Outstanding reviews for Catherine Ostler’s The Duchess Countess
THE DUCHESS COUNTESS, the brilliantly told and evocative biography of Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, Countess of Bristol by Catherine Ostler, has received excellent reviews since its publication.
In THE DUCHESS COUNTESS, Catherine Ostler takes a fresh look at Elizabeth’s story and seeks to understand and reappraise a woman who refused to be defined by society’s expectations of her.
‘What a superb, gripping, decadent, colourful biography that brings an extraordinary woman and a whole world blazingly to life. Filled new research, written so elegantly with empathy, passion and cool analysis, The Duchess Countess is an unforgettable, unputdownable read that seems both modern and historical, utterly relevant today – featuring a cast of characters from Marie Antoinette to Catherine the Great, but also the life of a woman who is both adventuress and victim, who achieved vast wealth and great notoriety, becoming one of Europe’s most famous women and the star of the most scandalous court case of the century.’ – Simon Sebag Montefiore
‘Although this book is a beautifully written and deeply researched life of one of the most remarkable women of the eighteenth century, it is also a scintillating portrait of an age. Since Elizabeth Chudleigh knew so many of Europe’s most talented, fascinating and important people – as well as its most dissipated rakes – the book is populated by as wide a galere of personalities as one is ever likely to meet in a biography. The author has ransacked every archive and visited every place connected with her subject from London to St Petersburg, and the result is the first ever fair-minded estimation of one of the great adventuresses of history. Funny, intelligent, witty, profound and on occasion moving, this book sets a new standard for eighteenth-century biography writing.’ – Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny and Napoleon the Great
‘Fascinating. Magnificent. Sensitively told. Complex, capricious, beautiful and boldly ambitious, Elizabeth Chudleigh was also one of the most reviled women in Georgian England. In resurrecting her tale, Catherine Ostler allows the Duchess of Kingston to emerge from the prejudices of the past like a resplendent phoenix.’ – Hallie Rubenhold
‘This is a scintillating story superbly told by Catherine Ostler… She has a remarkable ability to demonstrate her deep knowledge of the period without being boring or a show-off. She packs every paragraph with eye-opening detail, making you feel as though you’re living in the 18th century, but never veers from the central story of a woman trying to hold herself together in that vicious society while the men did as they pleased.’ ― The Times, Ysenda Maxtone Graham
‘A rollicking read…[Ostler] tells Elizabeth’s story with admirable style and gusto, and clearly finds her heroine irresistible. A series of gloriously implausible soap-opera twists… anticipating Thackeray’s Becky Sharp… All this would be entertaining enough, but the real drama was yet to come. No wonder the scandal sheets loved it.’ ― Sunday Times, Dominic Sandbrook
‘Before there was Becky Sharp, there was Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston and the greatest social grifter of them all. She lives once again, thanks to Catherine Ostler’s captivating biography. Definitely dangerous to know, pretty bad and quite possibly mad, there’s no better fun to be had than a ringside seat at the tragi-comic circus that was her life.’ – Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
‘Excellent… Ostler has undertaken impressive international archival research and always follows the money meticulously. The book’s spritely, wry tone is a pleasure to read throughout. By the end, however, I was … in awe of Catherine Ostler’s thoughtful portraiture, both of Elizabeth Chudleigh and her century.’― Times Literary Supplement, Ophelia Field
‘A masterclass in biography. Ostler brings her protagonist to life with dazzling prose, meticulous research and unique human sensibility. An immersive, glamorous odyssey stretching from rural England to the glittering palaces of St Petersburg, The Duchess Countess is a technicolour portrait of one of history’s most dynamic, but least understood heroines. An instant classic.’ – Natalie Livingstone, author of The Mistresses of Cliveden
‘Well written and researched…it is a gripping tale.‘ ― Spectator, Anne de Courcy
‘Chudleigh’s life is like the longest and most jaw-dropping society story you’ve ever read. Ostler paints a glittering picture of London in the reign of George II…She also provides a close-up of what she calls “the psychodrama of the Hanoverian succession”. It’s all terrifically entertaining: if you liked Bridgerton, you’ll love this. The story romps along with great style and gusto, and her research is impeccable.’ ― Evening Standard, Marcus Field
Catherine Ostler is Contributing Editor at the Daily Mail. She has been Editor of Tatler, Editor of ES Magazine at the Evening Standard, and Editor of Times Weekend. THE DUCHESS COUNTESS is her first book.
THE DUCHESS COUNTESS was published by Simon & Schuster on 15th April 2021.