Barbara Cartland fans, take note of the legend behind the legend: a free-floating spirit jumping from diary snippet to diary snippet and meditating on the wonders of a ""world behind the world."" Cartland had a spiritualist's sense of something deeply interfused in nature--complete with ghosts, reincarnation, and ancient curses--decades before it was the vogue. These chronologically arranged extracts of particularly clairvoyant moments span the 70 years between 1907 and 1977 to provide a bird's-eye view of Cartland's emotional, rather than professional, life. Her devotion to and loss of her dashing hero brothers, a mother as pure and good as any of her heroines--and yes, even the occasional bittersweet love affair, form the backdrop for Cartland's pursuit of an ""esoteric meaning in everything. . . wherever I go."" Famous names and glamorous activities are absent. From haunted houses to a religiously fervid India, Cartland draws on and makes characters of the places with ""atmosphere,"" the accumulated life force of the people who have inhabited them. Despite its fragmented appearance, the book has a texture, theme, and tone which are curiously constant. Like her literally hundreds of romances, it knows exactly how to play cat-and-mouse with a cliche to tap it home.