Diana was the granddaughter of the Pre-Raphaelite painter, William Holman-Hunt, and the great-niece of Millais. A more interesting lineage than most, and one which provided her a more rarefied childhood than most.
Rarefied, not necessarily happy. She was abandoned into the care of these grandmothers by a childish, selfish father, who does suddenly appear from governing the Empire, and rescue her from the boarding school at which she was desperately unhappy–then vanishes again. Her paternal grandmother was entirely selfish, and stingy to a psychopatic degree, dissolving into tears when money was demanded of her, so that Diana often lets her off. Her other grandmother was too absorbed in her pleasant country life to take much notice of Diana.
But notice things Diana did, and little of Edwardian country life, or her grandmother’s manipulations, pretensions and little stinginesses escapes her eagle eye.
Though she escaped somehow, not unscarred, but free.
Her memoir is written in little vignettes, building up detail by detail, through significant and well-remembered episodes. Its construction is brilliant–a memoir that reads as charmingly as a novel!