Email this review


Sophie Dorothea of Celle, the poor unfortunate lady who forms the subject of this tearjerker in baroque trappings, never wanted to marry her cousin George Louis of Hanover, the boorish wastrel who was one day to become England's King George I. No matter; dynastic interest commanded the match which produced two children and made Sophie the mother of George II and the grandmother of Frederick the Great. But the author doesn't spend much time on the labyrinthian politics of 17th century German principalities, and despite the crowded crisscross of English-German marriages and the wars of Louis XIV ravaging all Europe, this is historically a vacuous book. Sophie Dorothea, despised by her husband, soon took the Swedish Count Konigsmarck as her lover. Naturally, he was handsome, dashing, brave, and true (""an equal mixture of Mars and Adonis"") and wrote her reams of passionate and jealous letters (""I kiss your knees"") and some very bad poetry unsparingly reproduced by the author of this sodden who-was-sleeping-with-whom narrative of court intrigue and villainy. Eventually Sophie's paramour was basely murdered by court conspirators who included the redoubtable Countess Platen; Sophie, divorced by her husband, spent the last 32 years of her life as the Dutchess of Ahlden, kept under castle-arrest as a diplomatic embarrassment to George whose star was rising. For those committed to the true-lovers-cruelly-parted genre.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1972
Publisher: Braziller