The Gentleman’s Daughter by Amanda Vickery

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RATING: 4/5

REVIEW: I thoroughly enjoyed my second venture into the historical research of Amanda Vickery, and found this book to be absolutely fascinating in terms of addressing the lives of middle- to upper-class women living in England in the Georgian era. Being a feminist I have a very keen interest in women’s history, but knew very little about the lives of Georgian women aside from what I had learnt from Jane Austen novels. In this book, Vickery tackles her subject with the use of personal items like diaries and letters, which give us a real flavour of what these women went through, and their thoughts and feelings regarding such events. Soon the reader finds themselves developing a personal attachment to women like Elizabeth Parker, whose first happy marriage was destroyed by the death of her husband and who then seems to have suffered a relationship of both mental and physical abuse with her second husband, John Shackleton. The stories of these women can be touching, heartwarming, amusing and even heartbreaking, but they provide a fascinating insight into the private lives of women whom I personally knew so little about. It is this personal element, I feel, that makes the book so easy to read and absorb; the information given about life for these women is accompanied by real primary evidence that adds a new depth to what we already knew about life in Georgian society. I was completely fascinated not only by the vast amount of information presented to me, but also by the way Vickery writes and incorporates such personal details into a vivid account of everyday life. I would very highly recommend this book to anyone studying the Georgian period and also to those with an interest in women’s history.

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