balmoral and brought glamour and eccentricity to the grouse moors of Deeside.

Drawing on interviews with Frances’ daughter and friends, and staff who once worked with her, as well as archival material and extracts from her own unpublished memoirs, The Fabulous Frances Farquharson offers a glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman and will not fail to fascinate and enthral.

Back cover of The Fabulous Frances Farquharson
Back cover

What did I think?

It is my absolute pleasure to bring you another book from Caroline Young. Once again, Young’s words fall beautifully onto the page, engaging the reader in this biography of Frances Farquharson. As we follow the life of Frances, from America through to the Highlands of Scotland, Young’s work perfectly interweaves historical facts. I learnt a lot from reading it! It was interesting in particular to consider changing fashions between the two world wars on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and also think about some of the challenges facing women who were coming of age in 1920s society.

There are a number of characters throughout the book which at times I found a little hard to keep up with, but that said the hours of research that must have been undertaken to write this book really stand out. The relationships between Francis and her father, daughter and husbands are clearly and carefully portrayed in a very respectful and loving manner.

Overall I consider that this is a fitting tribute to someone who seems somewhat forgotten, but had a large and passionate personality. Francis Farquharson certainly had a positive impact on her community in Scotland. Braemar Castle was passed over to the community by Alwyne Farquharson in 2006, and although it is currently closed for refurbishment it does follow the colourful life of clan members from the 1600s through to Frances and Alwyne.

Author bio

Author Caroline Young
Author Caroline Young

Caroline Young is a freelance writer and author specialising in fashion, pop culture and classic cinema. Other titles written by her include: Living with Coco Channel; Hitchcock Heroines; Style Tribes; and Roman Holiday: The Secret Life of Hollywood in Rome.

Originally from Edinburgh, where she still lives, Caroline has written for and featured in The Herald, Scotland on Sunday, I-On, Premier Living magazine, The Telegraph, and The Scotsman.

Website: Caroline Young

N.B. I have received a copy of The Fabulous Frances Farquharson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclosure page.