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Amanda Foreman, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire
on 10 December 2010
Amanda Foreman - Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire
This book reflects the life of Georgiana, the duchess of Devonshire. Lady Georgiana Spencer married the Duke of Devonshire in a very young age, and by that she became the duchess of Devonshire. The story takes place in the aristocratic Britain during the 18th century. Georgiana was one of the first women in the history who was active in the politics, she was involved in the Whig party. She was also the woman in that era that created new trends both in fashion and by getting women to get involved in politics, which usually were dedicated to the men. The press loved her and she was more than often mentioned on the front pages of the newspapers. She was the ideal social hostess and admired and envied by many of her acquaintance. However, her personal life was not as successful as her public life. Her husband, the duke, was ignorant and preferred other women to her. Even though their marriage was cold, she did not give up the thought of love. Georgiana had a close relationship to her mother, though her mother was often criticising her and judging her for not being a good enough wife.
Even though she most of the times was surrounded by people, she seemed extremely lonely. This was probably one of the reasons why she had bad habits of drinking, doing drugs and gambling.
I enjoyed this book though I did not realise that it was a historical biography before I started it. I am not that fond of history so I believe that is why I sometimes had difficulties to understand this book. I did like it anyway because of the way the author, Amanda Foreman, has written it. She does not only focus on the historical parts, she makes the reading interesting in her descriptions of the characters. It does not only describe the life of Georgiana, it also describes the social environment in which she was living. Not having studied this part of the British history before, it made me have a good insight in it. It describes Britain during this century both politically, socially and the women's situation. Amanda Foreman describes Georgiana in a way that made me feel compassion for her. She was incredibly intelligent and seemed to have a heart of gold, she wanted to see the good in the people that crossed her way. She describes each character well and I could easily see the 18th century British aristocrats in front of me. Though, I do believe it was too much focus on the political history and the book contains many characters which sometimes made it hard to get a hold on each one of them. All the different letters sent between different persons was sometimes confusing. The language is to a certain extent old fashioned and sometimes hard to understand. I would without doubt recommend this book and especially to those interested in the British 18th century history and politics.