Book Review: The Duchess by Amanda Foreman

Previously published as: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Number of pages: 406

Read between: 1st-14th of April
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: four-star-rating-hi

For some reason I always give non-fiction books a lower rating than fiction. Probably because they take so long to read. Most of the non-fiction books I read however, are biographies, usually of celebrities or historical figures so this book was right up my alley.

I fell in love with Georgiana’s story after watching the film based on this biography, which stars Keira Knightley as the beautiful Georgiana, Ralph Fiennes as the Duke and Hayley Atwell as Lady Elizabeth Foster. The film obviously focuses on the important and dramatic parts of her life, but really, she was a woman ahead of her time.

Foreman writes very personally about Georgiana, and every chapter made me fall in love with her even more. She was a feminist, a scientist, a politician, as well as a Duchess, a wife, and a mother. Her personally struggles with a husband who doesn’t appreciate her due to her giving him two daughters before an heir, her affair with Earl Grey (yes, that one), and the fact her husband had two illegitimate children with her dear friend, Bess, is something she has to live with. 

She was thousands of pounds in debt, but she hid it from her loved ones- which is quite sad. She wanted to uphold her status so much that when she died, a lot of the debts had to be paid off by her son.

Her life is truly fascinating. Her reaction to certain events, such as the death of Marie Antoinette, give you a sense that she was very truly involved with the friendships she created.

Georgiana Cavendish, nee Spencer, is a woman I feel is a strong icon for every woman of today. She created herself, around her loveless marriage, and became a trendsetter, a woman who could control members of parliament, and help with the decisions of royalty. 

I salute her.
I would love to go back in time and meet her if I could, and this book has given me a wonderful insight into her life and her emotions, through biographical and autobiographical evidence. 

4/5 stars. I would definitely recommend. 
I have fallen head over heels with a woman who died in 1806. If you like history, or even influential women of the past, you really, really need to pick this book up.


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