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A Family Romance, John Rickard


A Family Romance


John Rickard



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A Family Romance is the story of the family of Alfred Deakin, Australia’s first elected Prime Minister. In this intriguing book, John Rickard explores the complex web of relationships between Alfred, his wife Pattie, and his sister Catherine.

The Deakin ‘family romance’ is permeated by the influence of spiritualism which, in extraordinary circumstances, brought Alfred and Pattie together, and which was to haunt their marriage.

It is a tale which, with its Gothic overtones, has the character of a novel, but which, in its telling, poses questions about the nature of biography. How can we bring to life the emotional world inhabited by such a family—or must that territory be conceded to the novelist?

John Rickard beautifully evokes the life of a middle-class Australian family at the turn of the century, and gives us the untold story behind the public achievements of great man.



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  • A Family Romance

  • ISBN: 9780522847406
    Published: 31/10/1992
    Imprint: Melbourne University Press