Customer Reviews


82 Reviews
5 star:
 (36)
4 star:
 (30)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History made palatable
I would probably not have chosen this title myself as something I would enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised. Recently passed on to me by my daughter when she was clearing her bookshelves, this is history made palatable. Originally published in 1998 as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, it has now been republished because of the recent film. Prior to reading this I only...
Published on 24 Aug. 2009 by LindyLouMac

versus
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amanda Foreman, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire
Amanda Foreman - Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire

This book reflects the life of Georgiana, the duchess of Devonshire. Lady Georgiana Spencer married the Duke of Devonshire in a very young age, and by that she became the duchess of Devonshire. The story takes place in the aristocratic Britain during the 18th century. Georgiana was one of the first women in the...
Published on 10 Dec. 2010 by Ellinor Andersson


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History made palatable, 24 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Duchess (Paperback)
I would probably not have chosen this title myself as something I would enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised. Recently passed on to me by my daughter when she was clearing her bookshelves, this is history made palatable. Originally published in 1998 as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, it has now been republished because of the recent film. Prior to reading this I only knew the very basic facts about her, mainly that she was like her descendant Diana, Princess of Wales publicly loved and personally very troubled.

A fascinating account and although normally I would not want to do so after reading the book, I would actually now like to see the film `The Duchess' and will be looking out to either hire the DVD or wait for it to appear on television.
Through the study of letters Amanda Foreman has managed to create for her readers a vivid portrayal of the life Georgiana lived as a young wife with a much older husband, whose mistress she was expected to accept. What a strange life they all seemed to live surrounded by scandals both at home and in politics. Georgiana herself succumbed to addiction and incurred huge gambling debts, from a very young age. She was also ill-fated to never be happy in love but she never lost sight of the fact that her children were the single most important factor in her life, she adored them. I found there were a number of comparisons to be made with the life of her descendant who was born just over two hundred years after her!

From what I have heard and read about the film I think having read this first will give me a much greater insight and understanding to the broader historical background.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhaustively researched yet highly accessible book, 9 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Paperback)
I found this absolutely compelling; I simply couldn't put it down. I found the politcal angle paticularly absorbing; the extra juice was just an added bonus! I also loved how Foreman points the reader to the ironies which pepper Georgina's life.It's really got me hooked on 18thc social and political history. I'm lucky enough to have a history degree, but this book is so accessible you don't need one; Foreman just guides through giving you all extra info without sounding patronising. This has to be the best researched biography I've read... if only my academic reading was as fun.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, 7 May 2008
This review is from: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Paperback)
I have given this review 5 stars because I think the book is well researched and an engaging read. It easily moves through the early life of the duchess (who originates in the Spencer family) and her movement through 'the ton'. The author clearly highlights the role of a women in the regency type period - feminism was unheard of and yet here we have a woman influencing politics and refusing to be constrained by her gender. The only negative comment I can make (and this is not a reflection on the book at all) is that I am not sure that I would like Georgiana very much and whilst I have sympathy for her loveless marriage, I find it hard to find empathy for a woman who lived in to such excess when many women of the era would have been grateful for a fragment of the fortune she had.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that doesn't talk down to its readers, 28 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Paperback)
I often feel that books aimed at the general reader, ie, someone like me who did not go to university, assume that we are all thickwits who can't tell the difference between good and bad writing. The one thing I loved about Georgiana is that the book has all the quality of academic history while at the same time being very entertaining. Although at times I had to concentrate really hard on a lot of unfamiliar information, I also felt I was getting the real thing. I loved this book and I am now looking for others just like it. I never had a chance to learn about history when I was younger but it seems to me that it's possible to make up for it when authors such as Amanda Foreman write books that are for everybody. Having read this book, I know that I can at least talk about women in the eighteenth century and not sound completely ignorant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a pleasure!, 1 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
This book has held me mesmerized for many days. It is not just an account of the life of the extraordinary Duchess of Devonshire but also a wonderful commentary about the time in which she lived - English politics, insights into the French Revolution from the view of Marie Antoinette (Georgiana's friend) etc. Obviously passionate about her subject Ms Foreman very seldom lets this overtake her objectivity. It it wonderfully lucid yet at the same time it is scholarly. It is on a par with, if not better than, Stella Tillyard's "Aristocrats". (And of course Charles Fox 'provides the link between the two books.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read, but a bit over political, 3 May 2007
This review is from: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Paperback)
I found this book absorbing from the minute I picked it up. Amanda Foreman managed to mix the political elaments with the more social side of her life, to keep it interesting and to keep our attention. Even though I had been warned that it was heavily political, I still found it managable. However, as the book came towards the end, I felt that maybe Amanda Foreman was being pressed by her publishers to get it finished or maybe she was restricted to a limited word count. It seemed to become very rushed, brushing over elements in her life that I felt should have been covered, such as 'Little G's' wedding, both daughters' period of being debutante's and her sister Harriet's affairs, which saw her baring more illegitimate children, instead of only focusing on her political attributes. Maybe it was simply due to the fact that there are little surviving sources, but the fact that the last chapters are only appromimatly 10 pages long stays alot! Overall, It's a good read and I do recommend it, but be prepared to read alot about 18th Century politics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a well-crafted, sympathetic and vivid portrayal, 21 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Paperback)
Clearly well-researched, this biography of one of the eighteenth century's most enigmatic figures conveys vividly the tumultous world of eighteenth century politics alongside that of Georgiana's private life. A pioneer in women's involvement in politics, her role as a campaigner and society hostess placed her in the centre of the Whig party throughout its years of opposition; prominent men instinctively sought her advice. As well as highlighting G's pivotal political role, Foreman succeeds in capturing the moral ambiguity of the age in the private dilemmas her heroine faces: a hopeless addiction to gaming, her husband's mistress being her best friend, forcing to choose between her lover and her children etc. Although from an age difficult to empathise with, Foreman never the less makes G and her world instantly accessible. An Interesting and insightful read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENCHANTING, 15 Dec. 2010
This review is from: The Duchess (Paperback)
Amanda Foreman was born in 1968 in London. After graduating Columbia University, she spent 5 years of her life devoted to researching Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire. After constant scouring of information from places such as universities, libraries, museums and the family tree itself, she has written a comprehensive and realistic depiction about the life of Georgiana. The biography was awarded the 1998 Whitbread Biography of the Year and since then, has become an international bestseller.

Although in love with Georgiana, Amanda portrays Georgiana's life in a truthful manner - portraying the negatives as well as the positives of her life; unlike many other biographers who identify with their subjects so much, they mistake their own feelings for the subjects; prescribing characteristics and motivations that were never once there. There are many shocking scenes in her story, but because it all happened, it made Georgiana's life during those times very believable.

This book portrays Georgiana as a courageous but vulnerable girl who fought with instability and sensitiveness. She was thrown into the public eye at sixteen - having to grow up fast, unprepared and unsupported in a loveless marriage. She had gambling addictions, eating disorders and was riddled in debt. On the outside, society loved her because she came across as natural and vibrant, but only those closest to her heart, knew how tormented she was with loneliness.

It is interesting to realise parallels between Georgiana's life and princess Diana's and can often bring back memories of sentiment towards Diana and the struggle she went through in the eye of the media. The most fundamental connection between their lives is that Georgiana did lots of things she wasn't supposed to, and Diana did the same. Society has never liked rebellious and sexual women.

I found the book rather mundane to read in the beginning; Amanda's style of writing, made me feel that I was reading an academic essay with sources of evidence which had to be referenced. However I began to appreciate the fluidness it provides and the sources become fascinating. It is clear the amount of research Amanda has put into the biography.

Amanda portrays the love triangle between Georgiana, her best friend and Georgiana's husband very much like the cliché that we now see in American television dramas with storylines of trysts, betrayal and heartbreak. Georgiana had to grow up at a very quick age - at the age of sixteen; she married the Duke who was 35 and wanted her solely to conceive a male heir. However, she only gave birth to females and the way he treated her as a result, was despicable.

This book is very well written and there is clearly extensive research. The narrative of her life is clearly well defined and we start to become more and more empathetic towards Georgiana as the book progresses. At the end, I was almost as depressed as she was, however I felt enchanted. It's fascinating to see that even though someone who is considered a celebrity and who is hugely influential, powerful and beautiful on the outside, can have demons that others simply cannot fathom. I recommend this book because Amanda's portrayal of Georgiana's life makes the book equally identifiable and relevant to the lives of contemporary women today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed Biography, 6 Aug. 2009
By 
White Hart Dame "Legally_Lillywhite" (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Duchess (Paperback)
Even though this edition is marketed as a film tie-in, with a rather nice picture of Keira Knightly on the front as the Dughess of Devonshire, this is not a novel and those that buy thinking it will be a screenplay may be disappointed.

Having said that, as a biography it is an excellent and detailed account of the Duchess' life. As a frequent visitor to Chatsworth House I could envisage the House and some of the people described from portraits at the House. I did, however, find it a little dry and must admit to skipping a few pages when the writer went into detailed descriptions of the politics and the Whigs. I am, I confess, one of those people that prefer a riproaring read to factual novels (after reading legal documents all day) and this I did find a little dry in places.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than a film tie in..., 10 Sept. 2008
By 
S. Butland - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Duchess (Paperback)
The film "The Duchess", while enjoyable enough, shouldn't be seen as simply the content of this book on screen. The book is a mere cupcake compared to the rich dark fruit cake of Foreman's biography!

Georgiana was married to the much older Duke of Devonshire at the age of 17, and during the rest of her life became a well known wit, fashion icon, political mover and shaker, and gambling and opium addict. Oh, and she also lived in a menage with her husband's mistress. Foreman charts the rise and fall of Georgiana's life, giving insight not only into the woman herself but the political and social word in which she lived.

Foreman's style is clear and illuminating, and the combination of clear-eyed historical detail and compassionate approach to her subject make this an unforgettable read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman (Paperback - 1 Mar. 2004)
£9.74
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews