Last evening, we celebrated the publication of Sonia Melchett’s book “ From The Ganges To The Thames” at Daunt Books, Holland Park and here is my short address to mark the occasion.

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Distinguished guests, we are here assembled not only to celebrate the launch of Sonia’s latest book but also to pay tribute to a remarkable lady and a legendary hostess.

I first met Sonia when I became an enthusiastic publisher in 1976 who by and large was determined to glamorize the publishing world by throwing sumptuous parties to mark the importance of the written word, and to make publishing an excuse for the gathering of people of an intellectual and social prominence.

And at the top of Quartet’s invitation list was Sonia, who knew everybody, was a doyenne of sociability and a charming woman, loved by all those privileged to have made her acquaintance.

Years have passed, and suddenly her latest manuscript found its way to my office in Shepherd Market, which I read upon receipt and was of course delighted to publish it.

From the Ganges to the Thames is a book which I’m sure will have the critical acclaim it deserves. It chronicles Sonia’s dramatic journey from obscurity as a child of the empire to the considerable glamour of her later years.

The book sheds new light on her adventurous life, her family and her extensive travels across the globe, from Syria to Burma and beyond.

I need not go any further as to a summary of her achievements except suffice to say that her life was rich with adventures, which will enthral the reader, who will learn many a lesson from them.

Speeches are only of interest in their brevity. I will only urge everyone on this illustrious occasion to dip deep in their pockets and buy more than one copy of her book in order to spread the word that Sonia is a woman not only of one season but for all four.

Please pay her the tribute and reverence she truly merits.

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