Frances Wilson

The Rollicking Regency

An Aristocratic Affair: The Life of Georgiana’s Sister, Harriet Spencer, Countess of Bessborough

By

Bantam Press 421pp £20 order from our bookshop

Happy families are all alike but each unhappy family, so we have been taught, is unhappy in its own way. The sprawling clan to which Harriet Spencer, Countess of Bessborough, belonged found entirely new ways of ensuring its unhappiness. To begin with, generations of intermarrying meant that only a handful of people in the eighteenth-century aristocracy were not Harriet’s cousins, making it virtually impossible for her ever to leave home; secondly, she had the misfortune to be born to parents who adored one another, which instantly made her an orphan. Nonetheless, Harriet and her elder sister, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, were adored by everyone else (except their husbands), and the two of them had London society sewn up: you were sleeping with either one or the other.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,