❮Read❯ ➵ Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832 Author Stella Tillyard – Dolove.info
When a book lover like yours truly finally discovers the existence of a wonderful place like goodreads, there are so many new books available to discover that its hard to remember to update your lists with some of your old friends all time favorites This one is an old, dear friend, ever since years ago i stumbled upon the BBC adaptation of it and was immediately fascinated by these sisters now that i think of it, that one was perhaps one of very few adaptations where the book is indeed given a live version that does it justice Since all of us, at any given point and regardless of motive, end up peeking into the lives of others, it is perhaps no surprise to see the genre of historical biography have such success we all love even just 5 m of gossiping.now now, admit it, don t be shy So what tells apart a fantastic bio a good bio a dry sleep inducing one the life being told on paper matters naturally and here you have it all but also just as important is the storytelling skills of the author, and Stella Tillyard is perfect for this job These are the lives of the Lennox sisters Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah who were, lets put it this way, the Mitfords of Regency London Don t know the Mitfords please please do get acquainted, they are the definition of FASCINATINGbut i am straying from my topic apologies These 4 ladies, daughters of the 2nd Duke of Richmond and great granddaughters of good old rascal himself King Charles II, were the belles of the ball in late regency s society, and my god what lives they had Dear great grandpa would have been proud Each of these sisters lived an extraordinary life,having been educated far above the usual standard required of upper class young women of their day.Lets see if my memory serves me right Caroline elopes with the radical Whig politician Henry Fox at the age of 21,against the wishes of her father, gets cut out from the family but later on resumes ties with them.Proceeds to have 3 very dissolute sons who turn out to be the cause of many sorrows in her life Don t get me wrong, that is not all she does, i am just providing the juiciest bits..lol.Emily At the age of 16, after the Caroline scandal, she makes the right match by marrying the Earl of Kildare and 1st Duke of Leinster Moves to Ireland and has a very prolific marriage, with 16 children in total Sadly,but perhaps not surprisingly, it is an unhappy union and later on, she successfully scandalizes everyone when one year after her husbands death she marries her children s tutor William Ogilvie with whom she does indeed find happiness.Louise At 8 years of age she is sent to live in Ireland with Emily, after her parents death,later on she marries Thomas Conolly with whom she does have a long happy union although sadly, for the time, with no offspring.Sarah At 6 she goes with her sister Louise to Ireland to be raised by Emily Rud to have been at once time considered as bride by King George III, she ends up marrying one Charles Bunbury, with whom she has no children Starting an affair with Lord William Gordon, she has a daughter with him Louisa Bunbury Her husband ends up divorcing her and later on she marries George Napier with whom she goes on to have 8 children and a very happy union.And there is also Cecilia sent to Ireland with Louise and Sarah when she is just 1 year old, she ends up dying at the age of 19 from what was presumed to be tuberculosis.Reads like a vaguely familiar story well that is because although with a few centuries in between, their lives and their sorrows happiness are not exclusive to an agein any way, shape or form, lives like these are lived at any given time by women all over the world.The particular beauty of this one book is that Stella Tillyard lets the sisters do most of the talking she uses the many thousand of letters these women exchanged in their lifetime to let them speak with the reader across time and tell us their tale.The author here does an amazing job, not interfering too much, letting the sources work their magic by simply binding their story in an easier to read book.The only reason i don t give it 5 stars is because at times i found the political background that she inserts given Henry Fox s presence it isn t surprising a little tiresome to read but that s about it.Other than thatworth the time and the trouble these ladies could be me, you or your BFFtake a peek, you wont regret it Happy Readings 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. The Lennox Sisters Great Granddaughters Of A King, Daughters Of A Cabinet Minister, And Wives Of Politicians And Peers Lived Lives Of Real Public Significance, But The Private Texture Of Their Family Centered World Mattered To Them And They Shared Their Experiences With Each Other In Countless Letters From This Hitherto Unknown Archive, Stella Tillyard Has Constructed A Group Biography Of Privileged Eighteenth Century Women Who, She Shows, Have Much To Tell Us About Our Own Time Stella Tillyard is a perfectionist Having done exceptionally detailed research into one aristocratic family, she presents a delightful insight into the lives of the privileged class over the span of several generations. A strongly written, surprisingly detailed account of four quasi royal English sisters, living and loving and thriving and having a high time in England during the time of George III The four Lennox sisters a fifth never married and lived quietly lived nothing even close to quietly One sister eloped with an up and coming politician almost twice her age another sister had a passionate love for her Irish peer husband, then after his death married her children s much younger tutor and gave birth to 22 that s no typo children between them another sister ran away with a lover and scadalously was divorced by her husband another sister lived a rich life in Ireland constantly scared of rebellion, and often acted as a connection between the sisters Tillyard uses the sisters thousands of letters to each other and others to tell the story of these aristocrats. Wow This is a fabulously good biography, one of the best I ve ever read erudite but juicy, and irresistibly readable from start to finish A combination of the writing and the subjects themselves made it so amazing to me these four Lennox sisters are just ridiculously interesting, every one of them intelligent, passionate, sympathetic and flawed in their own diverse ways And yet, I ve read biographies before of figures who are just as appealing, that still somehow failed to leap off the page like this one did for me Amanda Foreman s Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire comes to mind So I m giving a lot of the credit for my newfound collective girl crush on the Lennox sisters to Stella Tillyard s sparkling and vivid telling of their story While concentrating solely on these sisters, she manages to give the most fascinating panoramic look at the whole time period in which they lived. An excellent group biography of 4 of the Lennox sisters which shows what it was like to be an aristocratic woman during the period I thought that Tillyard did a very good job of showing what it was like to live through a scandal and how one might become brought back into society to some degree afterwards. Love this historical period I watched the BBC adaptation and when i saw it was adapted from a book I bought it right away wonderful read Stella Tillyard takes the lives of these amazing young sisters to build a very compelling family saga that encompasses most of the 18th century From the Ancient Regime to the French Revolution, with the Irish revolts and the Pitt government included Such an interesting story of these really remarkably modern girls and their role in historical events. Reread while traveling.This biography of the Lennox sisters who comprise two generations covers the 1740s to the end of the Regency period and the beginning of the Victorian era, doing an excellent job of sketching in the cultural changes in the English and Irish aristocracy over these decades.Relying upon a richness of primary source quotes, Tillyard takes the time to introduce the complicated really tangled family trees here, doing an admirable job of elucidating the characters of the sisters and the men they married She also takes the time to develop cultural idiosyncrasies and evolving fashions, from gambling to real estate to decorating those vast mansions they were so fond of building in order to enhance family and political prestige If you know some of the colorful figures of the period like Horry Walpole, George Selwyn, Lord Hervey, Mary Wortley Montagu, and Madame du Deffand the mentions when these people pop up will add layers to the on going story.Tillyard takes the time to sketch in the causes as well as the progress of the doomed Irish Revolt of 1798, inevitable after the high hearted celebration by Edward Fitzgerald and his band who hailed the era of the common man and democracy in 1792, before the Terror ruined the French Revolution There are some sections at the beginnings of some chapters where she indulges in some fictional explorations of their inner minds, but I could accept these as the scenes she paints resonate with the facts so carefully introduced.One quibble I had, and it s small as I know that the alternative would have added massive word count, was relatively little development of their children, other than Eddy Fitzgerald Charles James Fox is mainly introduced through his gambling, with scant attention paid to his political views and life, and none at all to the discovery on his death of his secret marriage and family.I also think a little attention might have been spent on Susan Fox Strangways, who was found at the center of the storm so often, and who seemed to wiggle free time after time until she, too, mistook reality for fantasy and eloped with her actor.The focus stays on the Lennox sisters and their husbands and lovers poor Cecelia, not mentioned in the title getting her innings at last and comes to a graceful close after the death of Ogilvie, the last of them left alive. Aristocrats is a brilliant group biography of a family of noble sisters during the Hanoverian period in England The Lennox sisters were great granddaughters of Charles II through his mistress Louise de Keroualle , daughters of the Duke of Richmond, and wives and mothers to politicians and peers, but also fascinating people in their own rights All their lives they wrote letters voluminously, to each other and to other family members, and it s these letters that Tillyard uses in her reconstruction of their lives and their world, quoting liberally so that we hear the sisters in their own words as often as possible Tillyard s portrayal of Hanoverian England is wonderfully rich and engaging, from politics and society to the details of daily life, and her portraits of the sisters and their relationship are acutely realized Aristocrats is that rare and wonderful thing a non fiction book so engrossing that it s hard to put down.