Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Review: Elizabeth

Elizabeth: The Scandalous Life of the Duchess of Kingston by Claire Gervat

This book promised to be filled to the brim with gossip, just look at that boasting title. After all, it was about the notorious tart, Elizabeth Chudleigh who "accidentally" married two men and showed up to a masquerade partially nude. It had to just be dripping with the goods! Unfortunately for me, this book failed to deliver.

Gervat should be commended for her research which is never a small feat in a biography such as this. What confused me was the time line in the book. I remember being about a quarter of a way through the book and realizing that it had already covered the majority of her life. The dates were scare so while I was in the mindset that Gervat was discussing Elizabeth in her 20's, she was really in her 40's. The majority of the book took place in her last years (I always get so bored in those out of the public eye years!). So it is mainly the pace that bothers me. I like a nice even biography. I was also disappointed in the lack of scandal promised, especially in the topic of her "Iphigenia" masquerade costume. We are left to assume Gervat could not find substantial information about it; I would be entertained with a whole chapter. She did do nicely in dragging out the Peer bigamy trial for as long as she could, so the book is a good source for information on that. Otherwise, I would say a good reference book but not the best in scandalous 18th c biography.

There is one review of this book on Amazon that seems to have a similar opinion, although probably better stated!

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with you, although I used it as a source for my post, I expected so much more out of it. It was rather dry I thought.