Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Front Cover
Modern Library, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 456 pages
285 Reviews
The winner of Britain's prestigious Whitbread Prize and a bestseller there for months, this wonderfully readable biography offers a rich, rollicking picture of late-eighteenth-century British aristocracy and the intimate story of a woman who for a time was its undisputed leader.

Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774, at the age of seventeen, Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying one of England's richest and most influential aristocrats, the Duke of Devonshire. Launched into a world of wealth and power, she quickly became the queen of fashionable society, adored by the Prince of Wales, a dear friend of Marie-Antoinette, and leader of the most important salon of her time. Not content with the role of society hostess, she used her connections to enter politics, eventually becoming more influential than most of the men who held office.

Her good works and social exploits made her loved by the multitudes, but Georgiana's public success, like Diana's, concealed a personal life that was fraught with suffering. The Duke of Devonshire was unimpressed by his wife's legendary charms, preferring instead those of her closest friend, a woman with whom Georgiana herself was rumored to be on intimate terms. For over twenty years, the three lived together in a jealous and uneasy ménage à trois, during which time both women bore the Duke's children—as well as those of other men.

Foreman's descriptions of Georgiana's uncontrollable gambling, all- night drinking, drug taking, and love affairs with the leading politicians of the day give us fascinating insight into the lives of the British aristocracy in the era of the madness of King George III, the American and French revolutions, and the defeat of Napoleon.

A gifted young historian whom critics are already likening to Antonia Fraser, Amanda Foreman draws on a wealth of fresh research and writes colorfully and penetratingly about the fascinating Georgiana, whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.
  

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5 stars
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4 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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Incredibly well-researched and engaging. - Goodreads
The writing is mediocre. - Goodreads
A really vivid portrayal of Georgiana. - Goodreads
Very easy to read too. - Goodreads
Chock full of insight and made me weep for the Duchess! - Goodreads
This is very well researched. - Goodreads

Review: Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

User Review  - Sha'ron - Goodreads

Excellent depiction of politics and British aristocrats in the 1700s/1800s. It read like a novel and not padded with dates that would make one 'stumble' through a historical novel. Read full review

Review: Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

User Review  - Belli - Goodreads

This is really beautiful. Even in the top, you suffer because of the male dominated society Read full review

Contents

1757774
3
17741776
21
17761778
43
17781781
61
17801782
83
17821783
95
1783
108
17831784
117
17901791
240
17911793
258
17941796
276
1796
290
17961799
296
18001801
317
18011802
330
18031804
346

1784
133
17841786
155
1787
182
1788
192
17881789
204
17891790
223
18041806
357
Epilogue
372
Notes
387
Sekct Bibliography 423
422
Iroup iuiilv
455
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Foreman was born in London. She was educated at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, and Oxford University, where she received a Ph.D. in history.

Bibliographic information