Thursday, August 5, 2010

Upcoming Book Review: The Courtiers by Lucy Worsley

I've been devouring my advance copy of this delicious book The Courtiers, Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace by Lucy Worsley. Set to be released on August 17th in the USA, it is a rare gem among history books. The author, who is chief curator of Royal Historic Palaces,  tells tales of the Georgian court during the period 1714-1760 by bringing to life a cast of characters found in the paintings by William Kent that still line the walls of the king's staircase of Kensington Palace.

This passage from page 51 is a sample of the author's engaging and entertaining style of writing:
"Last among Princess Caroline's wing women came the unruly Maids of Honour. These well-born, unmarried young ladies, earning 200 pounds a year, were unlikely to remain single for long. Among the current crop, Mary Meadows was the steadiest, and Sophy Howe the flightiest. Then there was the elegant Molly Lepell, of course, and the broad-minded Mary Bellenden.
The Maids of Honour were all well known to the bawdy balladeers and gossip columnists of London. When the king had ordered them all to leave St. James's Palace, the characteristic reactions of the individual maids were trumpeted abroad:
     Up leapt Lepell and firsk'd away
     As though she ran on wheels;
     Miss Meadows made a woeful face,
     Miss Howe be-pissed her heels."

On Monday, August 9th, I'll post my review and later in the week I hope to post my interview with the author Lucy Worsley.