First impressions can be quite telling. Miss Jenkins, known for her bestselling second and third impressions of Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth the Great, 1959, and Elizabeth and Leicester, 1962) here gives us her initial portrait along with that of nine other great ladies of English history. The book, which came out in England in 1955 (where it is out of print), appears here for the first time. It lacks the three-dimensionality of her full-length biographies, of course, but these portraits offer an easy initiation into the intricacies of British history. The ladies are diva Martha Ray, Elizabeth Tudor, the Duchess of Marlborough, Fair Rosamond, actress Becky Wells, novelist Elizabeth Inchbald, courtesans Harriet Wilson and Mary Fitton, the Duchess of Lauderdale, and Lady Blessington. The method varies. Lady Marl-borough appears as the nasty lady behind the Duke. Martha Ray as a sweet-tempered Carmen. Elizabeth, as ever, is brilliant, beautiful, bold. The book will attract some of the standard Jenkins readers, and perhaps make a few new ones. Some of the stories are well-known, at least three are almost new, and all bear reading. The book is about great ladies, and, hence, also about men. Harriet Wilson steals the show. For example, the first line of Harriet's memoirs: ""I shall not say how or why I became at fifteen the mistress of the Earl of Craven."" Miss Jenkins, however, tastefully tells all.