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The Real Beatrix Potter (Paperback)

Hobbies & Lifestyle Military > Biographies P&S History > Literary Figures P&S History > Social History Women of History

By Nadia Cohen
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 16 black and white
ISBN: 9781526752758
Published: 16th April 2020
Last Released: 25th June 2021


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The Real Beatrix Potter is a fascinating and revealing biography of one of the world's most cherished children's authors.

Beatrix Potter's famous little white books have enchanted generations of young readers who adored the characters she created and of course her own distinctive illustrations.

Born into a typically repressed Victorian family it was assumed that Beatrix would achieve little more than finding herself a rich husband, and so there was no point in bothering to educate her.

But the Potters underestimated their daughter. Stifled by the lack of stimulation, she educated herself in art, science, and of course a great love of the natural world.

The success of Peter Rabbit proved her to be creative genius who could have become the toast of the London literary scene, but when her fiancé tragically died Beatrix retreated to the Lake District where she reinvented herself as a successful farmer, a canny businesswoman and an early environmental pioneer.

Passionately campaigning to save the area from development she helped establish the National Trust, and despite her great wealth Beatrix lived out her days in humble anonymity.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a fascinating interesting read. This book is exceptionally well written.
Well worth a read for fans of Beatrix potter.
A great book.

NetGalley, Tracey Hewitt

Video review featured on Lil's Vintage World

Lil's Vintage World

This book in particular would make a wonderful present for friends and relatives.

Read the full review here

Lost Cousins

Listed in the ‘Cover to cover’ feature

Scottish Field, December 2020

Author Q&A part of the paper’s ‘Honest Truth’ feature

Sunday Post, 14th June 2020

Article: New book reveals ‘the real’ Beatrix Potter

The Westmorland Gazette – words by Savannah Nicholson

Article: 'Winchester University lecturer Nadia Cohen on Beatrix Potter

Hampshire Chronicle - words by Sam Hatherley

This was a good book. I learned a lot this beloved children's author that I didn't know. This book tells you about the life of Beatrix which is actually her middle name. She was a very lonely child even though she had a younger brother. She spent most of her youth in the family nursery with governesses.

She was different and her parents had a hard time understanding her. Even though she was brought up wealthy she didn't act like it and hated socializing. She had an interesting life and in the end left a legacy for us all besides her books.

She was a private person and loved the open country and learning new things. I gave this book 4 stars and recommend that you read this book to learn more about her.

NetGalley, Deborah Payne

Beatrix biography released

The Mail (Barrow & Furness) and News and Star (Carlisle), 26th May 2020

Nadia Cohen, who a couple of years treated us to the real Enid Blyton, now turns her attention to another of our treasured children's authors - Beatrix Potter. Sumptuously compiled, a great story, and a wonderful book.

Books Monthly

"I see no reason why common sense should not foster a healthier appreciation of beauty than morbid sentimentality."

"I just made stories to please myself, because I never grew up."


This biography tells the story of a rather privileged English girl's young life that was marred by boredom and inattention from her parents. Beatrix's imagination grew out of her circumstances, she was fascinated with the world and sought to learn about it in every way she could much to the chagrin of the society of the time.

She was a miniature biologist and her observations of flora and fauna as a child helped to inform the beloved characters of the stories we all know and love. I was surprised to hear about her forays into science and how she was turned away from contributing what would have been valuable scientific info simply because she was a woman without formal education.

Her penchant for journaling throughout her life left a rich set of notes so those of us reading about her later could truly get a sense of what was ticking through her mind. I'm absolutely amazed that she wrote such hopeful children's stories when she clearly was a frequently depressed person. She's exactly the type of person I find absolutely fascinating, curious and with a lust for learning that seemed infectious and yet wholly practical and shrewd in her desire for success. I love that she went from paying to be published in a small run to being inundated with fanmail and success. Her legacy that continues through The National Trust is just remarkable. She was a woman well beyond her time!

NetGalley, Dana Keane

Feminist, environmentalist and pricklier than Mrs Tiggy-Winkle .... meet the Real Beatrix Potter.

International Express 10/06/20

A wonderful intimate look at Beatrix Potters life.As a fan of hers I really enjoyed entering her real life story.Will be recommending this biography.

NetGalley, Abby Siverman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was an extremely interesting look into the life of Beatrix Potter. I've always loved the books and have recently bought the entire collection- just as a reminder of childhood. The film sparked my fascination with the life of the author and I found this book delved deep into her life. As with many children at the same time - she led a very sheltered life. But Beatrix was a very curious child who wanted to know more about the world she lived in and felt oppressed by a woman's place in this world.
She was very ahead of her time and longed to lead a more independent life- but as an unmarried girl was very much controlled by her parents well into adulthood. She kept an assortment of wild animals in her room that she studied carefully and were the inspiration for her early work. She wrote stories for friends childrens and eventually tried to get them published.
You read about the difficulties of a woman trying to break into the publishing world against her parents wishes.
She really was a woman ahead of her time. She had plenty of heartache- but also found great happiness in a more simple life when she broke away from her parents.
She was part of the great success that is the National Trust and showed a great understanding of the need to preserve places of great beauty- even though she initially bought her home in the Lake District as a holiday home.
I learnt a lot about her life and respect for her drive and the way that she forged a life for herself by working very hard.

NetGalley, Kim Feasey

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Beatrix Potter's name is synonymous with the tales she wrote about Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and many more. The characters she created are well-known around the world, but the author herself is more of a mystery. This book sets out to reveal the real Beatrix Potter.

I absolutely loved reading this. It's written in a very accessible style but has so much information and detail about the author and the inspiration for her creations. It seems she was a very intelligent and formidable woman, and it was fascinating to learn about her being so much more than the author we know. Personally I had little idea about her involvement with the National Trust and her work with the farming communities of the Lake District. I definitely recommend this to any fan of Beatrix Potter wanting to learn more.

NetGalley, Gayle Noble

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Children's books are treasures. When one picks up a book by Beatrix Potter, one picks up a book of happiness, beauty and the unique.

This book is about Beatrix's life. How she grew up and then how she lived.

What joy she brought us. Her drawings are amazing. I always was interested in how she colored the drawings. Now, learn about when she created her stories and how she managed her life.

A wonderful book! Pick it up! Then, pick up a few of her books for your children/grandchildren.

NetGalley, Judith Peterson

Having grown up reading Beatrix Potter's works (my favourites being Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher) I was quite excited when I saw a book about the author of all my beloved childhood tales. I have to admit, I hadn't given too much thought about the author when I was young but picking up this book I was excited to learn more about Beatrix's life.

I loved hearing about her early life and especially watching her curiousity and interest in the natural world develop. She seemed like an incredibly interesting child, whose perseverance and strong-will helped her to not only become a successful author and illustrator but an important figure in her community. I found this story to be incredibly inspirational and I was really fascinated reading about all of Potter's successes. I believe these books helped me to respect and love her works even more.

NetGalley, Maggie Fried

This book was a delightful introduction to the life of Beatrix Potter, creator of beloved characters including Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, and Benjamin Button.

It starts by discussing her lonely childhood and lack of formal education -- her parents didn't think it was worth it to educate a girl since her only job was to marry wealthy -- and then explains how she started inventing her characters, which started with Peter Rabbit, which she initially self-published. It also spends a lot of time on her passion for nature and conservation, and her important contribution to the National Trust, which is still evident today.

Beatrix Potter was a lot more than a children's book author and illustrator, and she made important contributions to her larger community for her entire life, and this book explores this in a way that doesn't drag on like some nonfiction books do. I've always enjoyed reading Beatrix Potter's books to my children, but I never really knew much about her and appreciated this opportunity to learn more.

NetGalley, Erin S

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The lives of female writers from the past often fascinate me. This also goes for Beatrix Potter. I cannot but love a good biography about someone whose work I grew up with!

NetGalley, Jantine Kampes-Schimmel

Beatrix Potter was born into the wealthy household of Rupert and Helen Potter (a lawyer and amateur photographer, and a heiress) to a stifling life of her parents' social ambitions. She wasn't allowed to have friends, so she turned to art, including highly detailed botanical sketches of fungi, and the clever drawings of small animals in letters to friends' children that became the basis for her "little books," the charming small volumes that became classics. Her first romance ended in tragedy; her second left her a happy, contented farmwife who preserved great tracts of land from developers.

Well told by Cohen. Contains an album of photographs of Potter, her homes, and land.

NetGalley, Linda Young

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a fascinating read of one of our most beloved author's . i enjoyed this book for its insights into her charcter, her independence and how she self educated herself during a repressed time for women.. The author covers her environmental advocacy, her purchase of the property in England to save for generations and how she fought the confines of a Victorian upbringing to become the formidable independent educated women she was. She was a great believer of creativity and solitude in nature that teaches the reader a appreciation of her great love of nature. i enjoyed this book so much. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. Review cross posted.

I highly recommend this book for all who adore and follow the life of one of history's most remarkable women.

NetGalley, Cozy Cat Reviews

I enjoyed this well written and well researched biography of a very talented lady. I was a huge Beatrix Potter fan growing up (weren't we all?) and I was fascinated by this insight into her life.

NetGalley, Suzanne Jones

Nadia Cohen's The Real Beatrix Potter is an informative and enjoyable biographical account of the life of one of the most loved children's authors of all time. Cohen carefully examines the struggles, heartaches, and triumphs B.P. experienced during her long life. Along with learning much about the subject's life, readers are also granted an understanding look into what life in Victorian England and the Industrial Revolution was like for some women, a look at the publishing industry during the time period, the formation of the National Trust, and the various aspects of farming that surrounded Beatrix Potter's later years interests.

NetGalley, Tiffany Thompson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As many did; I grew up with Beatrix Potter books. The simplicity and magic inside every page was wonderful.
Having the opportunity to read more about Beatrix Potter has left me awe inspired. This is one incredibly talented woman who overcame many obstacles.

Pick up this book and read it.

NetGalley, Natalie Lonsdale

I never really wondered about Beatrix Potter, I knew she wrote and illustrated books such as Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck, but never gave the author a thought.

However, this book was fascinating - covering the unhappy childhood of an extremely bright Beatrix, her relationship with her controlling parents, her difficult personal life and her final freedom in the Lake District. The philanthropic Potter was a huge supporter and contributed to the newly-formed National Trust and, whilst she didn't believe in suffrage and would never have considered herself a feminist, she certainly shunned the conventional life expected of her, instead becoming a famous author and a business woman.

NetGalley, Jo Young

What an intriguing story about the woman who penned such magical stories that intrigued both children and adults alike throughout the world and still does so! Coming out from under the thumbs of domineering parents, Ms Potter made an impact on the English countryside to an extent that many may not know about... It was wonderful reading about the unconventional woman behind the books.

NetGalley, Flora Fung

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Real Beatrix Potter is an absolutely fascinating read. I loved learning more about this remarkable woman. I highly recommend this great book.

NetGalley, Jessica Murdock

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What an honour it was to read about a lady we have all grown up knowing about and her Fantastically beautifully presented books.
It was like stepping into the past and living the often lonely life of this OUTSTANDING Author it was intriguing and whimsical in many parts sheet hard work and determination were her solicitude one remarkable lady I just loved everything about this book.

NetGalley, Jeanie Mckinlay

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

WoW..........Wishes to come true...........Now, who doesn't love Beatrix Potter characters - Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Benjamin Bunny when you were growing up?...............I know I did and I still have all the books this day. So when this book The Real Beatrix Potter by Nadia Cohen I just wanted to learn more about the wonderful person who created these magical characters we all grew up and loved! and still do.

This book is a biography of one of the world's most loved children's author to this day. I am so glad this book has been written about Beatrix Potter so we can learn more about her. This book it vert detailed about her life and has photo's that have never been shown before of her home, inside her home, etc which I found very interesting just like this wonderful book.

I highly recommend this book.......You will bot be disappointed. I loved it

NetGalley, Nessa Thompson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Real Beatrix Potter by Nadia Cohen is a fascinating insight into one of the world’s best known and loved children’s author. Beatrix Potter was so much more than just a famous author. She was a woman ahead of her time, caring little for the fashionable drawing rooms of Kensington and preferring the rugged outdoors of her beloved Lake District... Thank you Nadia Cohen for a fascinating look into a favourite and much loved children’s author.

NetGalley, Julia Wilson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was a great book for those who are interested in learning about a remarkable woman.

NetGalley, Michael Petkus

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This biography covers the life of one of the most famous children’s authors of all time, Beatrix Potter. We meet her in her latch key childhood and say goodbye to her on her deathbed at her famous Hill Top Farm. This book does a great job at telling the story of her life, helping the reader to learn more about this extraordinary woman... I think Beatrix Potter has now become of one of my favourite women in history. I think her life is a lesson for us all, that we should pursue what we love even if society disagrees, and use it to make a difference in the world.

NetGalley, Tanja Flanjak

I found this to be an absolutely fascinating read and was engrossed by Beatrix Potter's life. I think this will be one of the best biographies in 2020. Will be recommending it highly in my library.

NetGalley, Sinead Noonan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to read this very special book. Author Susan Branch and a special cousin opened my door into the lovely world of Beatrix Potter, but I knew so little. Along came this refreshing biography and I just can't get enough. From misunderstood shy child of a wealthy family to financial freedom from her published works, Beatrix became her own person. Author, landowner, landlord, neighbor, shepherdess, wife..she was all this and more. My interest was held from the first to the last page. Bravo!

NetGalley, Donna Pingry

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received "The Real Beatrix Potter" as an ARC, in exchange for honest opinion and boy am I eternally grateful for the opportunity to read this book. As an avid fan of all things Beatrix Potter this book is now my number one favorite. It is very well written and adds some information to the life of Beatrix Potter I was not aware existed. It is interesting to see how many obstacles she had to overcome to get to where she finally felt valued.

I loved to see her perseverance above all. I am so thrilled to read about such a pioneer. As I continued to collect all things "Beatrix Potter" and her lovable characters I am definitely adding this to my collection.

This book is a must in your library. I highly recommend it for young and old! I give this a 5 star rating - higher if available.

NetGalley, Ily Renfroe
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About Nadia Cohen

Nadia Cohen is an entertainment journalist who has worked at a number of national newspapers and magazines including Grazia and the Daily Mail. As a show-business correspondent she covered film festivals, premieres and award ceremonies around the world. Nadia was headhunted for the launch of a new American magazine, In Touch Weekly, and spent several years living and working in New York. She now lives in London and juggles family life with writing contemporary and historical biographies.

Born on this day - Beatrix Potter

28th July 1866

Author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist; best known for her children’s books featuring Peter Rabbit. Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, etc.

Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is published

2nd October 1902

Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is published by Frederick Warne & Co. in London

Author Beatrix Potter (47) weds solicitor William Heelis at St Mary Abbots in Kensington, London

15th October 1913

Author Beatrix Potter (47) weds solicitor William Heelis at St Mary Abbots in Kensington, London

Died on this day - Beatrix Potter

22nd December 1943

Author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist; best known for her children’s books featuring Peter Rabbit. Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, etc.

View all events View all anniversaries

Perfect Partner

Beatrix Potter Her Inner World (Paperback)

Even before she emerged from the cot in her nursery, Beatrix Potter was up against it. With her prodigious memory she recalled being placed 'under the tyranny of a cross old nurse' who introduced her to 'witches, fairies and the creed of the terrible John Calvin'. More sadness followed. She had no siblings of her own age and was brought up, virtually, in isolation. She also had a love affair that ended tragically. She was afflicted by two most unpleasant illnesses – one of which affected her for the remainder of her life – and she found herself often at odds with her mother. Yet, she grew…

By Andrew Norman

Click here to buy both titles for £22.48
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