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The Duchess
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on 17 January 2014
I chose this book after considerable research and I am pleased that I opted for this particular one. The author has extensively researched her subject and I particularly liked the excerpts from Georgiana's and her contemporaries' letters.

The writing style renders this book captivating, rather than a drudge to read. It flows beautifully and I really felt a lot closer to Georgiana, the real person and her suffering, than I did previously. I enjoyed the contextual narrative which is essential if the reader wishes to understand the motives and actions of the subject. I understand much more about the volatile times she lived in, both home and abroad, in a very human context; much more than cold, historical facts manage to convey.

Georgiana has been likened to Princess Diana. Although there are a few minor similarities, (not just the family connection), I do not believe that their characters or circumstances are very much alike. However, I recommend that you read this book and decide for yourself!
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on 22 September 2012
I knew nothing at all about this particular Duchess of Devonshire until I read the book and now I feel I know everything.

In her earlier married years she became the leading society hostess and setter of fashion and became involved in politics, a most unusual thing in those times. Supporting not the Tories as one might think, she spoke for the Whigs at the hustings. Her Picadilly home in London became a meeting place for the Whig heirarcy frequented by the likes of Fox, and Sheridan. In her later years she even helped in forming their policies.

However this lady was flawed : she was a compulsive gambler. Always debt ridden to an astronomical amount she would borrow more with which not to pay her earlier creditors but to yet again gamble away.

Her private life was somewhat unusual to say the least, being for the most part a menage a trois: her intimate friend being that of her husband's too! She became rather too involved with Charles Fox and becoming pregnant the Duke forced her into a three year exile in dangerous France.

This remarkable woman lived through the times of mad King George and his ever hopeful son, the French Revolution and the loss of the American colonies.
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on 31 January 2014
You have to feel sorry for Georgiana, in a loveless marriage, her husband having a mistress.

The similarity between the two modern Royals (I don't need to mention names) ends there.

Georgiana was very unhappy, however, at the time she lived being a Duchess was far preferable to being a commoner. She gambled thousands away and it sounds like she was an alcoholic. If she had been discreet her husband would have accepted she had taken a lover but she flaunted it so he insisted she end her affair. Who knows, he may even have allowed her to keep her child and raise it as his own.

It is a good read, a book I enjoyed.
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2009
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.
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on 24 July 2012
The first Duke of Devonshire was one of the seven senior Whig statesmen who engineered the 1688 Glorious Revolution, by inviting William of Orange to the British throne. Georgiana married the fifth and circulated at the heart of Whig society - and therefore British politics - during the 1780s until the early 1800s. Since Georgiana is so captivating and the book's narrative current so irresistable, this transforms what would otherwise be turgid political history into a festival of voyeurism. An outstanding and thoroughly enjoyable achievement.
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on 30 October 2017
After watching the 'Duchess' and loving it I decided I wanted to know more about this amazing historic person.

This book is great and I have learnt so much about her.
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on 22 August 2014
I love the film and have watched it many times.
I was interested in finding out more about this Diana-like creature and so bought this book.
Unfortunately for me, it's written more as an historical piece of work whereas I was hoping for a more novel-like approach.
My fault for not researching fully.
Sadly - it has gone, unread, to the charity shop.
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on 26 February 2014
I was not a great fan of the film, so wanted to get the detailed story. It is detailed and a little long winded for my tastes. Much detail on the political situation and dealings of the characters. I did not make it to the end of the book. A friend was likewise.

It may be more to your taste.
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on 22 January 2016
I bought this after seeing the film and being interested in this incredible woman's story. As is often the case the film left a lot out and made a lot of choices that don't totally mesh with the real story but this biography really lets you get to know the Duchess and learn about a woman who had such a profound impact. A must read!
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on 3 March 2012
I bought this book after watching the film although I normally read the book first. I'm not disappointed with my purchase. It's factual & backed up by historical references. It's very well written & engages the reader in the era.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to learn about English aristocracy & all it entailed.
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