The Amiable Mrs Peach, Paperback / softback Book


`we ride or walk every day, visit a good deal, & spend our time very agreeably'As the daughter of one clergyman and wife of another, Betsy Reading (later Leathes, then Peach) (1748-1815) knew everyone from dukes to the destitute, but she was happiest among the gentry and lower aristocracy, and it was to them that she wrote her lively letters.

Her provincial life of card parties, tea parties and balls was that of a Jane Austen heroine, and she too was preoccupied with marriage and money.

She also showed pride and prejudice, sense and sensibility. Betsy and her children were to experience three elopements, some scandalous court cases and endless money worries.

Sometimes frivolous on the surface, in private she had to contend with the difficult behaviour of her parents, husbands and children, with their deaths, and with her own uncertain mental and physical health.

Her family struggled to keep up their social position in a brutally unequal society, and the backdrop to much of her adult life was the Napoleonic wars, when England remained in a state of high tension. Betsy's surviving diaries and correspondence provide the core of Celia Miller's spirited account of a life lived to the full, but the author also sets the events in a broader social and political context.

From Woodstock in Oxfordshire, to Norfolk and Kent (and back to Norfolk), Betsy travelled, chatted, and always, always wrote.

From those letters and diaries an enthralling picture emerges of a sometimes exasperating but always likeable woman, and of the relatives and friends who made up the patchwork of her life. The illustrations include prints and photos of places Betsy knew, and approx. 20 line drawings by Jean M. Smith, prepared especially for the book.




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