England's Mistress

  • by Kate Williams
  • Narrated by Josephine Bailey
  • 15 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Emma Hamilton was England's first superstar. She fought her way out of dire poverty to become a fashion icon, an Ambassador's wife, a confidante of both Marie Antoinette and the Queen of Naples, and the mistress of Lord Nelson, England's greatest military hero. Emma set out to make herself a star, and she succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. By her early 20s, she was the most painted woman of her day. Her "Attitudes" — classical postures in diaphanous outfits — thrilled aristocrats and intellectuals, while her innovations in fashion and dress changed the way women looked forever. Shrewdly manipulating the media's fascination with her, Emma made herself into the most famous woman in England, desired by every man she met, adored by thousands, and, for a time, very rich. Yet, she was willing to throw it all away for the man she loved. Drawing on hundreds of previously undiscovered letters, England's Mistress, told with a novelist's flair, follows Emma's dramatic journey from the slums to the Royal Court of Naples, and from the brothels of St. James' to the tragedy and glory of the Napoleonic wars. Muse and mother, wife and mistress, celebrity and villain, victim and survivor: Emma Hamilton was one of the most remarkable women in British history.

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What the Critics Say

"Absorbing, well-crafted....Williams' biography is well paced and pitch perfect, as competent in its storytelling as it is in its authoritative analysis of 18th-century class distinctions." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Glad I live now...not then!

This was an extremely interesting book in many ways. The story of Emma herself is captivating, but as her tale unwinds you are given a vivid picture of life in her era. I'm so glad to live now and not then! Things were really tough if you were born into the wrong social strata. The descriptions of clothing and hair fashion were also intriguing. Overall, a well-read interesting listen.
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- Eunice

Loving Portrait of a Woman Who Partied

This book was outstanding. I knew very little about Emma's life...but after listening I felt like a guest at one of her fetes. The only negative element (if any) could have been the biographer's gushing of her subject. It NEVER, however, got to the point of cloying. The reader was sumptuous in her deliver. Pitch perfect. This book made me want to listen to other books about Nelson and their friends and the way they lived their lives. Think Marie-Antoinette with less money and Emma got to keep her head!
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- Aaron Elliott

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-06-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio