4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton (Paperback)
Forget about newspaperboy to millionaire, that's just a boring American idea. Emma Hart, later to become Emma, Lady Hamilton made it all the way from hopeless child prostitute in late 18th century London to prestigious ambassador's wife in Naples, then switching to become mistress of the most admired admiral of the time and valued member of the jetset around the Prince of Wales.
This book really seems to have it all. I think it is good history, and an incredible story well told.
The story follows Emma making her way to London from her poor miners' village, still a child almost and predictably ending up in prostitution, then gradually upgrading to 'higher-up' clients and becoming a mistress to one of them. When discarded as mistress to this gentleman she is lucky to be passed on to Hamilton, the elderly British ambassador in Naples, earns her respectability there by marrying him and generally shining in society (even making friends with Queen Maria Carolina) and of course, eventually meets and cordially greets the heroic Nelson.
The tragic part really starts after his death, when Emma's rise is gradually reversed as she drowns in debt.
Again, Williams' writing is great, she really brings Emma as well as others (Nelson, Hamilton, various characters in the jetset of the day) alive. A compelling read!