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Search tags: Lucy-Worsley
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review 2020-04-03 00:35
The Austen Girls - Lucy Worsley

What I wanted from this book was balls, flirting and epic romance that I root for all the way through, I wanted to feel like I'd stepped into the pages of a Jane Austen novel, I wanted to enjoy every ball and be rubbing my feet in solidarity at the end of the night, I wanted to be devastated when a major event happens and leave the final page with a smile on my face.

What I got from this book was an incomplete, unsatisfying story about two cousins, who were as close as siblings, a couple of balls that only lasted a page or two, an incomplete cast (these novels run on the strength of their overall cast after all), a weird history lesson about thieves and an ending that left me thinking, is that seriously it?

I won't pretend I've read every Austen book but I do love two things - Austen movies and Lucy Worsley. I so surprised at just how bad this book was. There wasn't any romance to root for, I'll spoiler tag who the girls chose below, most of the story didn't seem to go anywhere, and the ending seemed to just cut off with the main character writing the first page of a story, before telling us in the historical notes that she never actually became a writer.

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review 2019-11-04 22:20
The Courtiers by Lucy Worsley
The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace - Lucy Worsley

This is an entertaining, readable, yet well-researched look at the royal courts of George I and II of England (early to mid-18th century). Worsley picks out a handful of people and follows them throughout the book: a royal mistress who was also the queen’s lady-in-waiting; an ambitious painter who got the commission for a palace mural; a few hanger-ons who wrote extensively about their contacts with the royals; a feral child who was brought to court as a curiosity. A solid chunk of the book is also spent on the domestic intrigues of the royal family themselves – and wow, did these people tear each other apart at every opportunity – but we also learn a fair bit about the lives of the people around them. The book is worth reading for its storytelling alone.

Meanwhile, it taught me a lot about how the royal court functioned. The crowds of nobles at court, as it turned out, weren’t just the idle rich; much of what they were scheming for was jobs, which paid actual salaries, upon which many of them depended. Even menial positions close to the royalty were occupied by the nobility: we see a lot of one equerry, a sort of unarmed honor guard whose job was to follow the king around all day without apparently having much personal interaction with him, and who nevertheless is the son of an earl. Overall being a courtier sounds fairly miserable from a modern perspective (and based on their writings, at least some of these folks thought so too): always surrounded by other people, and if you were a woman, you wore incredibly restrictive clothing and took hours getting ready for an event. Though the maids of honor also got to raise quite a ruckus without anyone seeming to care much about their behavior. If you were married to someone in the line of succession though, you were expected to give birth before an audience of high-ranking men.

I did wish Worsley’s writing about the rules of court was more comprehensive. For instance, she mentions that no one was allowed to leave the king’s presence without his permission, which led to one unfortunate lady-in-waiting peeing all over the floor. To which my question is: how did the system normally work to keep this from happening all the time? Did the king spend tons of time granting people permissions to leave? Or was it understood when you attended an event that you had to wait for the king to leave first? Did this rule apply even in the crowded drawing-room gatherings, large enough to attract gate-crashers as well as actual courtiers? Did people dash out whenever the king himself left to use the toilet? Or did they all go around a bit dehydrated to ensure they wouldn’t have to? Or maybe the whole thing was more of an etiquette suggestion that this one lady took way too seriously? Maybe Worsley can’t explain further because no one wrote it down. But the book definitely left me curious about how the practices we see in the narrative worked in other contexts.

At any rate, this is entertaining history, gossipy without being frivolous, and I definitely learned a lot about the Hanovers from it (not having known anything about them previously). Worth reading for those interested in royal history.

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review 2017-06-06 00:00
Maid of the King’s Court
Maid of the King’s Court - Lucy Worsley Rating: To Come

"Thank you Rafflecopter and Candlewick Press for providing this book as a giveaway which I was surprised to have won!"

So, I recieved this book, rather unexpectedly, in the mail today. I must say I was rather surprised and excited. Let me first say, that cover is amazing! I cannot wait to read this book soon!

Full review coming upon reading!
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review 2016-07-04 00:00
Eliza Rose
Eliza Rose - WORSLEY LUCY I liked this story of a member of Henry VIII's court and her adventures, making her Katherine Howards' cousin allowed for a lot of messy realities to be dealt with.
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review 2015-08-31 17:10
The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley
The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock - Lucy Worsley
bookshelves: published-2013, summer-2015, nonfiction, books-about-books-and-book-shops, true-grime, next
Read from August 30 to 31, 2015


Description: Murder - a dark, shameful deed, the last resort of the desperate or a vile tool of the greedy. And a very strange, very English obsession. But where did this fixation develop? And what does it tell us about ourselves? In The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley explores this phenomenon in forensic detail, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nationwide panic in the early nineteenth century, and the case of Frederick and Maria Manning, the suburban couple who were hanged after killing Maria s lover and burying him under their kitchen floor. Our fascination with crimes like these became a form of national entertainment, inspiring novels and plays, prose and paintings, poetry and true-crime journalism. At a point during the birth of modern England, murder entered our national psyche, and it s been a part of us ever since. The Art of the English Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul by one of our finest historians."

Although this sent me off researching fuller versions of incidents mentioned, the worth of The Art of the English Murder itself had little allure.
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