"A gripping account of her rakish progress from a penniless, beautiful nobody to a professional beauty bankrupted by her unpaid role as the Prince of Wales' mistress...Laura Beatty's book is as robustly improving as it is engrossing." - "Daily Telegraph"
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Just the name evokes images of scandal, gossip and decadent beauty. Emily Le Breton was born on Jersey in 1853, the sixth child of the Dean of St Heliers. By the age of 24 she was Lillie Langtry, one of the best-known women in England, whose postcard was sold in every town. The lover of the Prince of Wales (among others), adored by Oscar Wilde, and painted by Millais, she could only fall from grace.
Laura Beatty's imaginative biography concentrates on the tight band of years that cover her ascendancy. 1877 was her annus mirabilis; her entry to London society, after months of waiting to be discovered, was dazzling, and the hordes of journalists and artists that descended termed her variously the Jersey Lily, Venus Annodomini, the modern Helen. What was a girl to do? In her trademark black dress she sat for the painters, simpered for society, and pondered her future. Beatty deals passionately with this time of quandary, as Lillie considers a woman already irrevocably scarred by the public's attentions, resulting in the mix of insecurity and self-confidence necessary for her subsequent career on the stage. Lillie ended her life in comparative calm, successful in business, with, ironically, the companionship of a woman after so many years in the company of increasingly dissolute men.
Lillie Langtry was a beautiful, haunted woman, who became a moderate, if hardworking, actress. Importantly, she survived. By the end of this sympathetic and thoughtful book one is left wondering what she might have achieved had she not been blessed, or cursed, with such a pretty face. --David VincentReview:
"The most original and penetrating book on Mrs. Langtry that has been written... fresh and revealing." - "Literary Review""Beatty writes with wit and gusto--The tone of her book - racy, sharp-witted and elegantly aphoristic - is nicely appropriate to its subject matter." - "Sunday Times"
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Book Description Vintage, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110099287854