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Aristocrats

por Stella Tillyard

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7111432,503 (4.12)56
A fascinating insight into 18th century aristocratic life through the lives of the four Lennox sisters, the great grandchildren of Charles II, whose extraordinary lives spanned the period 1740-1832. Passionate, witty and moving, the voices of the Lennox sisters reach us with immediacy and power, drawing the reader into their remarkable lives, and making this one of the most enthralling historical narratives to appear for many years.… (mais)
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Exceptionally accomplished piece of narrative history about the lives of four of the Lennox sisters in 18th century England. Although based on substantial archival research, it wears this lightly; this is not an academic work with full references. Those who have seen the TV series made from it will have glimpsed some of its qualities; but that missed some of the best bits, for example the extensive descriptions of the physical milieux in which life was conducted at that time, which are beautifully written. ( )
  ponsonby | May 29, 2020 |
Really good nonfiction about 4 wealthy sisters who lived in the 1700-1800s. They wrote many, many letters that Tillyard combs through to paint a picture of their lives. I always love reading about how women lived in other eras so this book was pretty interesting to me. Lots of info about marriage, child-bearing and rearing, love affairs, and politics. Obviously, not a look into "everyday" life as these women were very privileged, and it doesn't go much into daily things like food, clothing, comforts, but I found it interesting overall. This was written in 1994 and I gather it was an earlier example of historical writing focused on women in a narrative way. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 7, 2019 |
The lives of the four daughters of the Duke of Richmond in the 18th century.

Fascinating look at a set of women's lives that included elopements, good and bad marriages, defiance of convention, royalty, radicalism and revolution. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 14, 2018 |
A mixture of biography and history, this is a detailed look at the lives of members of an aristocratic family in Georgian England. The author did an impressive amount of research into both the minutiae of the four sisters' lives and the politics of the period. She quotes extensively from their letters and journals, which provides a sense of immediacy to the narrative. I was left thinking how much social change there can be over the centuries, yet human nature and behaviour remain the same. ( )
  SylviaC | Oct 24, 2016 |
This is the story of four daughters of the second Duke of Richmond. Great-granddaughters of King Charles II, wealthy, titled, and intimate with the political leaders of the realm, the Lennox sisters were envied by many and watched by all. Their story lasts almost a century; it "begins in 1744, as the Jacobites were planning their last, desperate assault on the Hanoverian throne, and ends in 1832, five years before the beginning of the Victorian Age." The eldest, Caroline, eloped and became a rich and famous political hostess. Her eldest son was a dissolute wastral; her second son, Charles Fox, became an infamous politician. The second girl, Emily, married the Duke of Leinster, the first peer of Ireland. After their parents' deaths, Emily raised her much younger sisters Louisa and Sarah amidst her own gigantic brood (she had, in all, 22 children, only half of whom survived to adulthood). Emily arranged a marriage for Louisa to the richest man in Ireland, Thomas Conolly. King George III loved young Sarah, but was convinced to marry a German princess for matters of state. Sarah was pushed into a marriage with Thomas Bunbury, a man of little sense, money, or desire for his teenaged bride. Their marriage was deeply unhappy, and Sarah had a very public affair, forcing Bunbury to separate and eventually divorce her. She and Emily each remarried later in life, and had very happy marriages to men of significantly less money and social standing. Every sister but Louisa had a cavalcade of children. And every sister maintained a long, intimate relationship via letters.

Thanks to those letters, and Tillyard's incredible scholarship, the modern age has a pretty good idea of their personalities and daily lives. The sisters themselves are vividly drawn and oft quoted (I'm a sucker for reading the actual words of historical figures), but what truly impressed me was the detail of their surroundings. How their servants were treated, what kind of decorating was in style, how one behaved in Bath, what London was like (the description of London "waking up" every morning was particularly impressive)...Tilyard assembles all this flotsom and arranges it into a coherent world. ( )
1 vote wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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A fascinating insight into 18th century aristocratic life through the lives of the four Lennox sisters, the great grandchildren of Charles II, whose extraordinary lives spanned the period 1740-1832. Passionate, witty and moving, the voices of the Lennox sisters reach us with immediacy and power, drawing the reader into their remarkable lives, and making this one of the most enthralling historical narratives to appear for many years.

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