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11 Reviews
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4 star:
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3 star:
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2 star:
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Bugatti Queen
The Bugatti Queen is a beautifully written account of a fascinating
twentieth-century woman. I found this book a thoroughly enjoyable and
compelling read, so difficult to put down once you have begun. As a keen
biography reader as well as a Bugatti enthusiast I thought Miranda Seymour's
account of Hellé Nice's life was compassionate yet...
Published on 17 Dec 2004 by Louise Treutlein

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars a must read
i think jane fonda is quoted as saying, "don't accept what is, strive for what if." if you are interested in a biography of someone who did just that, then this is a book for you. it is shameful that france has let the memory of this remarkable women almost die. it is a credit to miranda seymour that she attempted to bring this story back to public attention.
why...
Published on 27 Jun 2010 by Mr. John Miller


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Bugatti Queen, 17 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
The Bugatti Queen is a beautifully written account of a fascinating
twentieth-century woman. I found this book a thoroughly enjoyable and
compelling read, so difficult to put down once you have begun. As a keen
biography reader as well as a Bugatti enthusiast I thought Miranda Seymour's
account of Hellé Nice's life was compassionate yet informative.
This amazing woman who gained fame as an exotic model and dancer was to move
into the very male dominated world of motor sport in the 1920's. Although
her successful careers had bought her great wealth she had acquired a love
for extravagance. After a serious accident in 1936 her career came to an
end. The tragic side of the story is that in 1984 she died penniless and
alone.
I have no reservations in recommending this book to anyone, whether
interested in cars or not. This is probably one of the most enjoyed book on
our shelves of motor sport related books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 9 Sep 2013
By 
P. Selby (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
Incredible book, should be a great film. One of the few books I have finished quickly and restarted immediately to see what I missed first time round.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully researched, wonderfully written, 1 July 2013
By 
V. Hayrabedian (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
I picked up this book more or less by accident - I had certainly never heard of Helle Nice, which is astonishing, given how popular she was and all that she achieved. This book is an engaging look at one of the early superstars of motorsport, thoroughly researched and with some lovely photos of both Helene and the cars she raced. Recommended for both motorsport afficionados and those interested in women's history.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How biographies should be, 21 April 2005
By 
Tom Douglas (Marlow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
I have never really got along with biographies - I always feel very detached from them. I think this is partly down my own lack of empathy, but also there is a tendency to place facts ahead of settings, leaving it difficult for the reader to get emersed.
The Bugatti Queen is a wonderful exception to this - an extraordinary life, beautifully told. There is a fair degree of detective work, and some guesswork, in this book and Seymour manages to fill in the gaps intelligently, without ever lapsing into dramatic gushing prose.
Helle Nice's life should not be forgotten, and with this book, Miranda Seymour has ensured it never will.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable woman, 14 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
An excellent account of a truly amazing woman. Seymour has done a terrific job in writing a wonderful account of Helene Nice's life - and what a life. I felt compelled to share this biography with others and have since bought copies for friends & relations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Bugatti Queen, 29 April 2012
By 
Charles E. Main "Charles Main" (Prescott, Arizona) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
After reading Miranda Seymour's excellent biography on The Life & Loves of Virginia Cherrill, I thought I would proceed further to an earlier book by Miss Seymour, titled simply The Bugatti Queen. As it turns out this book was a captivating adventure about an obscure subject that was quite relevant between the two World Wars on the sport of motor racing that takes place primarily in France and other parts of Europe including the United States? The story revolves around the manufacturers of the early racing cars of Europe as well as the drivers, including one woman, Helle Nice, the subject of the book.

In reading this book, it was fascinating to find out when setting out to write this book, the authoress had very little research material, and through a few leads, was able to obtains precious documents loaned to her that originally belonged to Helle Nice, The Bugatti Queen, and then she was able to piece together the true story about a very interesting and very modern woman of the early part of the 20th Century Europe.

Besides reading this biography about a beautiful woman who excelled and won many races in motor racing during its infancy in Europe then dominated by men as now; it is Miss Nice's charm and craftiness, she was able to be easily accepted into the fraternity as she was loved by these men as well loved most of them both figuratively and literally during the 1930s.

I won't go more into the story other than to say this is an excellent read on biography of a very interesting woman in the world of motor racing and you won't be disappointed. Miss Seymour bring this period between the wars alive as if you were there yourself. I certainly learned about a lot of the early stages of motor racing, on both the rich and famous in Europe, who participated in seeking adventure; much like Helle Nice. There are many great photos that bring this biography more alive and animated.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a must read, 27 Jun 2010
By 
Mr. John Miller (cardiff, u.k.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
i think jane fonda is quoted as saying, "don't accept what is, strive for what if." if you are interested in a biography of someone who did just that, then this is a book for you. it is shameful that france has let the memory of this remarkable women almost die. it is a credit to miranda seymour that she attempted to bring this story back to public attention.
why then only three stars? the problem for me is that too much of the story has been lost. much now is open to conjecture, which the author has attempted. conclusions she has made from photographs, and the poses of people in them, were frequently at odds with my own opinions. also we are left wondering what happened at a villa on the riveira in the late forties/ early fifties. surely someone in the area could have survived long enough to give us a clue.
for me the conjecture takes the story too far towards fiction.but fiction or faction this is a truely incredible story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nice little stocking filler!, 16 Oct 2009
By 
Joolz (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
Hellé Nice - or her given name Hélène Delangle - seems to have been quite a girl: as dancer, skier and racing driver her sense of glamour and bravery were only outstripped by a fierce ambition. In the big picture she was only a bit player as a racing driver, but she was good enough to catch the eye of the Bugatti family until post-war accusations ruined her life. She was clearly devoted to being in the spotlight: Seymour paints an engaging but rather unflattering picture of someone who thrived on attention and would do all she could to get it (she would have loved today's celebrity obsessed world!), perhaps a result of an unhappy upbringing, which makes the obscurity of her later years all the more poignant.

The author's sensationalist non-technical style may not be to everyone's taste as Bugatti Queen often reads more like a novel than a biography. Seymour freely admits that she had to "fill in" much of the story from her own imagination due to the meagreness of her sources. The result is a jolly good read, but a reader is always aware that much of the narrative is speculative, especially parts dealing with Delangle's early and late years. Despite her faults Delangle had a lot to offer and Seymour successfully captures that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars although you secretly might know in reality she was not such a nice caracter., 25 July 2014
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This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
A heart warming story of a woman with true grit, although you secretly might know in reality she was not such a nice caracter.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not a biography., 5 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend (Paperback)
I was taken in by the critical reception for this book, which appears to have been excellent. This is completely inexplicable to me.

It is clear in the first two chapters that there was never enough information to write a biography of Helene Delangle (aka Helle Nice). The author is understood to have written biographies before, and she obviously worked hard to scrape up information, but beyond limited correspondence, press cuttings and a couple of photo books, her subject left too little to rely upon for a book of this kind. She should have given it up and written a couple of features.

The author admits in the afterword (not, the foreword)"I have used imagination to recreate the story of Helle Nice's earliest years". An understatement if ever there was one. The text is littered with phrases like 'we can suppose', 'we can imagine that' etc. - by the second chapter I had lost all trust in the author as a professional historian.

For the Bugatti enthusiast, it is important to note the relationship between the subject and Ettore and Jean Bugatti is completely cooked up by the author, apparently from staring at photos. I have no doubt Ms Nice was an fascinating character, but I feel hardly closer to knowing her for having read this book. Did she have an affair with Maurice Chevalier? Who knows. Ms Seymour likes to think so. His eyes are twinkling in one of the photos of them together.

It's not a biography.
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The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend
The Bugatti Queen. In Search of a Motor-racing Legend by Miranda Seymour (Paperback - 7 Feb 2005)
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