They burst upon the theatrical and movie-going world as individuals with talent, charisma, and sheer brilliance. Each member of the Redgrave family brought to life a combination of their rare gifts, even as each of them had their share of flaws and troubles.

Beginning with Michael Redgrave, The Redgraves: A Family Epic chronicles the personal and public lives of each of them, and takes the reader from Michael’s birth to the lives of descendants in the year 2012.

Michael and his wife Rachel had an unconventional relationship, but the marriage lasted until their deaths. Michael’s issues with sexuality were mostly hidden due to society’s taboos.

Vanessa, Corin, and Lynn were the talented progeny who each showed early signs of the famous talents of their parents.

Political views and actions were also brought into the mix, especially with Vanessa and Corin protesting various wars over the years, and the ramifications of these actions were shared with the reader.

The next generation included Vanessa’s children Natasha and Joely Richardson, as well as Corin’s daughter Jemma.

Narrated in a somewhat dry style, with mostly facts detailing theatrical and movie productions and various marriages and liaisons, the book left me feeling as if I had entered a classroom where a professor told, rather than showed me, what I had hoped to learn. I was delighted to learn more about this fabulous family, but the narrative didn’t work for me. Three stars.


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