Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire
By Amanda Foreman
Georgiana Spencer was, in a sense, an 18th-century “It Girl”. She came from one of England’s richest and most landed families, and married into another. She was, beautiful, sensitive, and extravagant….[H]er move from parties to Parties led her to become the intimate of ministers and princes, and she canvassed assiduously for the Whig cause…By turns she was caricatured and fawned on by the press… But, luckily for her biographer, she also had weaknesses that were to taint her life.
Because she played such a big role in the Whig party (during the time when women were meant to stay at home and raise their children) this book focused a lot on this subject and was therefore heavy in politics, but I managed and enjoyed it. Which is a surprise, as I tend to find politics tedious to read in fictions.
What I loved most about this book was how Foreman developed Georgianna throughout the 480 pages. Foreman put life back into this world that, by the end of this biography, I felt as if I’d gone through a journey with Georgianna, experiencing the life of an 18th century woman. Now let me return back to the character development in this book, because I can’t emphasize enough how well it was carried out. While reading this biography, I felt as if I had been watching Georgianna develop from a spoiled, insecure, affection-mongering, undisciplined teenager into a respectable, quiet, self-controlled, and intelligent woman. It was just so real! So not only was this book contain historical, political, and social aspects, but also a very psychological element.
Foreman also illustrated the 18th century ton so well. It gave me a new understanding of english society–the downside of it, that is. A place of decadance and hypocrisy. Yet, despite it all, these flaws added a sinful charm to th English society of the late 18th century.
I can honestly say that this book has forever influenced me as a writer and has given me a better understanding of the Duchess of Devonshire’s world.