The Secret Life of the Savoy

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What to expect

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 will tell 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 will explore their rollercoaster 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 Ltd

Critics Review

  • 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
  • An elegantly crafted, yet spritely and sparkling book, perfectly befitting its subject. Williams uses group biography to beautifully illuminate some of London’s greatest hotel and theatre landmarks.

    Ophelia Field, author of The Favourite
  • A cracking good read and a fascinating story that – amazingly – has not been told before.

    Fiona Duncan, the Telegraph
  • A feast of gloriously eccentric and compelling characters… a veritable cornucopia of explanations and clarifications… endlessly compelling.

    Mike Leigh, director of Gilbert and Sullivan biopic 'Topsy-Turvy'
  • This is a fascinating story, and it could not be better told. Elegant, great fun, and with a finely-judged personal touch: much like the Savoy hotel itself.

    Laura Thompson, biographer of Agatha Christie and the Mitford Sisters
  • Williams writes with authority and style, making her ideal to chronicle the story of the Savoy.

    Richard Vines, Bloomberg

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