Catherine Curzon, aka Madame Gilflurt, is a lady with an impressive output and I don’t know how she finds the time to write frequent blogs as well as posting many images on social media. In addition she has now written a new book: Life in the Georgian Court, of which I was privileged to receive a copy in advance of publication.
This is not just a history of the four Georges, of which there are already many in existence, but the author uses a novel approach: she has grouped the book into four parts, which she calls ‘Acts’ – Childhood, Marriage, Scandal and Death. Each Act is broadly chronological but, if I may continue the theatrical analogy, it consists of mainly quite short ‘scenes’ or vignettes which concentrate not only on the British royals, but also on the royal families in Europe, such as France, Germany, Spain and Russia, which gives a more international picture. Of course, all of these families were closely connected by kinship and marriage.
Catherine’s witty and lively style means that the book is pleasant and absorbing to read through but also tempting for the reader to dip into it anywhere. Those seeking something juicy will naturally choose to head straight for ‘Scandals’!
Thirty-two illustrations, a timeline of major events of the Georgian period, a bibliography, notes and an index all indicate the amount of scholarly work and attention to detail that Catherine has put into this book and I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending it.
The author’s own Afterword neatly sums up the book and gives the potential reader a taste of what to expect:
“In our journey through the royal courts of eighteenth century Europe, we have peeked in at all manner of events from birth to death and plenty in between.
Some of these events rocked nations and continue to resonate today whether in our halls of learning, ruling families or in the very make up of the continental territories and their modes of government, whilst others came and went with barely anyone noticing at all. Whatever their longterm echoes, in every case the royal houses concerned would certainly have felt the impact of those disastrous marriages, whirlwind affairs, whispered scandals or unusual deaths.
One of the most difficult aspects of writing this compendium of royal tales was deciding which to leave out. I hope that this has been a tantalizing taster of the wonders of the Georgian era and proof that, in the courts of Europe, it wasn’t all powdered wigs, pomp and protocol. There was much more to life that that…”
Life in the Georgian Court will be published by Pen and Sword Books and will be available in the UK on 30 June and in September in the USA. It can be pre-ordered now from the publisher. Catherine has just announced that she has completed the draft of the second book in this series – Kings of Georgian Britain – which we avidly anticipate!