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“To know the Verneys is to know the seventeenth century,” writes author Adrian Tinniswood in his brilliant—and true—family saga. That’s because the Verneys had a centuries-long practice of keeping all their family papers intact (some 100,000 pages of family letters, wills, inventories, legal papers, estate documents) as a record of the era. Given exclusive access to this treasure trove of information, Tinniswood pieces together their life stories, creating a sweeping and tangled family portrait.
The Verneys seem almost ubiquitous; members of the family could be found fighting in France and the Netherlands, joining the fledgling colony in Virginia, and fighting in Scotland for the English royal army. Their personal stories are intriguing: a pirate plying the Barbary Coast; a courtier at the court of Charles I; an impoverished aunt with a gambling habit. “Some were kind and highly principled,” writes Tinniswood, “others were cheats and robbers. Some married for money; other died for love.”
Just as Inside the Victorian Home took you on a marvelous tour of how Victorian era people really lived, The Verneys allows readers to experience the turmoil of 17th-century England, Europe, and America through the extraordinary stories of one remarkable family.
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