Edwina Mountbatten: A Life of Her Own

Janet Morgan, Author Scribner Book Company $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19346-5
How a self-indulgent heiress transformed herself into a zealous, globe-hopping humanitarian is the crux of this vivacious, energetic biography. Edwina Astley wed Lord Louis (``Dickie'') Mountbatten in 1922 at the age of 20, then embarked on two decades of frivolity. Not satisfied having two well-behaved daughters and an ``enthusiastic boy'' of a husband, she took refuge in lovers and sparked scandals. When the German blitz hit London, Edwina Mountbatten worked in an ambulance brigade and proved herself a charismatic administrator. She organized relief teams in newly liberated Europe as well as rescue efforts to bring home prisoners held in Japanese camps. While her husband, appointed the last viceroy of India, hammered out the terms of India's independence and partition, she experienced a passionate union of souls with Nehru, the great unfulfilled love of her life. Morgan ( Agatha Christie ) had unique access to the hundreds of letters Edwina and Nehru wrote to each other until her death in 1960. She presents Edwina as a ``brittle, troubled'' woman but also as an audacious, independent voice critical of British neocolonialism and Cold War jingoism. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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