Wednesday, 15 April 2015

'The Mistresses of Cliveden' by Natalie Livingstone

Release date:2nd July 2015 
Published by Hutchinson
ISBN No:978 0091954529

Built in the reign of Charles II by the Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden was conceived as an enclave for hunting and hedonism, a luxurious retreat in which the duke could conduct his scandalous affair with the ambitious courtesan, Anna-Maria countess of Shrewsbury. During its twilight in the 1960s as much as its dawn in the 1660s, Cliveden was an emblem of elite misbehaviour and intrigue: some three hundred years after Buckingham realised his vision, the house once again served as the stage for a scandal, the Profumo Affair, which would bring down a government and change the course of British history. In the three hundred years between the Countess and Keeler, the house was occupied by a dynasty of remarkable women: Elizabeth Villiers, an intellectual who brokered the rise and fall of governments; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, a minor German royal who almost became queen of England; Harriet Duchess of Sutherland, the glittering society hostess turned political campaigner; and Nancy Astor, the consummate controversialist who became the first woman to take a seat in parliament. Under the direction of these women, Cliveden provided a stage for political plots and artistic premieres, hosted grieving monarchs and republican radicals, was idealised as a family home, and maligned as a threat to national security. The Mistresses of Cliveden is the story of five women, and a biography of the house in which they lived. It is by turns a historical epic, a political thriller, a family drama, and an intimate history of the relationships between people and place. Above all, it is a story about sex and power, and the ways in which exceptional women have evaded, exploited, and confronted the expectations of their times.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

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