KATHRYN HUGHES

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - BOOKS -

Just oc­ca­sion­ally a book comes along that leaves you breath­less with plea­sure, ad­mi­ra­tion and a dash of envy too. The Last Land­lady is Laura Thomp­son’s exquisitely ob­served and bril­liantly writ­ten mem­oir of the life and times of her grand­mother, the first woman in Eng­land to hold a pub li­cence in her own right.

For decades the mag­nif­i­cent Vi­o­let (a young ‘Vi’ pic­tured right) – hair fluffed up at Har­rods, scar­let lips cour­tesy of Estée Lauder, and a dash of leopard-skin some­where about her per­son – presided over a Home Coun­ties pub serv­ing lo­cal farm­ers, trades­men and the oc­ca­sional ‘had Kash­mir

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