There were three issues at stake when I tried to figure out just how I would rate this book excellent book by Hodge. The first is its accuracy, the second its subject matter, and the third is its readability. In the end I gave it a top score because it is so very readable, and very well researched indeed – I still hold some reservations about the subject matter which I will explain later.
First to general comments – I was surprised at just how good this book is – how good and how much fun too. I think Jane Aiken Hodge has really excelled herself. This book certainly shows up in stark comparison to the absolutely appallingly researched book by Venetia Murray which came out at the same time . Hodge, a successful author of many novels based in the extended Regency shows herself to be mistress of her chosen topic. She is clear and very balanced in her presentation. She knows the people she is writing about and I found her marvellous at highlighting what had been relatively obscure facts (How Lady Bessborough hid her illegitimate pregnancies for instance).
I also felt she did a marvellous job in presenting gossip for what it was, and trying to present a balanced picture