The Shadows of Elisa Lynch: How a Nineteenth-Century Irish Courtesan Became the Most Powerful Woman in Paraguay

Front Cover
Review, 2004 - Dictators' spouses - 352 pages
2 Reviews

Long before Eva Perón turned Argentina upside down, Elisa Lynch brought Paraguay to its knees.

In 1854, an ambitious Irish courtesan met a South American General in Paris and returned with him to Paraguay. When he became President, she became his de facto first lady and together they changed the course of the country's history. Consumed by desire for Napoleonic glory, General President López took Paraguay into a disastrous war against her neighbours. Elisa Lynch went with him on campaign, turning conditions of war to her advantage where she could. He was killed in the northern hills but she survived, only to be expelled from Paraguay and die an obscure death in Paris.

Reviled and respected, loved and distrusted, Elisa Lynch has been described as both a heroic companion to López and a malign enchantress. In The Shadows of Elisa Lynch, Siân Rees tells her fascinating story of recovered history.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: The Shadows of Elisa Lynch: How a Nineteenth Century Irish Courtesan Became the Most Powerful Woman in Paraguay

User Review  - Harriet - Goodreads

An intriguing premise but I suspect that the research materials did not yield the story that the title suggests. Elisa Lynch remains a shadowy figure, and not a very sympathetic one. It covers an ... Read full review

Review: The Shadows of Elisa Lynch: How a Nineteenth Century Irish Courtesan Became the Most Powerful Woman in Paraguay

User Review  - John Scott - Goodreads

The War Of The Triple Alliance is an area of South American history that has received not as much attention in the English speaking world as it should have. I would say that this book alone would not ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

Siân Rees has a degree in history from Oxford University. The bestselling work of narrative non-fiction The Floating Brothel was her first book.

Bibliographic information