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"The Victorian Elliots in Peace and War" is a remarkable book. Five years in the writing, it has clearly been a labour of love for author John Evans. The book is subtitled "Lord and Lady Minto, their family and household between 1816 and 1901." What you find between the covers is the story of an important aristocratic family with extensive roots in the County of Roxburgh, in the Scottish Borders. Family members who are covered in depth within the book include the 1st and 2nd Earls of Minto, and the latter's wife, the Countess of Minto, and their many children.
The family divided their time between Minto House, close to the River Teviot between Hawick and Jedburgh, their town house in London's exclusive Eaton Square, and much of the rest of the planet. Bringing together their biographies within a single volume allows the reader an insight into the very different world of the Victorian era: a world which subsequently briefly flowered into the Edwardian age before coming to an appalling halt with the Great War, after which nothing would ever be the same again, especially for the British aristocracy.
The Elliots played an important part in Scottish and UK affairs. The 2nd Earl of Minto served as British Ambassador to Berlin in the 1830s, and later became Lord Privy Seal in the government led by his son-in-law, Lord John Russell. The 2nd Earl and the Countess had five daughters, four of whom between them married a diplomat, an army officer, a politician who later became Prime Minister, and another politician who didn't. The five sons who survived childhood also followed diverse paths. The eldest, William, became the 3rd Earl of Minto and found his way into politics; Henry became a diplomat; Gilbert rose to become a lieutenant colonel in the army before his early death; Charles served as an admiral; and George became a lawyer.
You emerge from "The Victorian Elliots" with a sense of awe at the scale of the task undertaken by the author in producing it, and the success with which he has done so. The result is a book which draws together a huge amount of original research, and which will in future be an essential port of call for anyone with any interest in the family or its considerable impact on Britain, and the world more widely, during this period.