Elizabeth Chudleigh, popularly known as the Duchess-Countess, was a glamorous, cunning woman whose wealth and power came wrapped up in impropriety.
PRAISE FOR THE DUCHESS COUNTESS:
Terrifically entertaining: if you liked Bridgerton, you’ll love this.” – The Week “Book of the Week” (UK)
“A rollicking read. [Ostler] tells Elizabeth’s story with admirable style and gusto, and clearly finds her heroine irresistible” – The Sunday Times (UK)
“This is a scintillating story superbly told … [Ostler] has a remarkable ability to demonstrate her deep knowledge of the period without being boring or a show-off. She packs every paragraph with eye-opening detail, making you feel as though you’re living in the 18th century, but never veers from the central story of a woman trying to hold herself together in that vicious society while the men did as they pleased.” – THE TIMES (UK)
“In this sparkling galivant through the 18th century … Ostler has her finger firmly on the pulse of the Georgian aristocracy and has bracingly revived its extravagance and absurdity. …. The book also does an excellent job of shining a light on issues with thought-provoking modern relevance, highlighting the troubling power of the press and the glaring double standards that ground women to a halt while barely slowing down their brothers.” – BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE (UK)
“The book’s spritely, wry tone is a pleasure to read throughout. In the early chapters, it felt cinematic almost to a fault: a quantity of costume and other visual detail that would make a historical adviser redundant on any screen adaptation. By the end, however, I was fantasy-casting the surely inevitable adaptation and in awe of Catherine Ostler’s thoughtful portraiture, both of Elizabeth Chudleigh and her century.”– TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (UK)
ABOUT THE DUCHESS COUNTESS:
The Woman Who Scandalized Eighteenth Century London is the riveting biography of Elizabeth Chudleigh, providing a deeper understanding of her tumultuous life within the context of her era.
Ostler vividly chronicles Chudleigh’s upbringing, through her marriages and beyond her trial.
The story reveals a startling framework for much of our present culture: the narrow line women tread between power and scandal, the double standards of sexuality, and the glare of the public spotlight.
Catherine Ostler takes a fresh look at Elizabeth’s story and seeks to understand the complexities of the notorious courtier—a woman who was by turns, brave, loving and generous but also reckless, greedy and insecure, and who put her own survival first at all costs.
Perfect for fans of The Duchess and Women of Means, this long overdue and evocative biography reappraises Elizabeth’s remarkable story, and out of the past comes an incredibly modern woman who defied society’s expectations of her.
--The details of Chudleigh’s two weddings, which ultimately led to her trial.
--How Chudleigh accumulated her wealth and power using any means necessary.
--The sexist double standards of the Georgian Era that bring context to the trial and Chudleigh’s own actions.
--Why her trial was so newsworthy, to the point of drawing more attention than the American Revolution, which was happening simultaneously.
--Characters in classic literature who were inspired by Elizabeth Chudleigh.
--How her story is representative of gender and power structures of the time, and how many of the inequalities and double standards she faced persist today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
PHOTO CREDIT: JP MASCLET
Catherine Ostler is a Contributing Editor at the Daily Mail, having been Editor-in-Chief at the Tatler and ES magazine, as well as Editor of The Times Weekend.
She has also written for a wide range of other publications, including the Financial Times, Vogue and Newsweek.
She read English at Oxford University, specializing in eighteenth-century literature.
THE DUCHESS COUNTESS published in the UK in March 2021 to critical acclaim. Ostler resides in London, England.