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Nicole Nobody [Hardcover]

Duchess of Bedford
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 377 pages
  • Publisher: W.H. Allen; 1st edition (27 Mar 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0491014724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0491014724
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,023,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outspoken Duchess 3 April 2005
Format:Paperback
Nicole became the Duchess of Bedford, wife of the Duke who wrote his own memoirs, A Silver-Plated Spoon. This books charts how she ended up in that role.
Nicole was born into a French family which was a mixture, through her parents, of the haut-bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. Her childhood was largely spent in chateaux and amid the haut-monde in general.
When 1940 came, the German troops occupied Paris and the North, together with the coastal regions of the country. Nicole was living to the north of Paris, within cycling distance. The German troops appear to have been exceptionally polite most of the time; indeed, Nicole became the victim of a whispering campaign when a young German soldier came on a bicycle with a bouquet of flowers. In fact, he was just looking for a family with whom he had stayed as a student. Nicole joined the "Resistance", at least notionally. She noted how plays by people like Sartre were put on in Paris, with part of the audience Wehrmacht officers and their ladies! After the Normandy landings, the Germans withdrew. Nicole was pulled off her bicycle by a group of about twenty American soldiers, stripped and almost raped, saved only by a group of local farmworkers armed with pitchforks. A nice comment on the "Liberators"...
After the war, Nicole entered the world of fashion and design, often visiting London and Manchester. During one Mancunian visit, an extraordinary event occurred: a strange man entered her hotel room against all protests and struggles, said not a word-- and raped her. That alone would be a striking and unusual thing to have had happen; the more amazing aspect is that Nicole writes that she gave into the experience and more than liked it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Autobiography 5 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover
The two previous reviewers obviously read a different book than I did.
Almost 40 years ago I read this memoir for the first time and was enchanted by the Duchess' exciting life long before she married her Duke and took care together with her husband of the famous Wildlife Park on the grounds of the castle.
A few years ago I read her autobiography again and for me it stood the test of time.

BTW the Children's Film Foundation (CFF) made a suspenseful movie for kids in 1957 called "Five Clues to Fortune" aka "The Treasure at Woburn Abbey" which has been filmed in and around the castle. This was and still is one of the best CFF movies. I watched it in the mid 60's on German TV and a few days ago once more, because the DVD is now available at amazon.de with the original English track and the German dubbing:

http://www.amazon.de/Geheimsache-f%C3%BCnf/dp/B00H7O26TA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1391635357&sr=1-1&keywords=geheimsache+f%C3%BCnf

The shipping to the US is only 3 , but you need a multi-regional DVD player, for instance one by Pioneer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mille et un airs 2 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
This is indeed a fascinating book, not least because of the insights the author gives about wartime France and later the running of the Woburn estate, not to mention the personal lives of people she meets in this epic of name-dropping. But one has to turn off one's critical sense concerning the style. It must rank as one of the most badly written books in the English language, but I couldn't put it down!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a woman! 13 Jun 2011
By Lola Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Nicole Nobody (Nicole Milinaire, Nicole Russell the Duchess of Bedford)

A fast-paced account of this charismatic woman's life. What makes some people so interesting and yes, dazzling? Is it a blessing or a curse? It all depends on your point of view, I guess.

I enjoy reading biographies of people who accomplish things in their life. Not just showpieces, not just fluff. Not someone who stands around looking good because their stylist picked something suitable that day. People with guts, people with intelligence, people with wit. This lady, although born into privilege, was a hard worker and suffered greatly during World War II. And get a load of this experience that she had in France during the end of the war: (translated from the French)

"About thirty American soldiers were heading toward me. They were the first Americans I had seen in my life and they were consistent with the idea I held of them: tall Texas Rangers, tanned and robust. They were the "shock" troops, who led the American advance. But they were wild, so much so that they had to impose a curfew on them, especially in Paris.

Two of them seized my bicycle and began to act like idiots. Others were dragging me into the grass and began to undress me. I fought tooth and nail, throwing punches and kicking and screaming. I was almost naked and all of my hairpins fell out when a band of farmers came armed with clubs. Their blows drove away the military men who abandoned the field with bursts of laughter and happily set out again for the reconquering of Paris.

I resumed my journey towards the capital, wondering about these extraordinary people who were willing to stop in the middle of a war for a girl."

Well, that gives you some idea of the gumption this woman had and also how she took life in stride. She was an excellent mother, she was faithful to her husband and supported him in every project (not always easy) and she did some amazing things in television long before any woman had put a foot in the door.

If you want some good reading from an intelligent, accomplished woman, this is the book for you.
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