By William Fiennes
William, my cousin was brought up in an amazing place called Broughton Castle, which has been in his family for generations. In this memoir, he shares amazing observations about the house, which is stuffed with history going back to Oliver Cromwell. I get a real joy from Will's brilliant, delicate observations. But what I love is getting to know his wonderful, fresh, vigorous but scary older brother Richard, who suffered from severe epilepsy. The book is essentially Will's conversation with Richard, who, sadly, passed away a number of years ago. The story begins in a nearby chapel, with a visiting preacher striking a match and talking about light. And as that light is burning, you realize this is about the life of someone really significant, and that this life will eventually burn out.
A last word: The last time that I properly visited Broughton Castle was when I was doing the movie Shakespeare in Love, part of which was shot there, and I stayed the night while we were filming. It is a magical place.