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 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth Duke of Devonshire, one of England's richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana's public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day.
With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman 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.
©2016 Amanda Foreman (P)2016 Random House Audio
"Georgiana bursts from the pages of Amanda Foreman's dazzling biography like the force of nature she undoubtedly was - passionate, political, addicted to gambling, and drunk on life. This is a stunning book about an astonishing woman." (Simon Schama)
"Biography at its best...seamlessly merges a life and its times, capturing not just an individual but an age." (The New York Times Book Review )
"Riveting...marvelously diverting." (The New Yorker)
"I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way." - Jane Austen
The story of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire is inspirational at times, tragic at times, and chock-full of juicy gossip. I enjoyed learning about this fascinating woman and her crazy social circle.
Amanda Foreman’s knowledge is mesmerizing, and Wanda McCaddon’s narration is equally as engaging. McCaddon even uses character voices to read the many letters in the book!
As you will notice from the book cover, the 2008 movie, The Duchess, with Keira Knightley was based on this biography. I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie, but have now learned after listening to the book that the film is riddled with historical blunders. It doesn’t nearly do justice to the complexity of Georgiana’s rich life.
If you like this biography and time period, I would highly recommend listening to the novel Evelina by Frances Burney next.
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