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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.
©2006 Kate Williams (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"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
5 out of 5 stars
By jojonow on 06-12-08

Riveting.

The rags to riches and back again story of Emma Hamilton, the "rock star" of her times, is not only epic, but also illustrative the plight of poor young women of the day. Without her legendary beauty, Emma wouldn't have stood a chance of digging her way out of poverty. In fact, readers learn early on that Emma's early education and opportunity, such as it was, came as a result of her mother's liaison with one of her "betters."
Equally compelling is the look into the character of Lord Nelson,whose own meteoric rise and outsized ego were remarkable. All the characters are well drawn, the times vividly portrayed. A fabulous read.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Eunice on 07-25-08

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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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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