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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 21 November 2010
Very very very good book! Read it in one rainy Sunday from cover to cover (devoured every page, including the Bibliography).

Thoroughly recommended. A great general interest read for anyone with any level of prior knowledge in the Eighteenth century Court and George I and George II's family life. The famous and the unknown people in this world are brought to life in these beautifully written chapters. Very readable - very interesting - very worthwhile!
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on 13 May 2010
I loved the cover of this book with the depiction of the courtiers and elegant scrolled metallic writing. However not to judge the book by the cover I plunged in - and had to force myself to emerge from the pages.Molly Lepel her husband the bisexual John Hervey, the fascinating Queen Caroline with the fiery King George II. Even the tactiturn George Lewis with his exotic Turkish attendants spring into life showing the colour and decadence of the Georgian court.
The accounts of medical procedures caused me to shudder in sympathy with Caroline and I was fascinated by Peter the wild boy.
The museums, the novelties, the pastimes - all appealed to me.
Court ettiquette is discussed in detail with the fashions and wonderful names for the different styles of mens wigs including snail back.
My only gripe is the length of the book. I would love it to be double the size.
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on 9 May 2010
The scene: Kensington Place in the early eighteenth century. The main characters are a disparate and motley bunch: Prince George Augustus(later to become George the Second), his wife, the "fat, funny and adorable" Princess Caroline and Henrietta Howard the mistress Prince George thought due to his position rather than his desire. Then there is the ubiquitous Lord Hervey, Peter the Wild Boy and Mustafa and Mohammed George's Turkish servants. One of Mohammed's duties was to treat George's haemorrhoids while Mustapha dealt with his laxatives.

The wide-ranging supporting cast is as full as the whole court itself and features such characters as the enchanting Molly Lepel who was rather too fond of the bottle and the unloved heir to the throne Prince Frederick.

Concentrating on the lives of the main characters the book ranges widely throughout the life of George the Second as both prince and king and paints a vivid portrait of the preoccupations of court life: an endless round of back-biting, place-seeking, scandal political and sexual, strict attention to etiquette and endless games of cards to kill time.

Nothing is gone into very deeply but it is a highly enjoyable and engaging romp through the largely overlooked period of the reigns of the first two Georges. It left me wanting to know much more, especially about Caroline, acknowledged to be "the cleverest queen consort ever to sit on the throne".

Frothy as the lace ruffles on the court ladies gowns, this is a highly addictive read.
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on 21 July 2011
Felt like old fashion history as I have read similar books in the 1970s revolving around Queen Victoria's court but in the end this did not distract from the fact that it was well written and deeply interesting. Dealing with the times of George 1st and George 2nd it concentrates on the personnalities of the court to bring this period alive. However I do not think that the book really brought out just how political the court still was [for instance the 'The Garter Crises' involving Earl Temple and nearly brought down a government is only obliquely mentioned]. But I do agree with the other reviewers that it is 'very readable - very interesting - very worthwhile! And that the peiople 'come alive as Worsely has creatively depicted their intriguing lives.'.

The Kindle edition I read was a model of its kind with links to the notes, a full, and again linked, index and a good bibliography. The plates at the end came out surprissingly well. However it also showed up the Kindle's limitations in that it was impossible to read the family tree at the beginnning even when using the zoom.
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on 27 July 2011
I so enjoyed this book. It really brought to life those two enigmatic Kings of Britain, George I and George II. The court is described in all its claustrophobic splendour, where cleverness is not always rewarded. Queen Caroline plays a pivotal part here, partly clever and charming, and partly heartless and unforgiving. Family quarrels and feuds are central to this royal family.
The Courtiers of the title are many and varied, each fascinating in their own way.
I would really recommend this book. It is very well written and accessible, as well as informative and written by an expert in the subject.
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This is a fascinating book. Lucy Worsley has written an account of the courts of the Hanoverian Georges by highlighting a few of the people who lived and worked there. She starts the book by talking about the Grand Staircase at Kensington Palace which has a painting of forty-five of the court servants apparently looking at us over the banisters. There was a huge, and well documented, battle between the old guard of the artistic establishment, as personified by John Thornhill, Hogarth's father-in-law, and William Kent one of the new Italianates. This account sets the tone of the book.

Through letters and diaries, gossip and rumour, the picture of court life is built up in a most enjoyable way. Lucy Worsley writes with a light and amusing touch, so that even though we are absorbing a lot of information, it is highly entertaining. In addition to the royal family, we meet many of the great names of the eighteenth century (who, to me, were just the dry old sticks of history lessons) - Sir Robert Walpole, Lord Chesterfield, Pope and Gay to mention just a few, and we meet them through their own words and what other people (often bitchily) said about them.

There are lots of pictures within the text and a glorious colour section in the middle. Of course, not everyone mentioned can be pictured in the book, so I have spent a happy afternoon googling characters to see what they looked like. The book is well indexed and referenced so you are well prepared for further research.
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on 4 December 2011
Make no mistake this is no ordinary book. Open the cover and you are transported to the Georgian court. You observe at such a close distance that you are almost afraid to breathe for fear of being noticed.

Get up close to the kings and queens and be amazed by the things that you did know. Never again will you get any of the Georges mixed up, you know them now.

This is a wonderfully written book, the Georgian court is brought alive in a very special way. It's a page turner which is so unusual for a history book. On every page I learnt or was amazed by something.

Lucy Worsley is doing for history what JK Rowling did for children's literature. Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian CourtCourtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court
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on 21 July 2010
I finished this book last night and so I thought I'd let you all know how much I enjoyed it! As much as I love reading all types of literature - fiction and non-fiction, I don't think I would ever have described a non-fiction history book as a page-turner before, but I could definitely say that of Courtiers!

They often say life can be stranger than fiction and this book colourfully illustrates that old adage; there's love, lust, beauty, jealousy, duels, death (and pretty grim ones, at that!), power, money and dreams, both fulfilled and shattered.

I look forward to the next one from Lucy Worsley!
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on 27 October 2011
This book describes people's everyday lives - the gameplaying, the push and shove to the top, and the utter vanity behind it all when you reach the very summit of society. I very much enjoyed the details of what they ate (a mish mash of things such as salmon, calves brains, jellied whatevers all in the same meal)how their ailments were treated, what they wore, their manner of travelling and the tittle tattle that anyone can relate to in society.

This would make a great Christmas present. While reading this, it brought history alive and made me wonder in fact how our modern day Royal Family truly live. Perhaps the food and hygiene and medicine is far more advanced in kind, but I truly question if the game playing is not still the same?

Also I had to laugh many times on past insults to other people in the book, and it fascinated me how one was favoured and snubbed.
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on 25 February 2011
Courtiers is by far one of the most entertaining and insightful books on the secret lives of the Royal Court. This book gives a great portrayal of the Kensington Courtiers at the time of King George I and King George II and their lives. Lucy Worsely does an excellent job by turning the small and seemingly unimportant lives of these individuals into exciting characters filled with intrigue, mystery, and passion. This is a great read that keeps the page turning with loads of historical information and focusing on the secret lives of the individuals who lurk behind the walls of Kensington Palace. Their stories come alive as Worsely has creatively depicted their intriguing lives.
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