Acclaimed as the greatest comic actress of her day, Dora Jordan played a quite different role off-stage as lover to the future king, William IV, third son of George III. In fact, Dora bore no less than ten children and the couple lived happily in a villa on the Thames until William bowed to pressure and abandoned her. Making full use of Dora's letters to William, Claire Tomalin vividly re-creates the royal, political and theatrical worlds of late eighteenth-century England. The story of how Dora moved between stage and home, of how she battled for her family and her career makes a classic tale of royal perfidy and womanly courage.`Intelligent, finely made and wonderfully readable. As gripping as the best fiction.' Jan Dalley, Independent on Sunday.
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Claire Tomalin was born in London in 1933. She has worked in publishing and journalism all her life, becoming literary editor first of the New Statesman and then of the Sunday Times, which she left in 1986. She is the author of, among other books: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft; Shelley and His World Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman and the extraordinarily successful biography of Samuel Pepys. Other books written for Penguin are: Jane Austen: A Life and a collection of memoirs entitled Several Strangers.Review:
'This is a riveting biography...[It] conjures up a rich, alluring period which, in its brittle decadence and love of scandal and flamboyance, often seems closer than the nineteenth century to our own times...the wit and razzle-dazzle of Drury Lane...the cat's cradle of partner swapping among the Sheridans, the Royals and Dora recalls Cosi fan tutte...It is the most haunting biography I have read this year.' -- Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times 'A brilliant book, even better, if possible, than the author's previous study of Dickens's mistress, The Invisible Woman.' -- Antonia Fraser, Literary Review 'Compelling...beautifully constructed... exceptionally well-written and informed by a vivid sense of the past.' -- John Gross, Sunday Telegraph 'An admirable biography...It is hard to find a fault in her performance. It is one her subject would have esteemed for its technique, brio and human warmth.' -- Pat Rogers, Times Literary Supplement
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