The Mistresses Of Cliveden
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For fans of Downton Abbey comes an immersive historical epic about a lavish English manor and a dynasty of rich and powerful women who ruled the estate over three centuries of misbehavior, scandal, intrigue, and passion. Five miles from Windsor Castle, home of the royal family, sits the Cliveden estate. Overlooking the Thames, the mansion is flanked by two wings and surrounded by lavish gardens. Throughout its storied history, Cliveden has been a setting for misbehavior, intrigue, and passion—from its salacious, deadly beginnings in the seventeenth century to the 1960s Profumo Affair, the sex scandal that toppled the British government. Now, in this immersive chronicle, the manor’s current mistress, Natalie Livingstone, opens the doors to this prominent house and lets the walls do the talking. Built during the reign of Charles II by the Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden attracted notoriety as a luxurious retreat in which the duke could conduct his scandalous affair with the ambitious courtesan Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. In 1668, Anna Maria’s cuckolded husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, challenged Buckingham to a duel. Buckingham killed Shrewsbury and claimed Anna Maria as his prize, making her the first mistress of Cliveden. Through the centuries, other enigmatic and indomitable women would assume stewardship over the estate, including Elizabeth, Countess of Orkney and illicit lover of William III, who became one of England’s wealthiest women; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, the queen that Britain was promised and then denied; Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, confidante of Queen Victoria and a glittering society hostess turned political activist; and the American-born Nancy Astor, the first female member of Parliament, who described herself as an “ardent feminist” and welcomed controversy. Though their privileges were extraordinary, in Livingstone’s hands, their struggles and sacrifices are universal. Cliveden weathered renovation and restoration, world conflicts and cold wars, societal shifts and technological advances. Rich in historical and architectural detail, The Mistresses of Cliveden is a tale of sex and power, and of the exceptional women who evaded, exploited, and confronted the expectations of their times. Praise for The Mistresses of Cliveden “Theatrical festivities, political jockeying and court intrigues are deftly described with a verve and attention to domestic comforts that show the author at her best. . . . [Livingstone’s] portraits of strenuous and assertive women who resisted subjection, sometimes deploying their sexual allure to succeed, on other occasions drawing on their husband’s wealth, are astute, spirited, and empathetic.”—The Wall Street Journal “Missing Downton Abbey already? This tome promises ‘three centuries of scandal, power, and intrigue’ and Natalie Livingstone definitely delivers.”—Good Housekeeping “Lively . . . The current chatelaine—the author herself—deserves no small credit for keeping the house’s legend alive. . . . Any of her action-filled chapters would merit a mini-series.”—The New York Times Book Review “Though the personal tales and tidbits are fascinating, and the sensational details of these women’s lives will intrigue Downton Abbey devotees, the real star of the story is Cliveden.”—Booklist “Lovers of modern English history and the scandals that infiltrated upper-crust society will find much to enjoy in this work.”—Library Journal From the Hardcover edition.
A Sunday Times bestseller - Five women. One house. One extraordinary history. From its construction in the 1660s to its heyday in the 1960s, Cliveden played host to a dynasty of remarkable and powerful women. Anna Maria, Elizabeth, Augusta, Harriet, and Nancy were five ladies who, over the course of three centuries, shaped British society through their beauty, personalities, and political influence. Restoration and revolution, aristocratic rise and fall, world war and cold war form the extraordinary backdrop against which their stories unfold. An addictive history of the period and an intimate exploration of the timeless relationships between people and place, The Mistresses of Cliveden is a story of sex, power and politics, and the ways in which exceptional women defy the expectations of their time.
A Sunday Times bestseller - Five women. One house. One extraordinary history. Even today, Cliveden retains its royal mystique - it is where Meghan Markle and her mother spent the night before the royal wedding - but from its construction in the 1660s to its heyday in the 1960s, Cliveden has played host to a dynasty of remarkable and powerful women. Anna Maria, Elizabeth, Augusta, Harriet, and Nancy were five ladies who, over the course of three centuries, shaped British society through their beauty, personalities, and political influence. Restoration and revolution, aristocratic rise and fall, world war and cold war form the extraordinary backdrop against which their stories unfold. An addictive history of the period and an intimate exploration of the timeless relationships between people and place, The Mistresses of Cliveden is a story of sex, power and politics, and the ways in which exceptional women defy the expectations of their time.
Top voices in historical fiction deliver an unforgettable collection of short stories set in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month... November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost. As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell. In this moving anthology, nine authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies. Featuring: Jessica Brockmole Hazel Gaynor Evangeline Holland Marci Jefferson Kate Kerrigan Jennifer Robson Beatriz Williams Lauren Willig Heather Webb
Forget glossy period dramas, here is the real story of Britain's super-rich from the First World War to the end of the 'roaring' twenties.
The winner of Britain's prestigious Whitbread Prize and a bestseller there for months, this wonderfully readable biography offers a rich, rollicking picture of late-eighteenth-century British aristocracy and the intimate story of a woman who for a time was its undisputed leader. Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774, at the age of seventeen, Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying one of England's richest and most influential aristocrats, the Duke of Devonshire. Launched into a world of wealth and power, she quickly became the queen of fashionable society, adored by the Prince of Wales, a dear friend of Marie-Antoinette, and leader of the most important salon of her time. Not content with the role of society hostess, she used her connections to enter politics, eventually becoming more influential than most of the men who held office. Her good works and social exploits made her loved by the multitudes, but Georgiana's public success, like Diana's, concealed a personal life that was fraught with suffering. The Duke of Devonshire was unimpressed by his wife's legendary charms, preferring instead those of her closest friend, a woman with whom Georgiana herself was rumored to be on intimate terms. For over twenty years, the three lived together in a jealous and uneasy ménage à trois, during which time both women bore the Duke's children—as well as those of other men. Foreman's descriptions of Georgiana's uncontrollable gambling, all- night drinking, drug taking, and love affairs with the leading politicians of the day give us fascinating insight into the lives of the British aristocracy in the era of the madness of King George III, the American and French revolutions, and the defeat of Napoleon. A gifted young historian whom critics are already likening to Antonia Fraser, Amanda Foreman draws on a wealth of fresh research and writes colorfully and penetratingly about the fascinating Georgiana, whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.
WINNER OF THE POLITICAL BOOK AWARDS POLITICAL HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014. Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Profumo scandal, An English Affair is a sharp-focused snapshot of a nation on the brink of social revolution.
The powerful and moving story of three royal mothers whose quest for power led to the downfall of their daughters. Queen Isabella of Castile, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and Queen Victoria of England were respected and admired rulers whose legacies continue to be felt today. Their daughters—Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England; Queen Marie Antoinette of France; and Vicky, the Empress Frederick of Germany—are equally legendary for the tragedies that befell them, their roles in history surpassed by their triumphant mothers. In Triumph's Wake is the first book to bring together the poignant stories of these mothers and daughters in a single narrative. Isabella of Castile forged a united Spain and presided over the discovery of the New World, Maria Theresa defeated her male rivals to claim the Imperial Crown, and Victoria presided over the British Empire. But, because of their ambition and political machinations, each mother pushed her daughter toward a marital alliance that resulted in disaster. Catherine of Aragon was cruelly abandoned by Henry VIII who cast her aside in search of a male heir and tore England away from the Pope. Marie Antoinette lost her head on the guillotine when France exploded into Revolution and the Reign of Terror. Vicky died grief-stricken, horrified at her inability to prevent her son, Kaiser Wilhelm, from setting Germany on a belligerent trajectory that eventually led to war. Exhaustively researched and utterly compelling, In Triumph's Wake is the story of three unusually strong women and the devastating consequences their decisions had on the lives of their equally extraordinary daughters.
The plot could have been inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, but unlike Waugh's novel – which parodies the era of the ‘Bright Young Things’ – The Mistress of Mayfair is a real-life story of scandal, greed, corruption and promiscuity at the heart of 1920s and ’30s high society, focusing on the wily, willful socialite Doris Delevingne and her doomed relationship with the gossip columnist Valentine Browne, Viscount Castlerosse. Marrying each other in pursuit of the finer things in life, their unlikely union was tempestuous from the off, rocked by affairs (with a whole host of society figures, including Cecil Beaton, Diana Mitford and Winston Churchill, amongst others) on both sides, and degenerated into one of London’s bitterest, and most talked about, divorce battles. In this compelling new book, Lyndsy Spence follows the rise and fall of their relationship, exploring their decadent society lives in revelatory detail and offering new insight into some of the mid twentieth century’s most prominent figures.
An account of the search for the missing link between humans and apes journeys into the competitive world of fossil hunting and the lives of competing scientists determined to uncover the mysteries of human evolution.