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Publisher's Summary

When Sir William Temple (1628 - 1699) and Dorothy Osborne (1627 - 1695) began their passionate love affair, civil war was raging in Britain, and their families - parliamentarians and royalists, respectively - did everything to keep them apart. Yet the couple went on to enjoy a marriage and a sophisticated partnership unique in its times. Surviving the political chaos of the era, the Black Plague, the Great Fire of London, and the deaths of all their nine children, William and Dorothy made a life together for more than 40 years. Drawing upon extensive research and the Temples' own extraordinary writings - including Dorothy's dazzling letters, one of the glories of English literature - Jane Dunn gives us an utterly captivating dual biography, the first to examine Dorothy's life as an intellectual equal to her diplomat husband. While she has been known to posterity as the very symbol of upper-class, 17th century domestic English life, Dunn makes clear that she was a woman of great complexity, of passion and brilliance, noteworthy far beyond her role as a wife and mother. The remarkable story of William and Dorothy's life together - illuminated here by the author's insight and her vivid sense of place and time - offers a rare glimpse into the heart and spirit of one of the most turbulent and intriguing eras in British history.
©2008 Jane Dunn (P)2008 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Ron L. Caldwell on 11-07-08


Did I say, 'repetitious'? Yikes. Two very compelling characters, but we hear so often in the book about how wonderful their letters were that I would rather have listened to them, without the ponderously, well, repetitious and half-digested drivel that passes as history. One wonders whether publishers employ copy editors anymore.

Fine reader, though. Excellent diction, phrasing, and impeccable foreign pronunciation.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Cariola on 12-26-08

Interesting, but . . .

. . . somewhat repetitive. Using primarily their letters, the author tells of the love between William Temple and Dorothy Osborne in seventeenth-century England. The courtship was the most intriguing part. William fell in love with Dorothy and resisted his parents efforts to marry him off to a woman with a better dowry and a more prestigious family for over seven years before the two families gave in. Once they marry, the pace of the book slows and much of the focus turns to William's career moves. Still, a fascinating look at aristocratic life in the times.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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