THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH by Jeanine Delpech

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A considered and careful biography of Breton born Louise de Keroualle who was to become the mistress of Charles II of England has its orientation in the facts of a life played out against the exquisite and elaborate intrigue of the times, rather than in the less known facets of a personality which retains the curiosity of the unknown. Ambitious, proud, beautiful but dowerless, the duchess was to be loved by a great King but hated by his people and her own, and had her entree into noble circles as Maid of Honor to the Duchess of Orleans, Charles' sister. Going on to the court of Charles, inconstant and intemperate, she spent a year resisting and refusing, and her capitulation gained her little save wealth and titles. She was still to share him with Nell Gwynne and the Duchess of Cleveland; she never secured the recognition of their son; and he became indifferent to her tears, reproaches, her failing health and fading beauty until just before his death she regained a certain ascendancy... The shameless extravagance and sensuality of these times, the intricate political and romantic dissimulation, all play their part in a profile which is as much a period piece and a substantial restoration of the times.

Publisher: Roy