Natalie and Romaine met in London during World War I and their partnership lasted until Natalie died 52 years later. They were both American expatriates; unconventional, energetic, flamboyant and rich. Natalie was known as 'the wild girl of Cincinnatti'. She had numerous affairs with other women: Renee Vivien who nailed shut the windows of her apartment, wrote about the loveliness of death, drank eau de cologne and died of anorexia aged 30; and Dolly Wilde niece of Oscar, who ran up terrible phone bills and died of a drugs overdose. She wrote books of aphorism, memoirs and poems and her Friday afternoon salons in the cobbled garden of her Parisian house were for 'introductions and culture'. They were frequented by Gertrude Stein, Colette, Radclyffe Hall and Edith Sitwell. Romaine achieved fame in her own lifetime and after as an artist. She painted her lovers including Gabriele d'Annunzio with whom she had a terrible and tortured relationship, and the ballerina Ida Rubinstein. However her relationship with Natalie was constant and in their eventful years together they threw up a liberating spirit of culture, style and candour.
Diana Souhami has written a moving portrait of these two enigmatic figures, as well as a fascinating recreation of a forgotten time.
Diana Souhami is the author of many widely acclaimed books. She has also written plays for radio and television.