The Duchess, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


A tale of decadence and excess, great houses and wild parties, love and sexual intrigue, this biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, casts an astonishing new light on the nobility of eighteenth-century England.

Fashionable, extravagant and universally adored, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, was one of the most influential women of her day.

But her flamboyant public persona hid a multitude of personal troubles: drug addiction, vast gambling debts, an unhappy menage a trois with her husband and best friend, and a doomed affair with the future prime minister.

Like her descendant, Diana, Princess of Wales, Georgiana was a vulnerable woman living the life of an icon.

This utterly absorbing biography, recently made into a major film starring Keira Knightley as the Duchess of Devonshire, paints a touching portrait of a misunderstood woman.




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have not seen the film and I have no desire to although I enjoyed the book. The book is written as a very factual biography which I found extremely interesting. I had not realised just how powerful a voice women had in aristocracy with regard to political influence in those days. What a life Georgiana led! Of course, the marriage was not unusual as adultery was rife on both sides and still is in these classes today. A fashion icon in her own right and a very clever lady who designed clothes and hats, wrote stories and plays as well as advised on politics. A compulsive gambler, I do wonder how her husband managed to remain ignorant of the full disclosure of her losses for such a long time. A very competitive and insular world where all the leading ladies want to be top dog (as it were), and influence is power. I found the genealogy interesting, in particular the lineage to Diana, Princess of Wales. If you enjoy biographical history then it is worth a read, it is jam packed with information.