Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
96
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£4.99


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 May 2008
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.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 August 2009
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.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is much richer fare than the film adaptation of the book, which I saw before reading the book. The author does a remarkable job of creating a woman of flesh and blood out of all the documents and correspondence that she had to sift through and read in order to compile this eminently readable biography of a prominent and influential eighteenth century woman. It was like looking into another time and place.

The author paints a vivid three dimensional portrait of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, with all her positive attributes and foibles laid bare for the reader. The book also richly details the social mores of the eighteenth century, as well as the lifestyle of the rich and famous of that era. Georgiana's place as a leader of that stratum of society is clearly delineated within the pages of the book and makes for fascinating reading. She comes to life on the pages of this book.

Since Georgiana became a political animal and involved herself in Whig politics, the politics of the times holds a prominent place in the book. This, unfortunately, is the Achilles heel in the book, as too much time is spent on the politics of the day and some of it is dry stuff, indeed. Still, the book is filled with so many interesting anecdotes of some of the most important personages of the time, whose lives intertwined with that of Georgiana's, that the reader will stay the course and come away with a feeling of having met one of the most interesting of women of the time.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 March 1999
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.)
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 January 2000
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.
0Comment| 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 December 2001
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.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 December 2010
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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is much richer fare than the film adaptation of the book, which I saw before reading the book. The author does a remarkable job of creating a woman of flesh and blood out of all the documents and correspondence that she had to sift through and read in order to compile this eminently readable biography of a prominent and influential eighteenth century woman. It was like looking into another time and place.

The author paints a vivid three dimensional portrait of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, with all her positive attributes and foibles laid bare for the reader. The book also richly details the social mores of the eighteenth century, as well as the lifestyle of the rich and famous of that era. Georgiana's place as a leader of that stratum of society is clearly delineated within the pages of the book and makes for fascinating reading. She comes to life on the pages of this book.

Since Georgiana became a political animal and involved herself in Whig politics, the politics of the times holds a prominent place in the book. This, unfortunately, is the Achilles heel in the book, as too much time is spent on the politics of the day and some of it is dry stuff, indeed. Still, the book is filled with so many interesting anecdotes of some of the most important personages of the time, whose lives intertwined with that of Georgiana's, that the reader will stay the course and come away with a feeling of having met one of the most interesting of women of the time.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)