I’m back with another book review! And again, it’s a book that the lovely Pen and Swords have sent me!
Lady of the House by Charlotte Furness:
This book tells the true stories of three genteel women who were born, raised, lived and died within the world of England’s Country Houses. This is not the story of ‘seen and not heard’ women, these are incredible women who endured tremendous tragedy and worked alongside their husbands to create a legacy that we are still benefitting from today.
Harriet Leveson-Gower, Countess Granville was the second born child of the infamous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who married her aunt’s lover, raised his illegitimate children and reigned supreme as Ambassadress over the Parisian elite.
Lady Mary Isham lived at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire with her family where, despite great tragedy, she was responsible for developing a house and estate whilst her husband remained ‘the silent Baronet’.
Elizabeth Manners, Duchess of Rutland hailed from Castle Howard and used her upbringing to design and build a Castle and gardens at Belvoir suitable for a Duke and Duchess that inspired a generation of country house interiors.
These women were expected simply to produce children, to be active members of society, to give handsomely to charity and to look the part. What these three remarkable women did instead is develop vast estates, oversee architectural changes, succeed in business, take a keen role in politics as well as successfully managing all the expectations of an aristocratic lady.
I have read a few books published by Pen and Sword, and this is definitely my favourite so far! I read it all in two days, which I never do with any book!
This book tells the story of three women, and their journey from daughter, to mother, wife and lady of the house. For anyone that though victorian women sat on their backsides all day, this book would be really eye opening! It covers every detail of what these women got up to, including the control they had in their households! They did not work under their husbands, but instead a lot of the time they made all the executive decisions and one of the amazing women even worked with her husband and Ambassadress in France!
I did also find it fascinating reading about these women’s attitudes to their husbands illegitimate children! A lot of the time they took them in and raised them as their own! Which is the opposite of what a lot of people assume the victorian attitude was, and I’m pretty sure that kind of open mindedness/acceptance wouldn’t even occur today!
One of my favourite sections of this book was the part where Charlotte talked about how much time people spent on London. It was very common for people to have a second house in London and to spend the ‘season’ there, taking part in social events and when daughters came of age, looking for a husband!
I completely recommend this book if you are at all interested in the time period, women’s history or the lives of the lives of less famous people! I rate this book 5/5 stars!
See you again soon!