THE BIGAMOUS DUCHESS by Muriel Elwood

THE BIGAMOUS DUCHESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Elizabeth Chudleigh, an ambitious girl from Devonshire, is the subject of this fictionalization of history, and her emergence from obscurity to notoriety -- via a successful recovery from smallpox and a chance to be a maid of honor to Augusta, the Princess of Wales, in the mid-1800's -- is based on the royal disturbances and two cases in law. Within the excesses of the Prince's household she falls in love, becomes pregnant, and, with her lover sent on the Grand Tour, she secretly marries Augustus Hervey. Her child dead, she ignores her husband, attracts many, and settles for the Duke of Kingston. Hervey's chances at a title send her scurrying for proof of her marriage; her chance to marry Kingston, after many years as his mistress, send her scurrying to destroy the proof; Hervey's attempt to divorce her ends in a trial which leaves her free to marry Kingston. But with his death she is again forced to appear -- to protect her inheritance- before a jury of her peers, on the charge of bigamy. Her resulting acquittal leaves only the knowledge that her goal- of a title -- has been deception of herself as well as others. For all its well- rooted research into the period and its facts, this clothes its characters with copious detail -- little reality.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1959
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill