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The Deal Is On
The Mistresses of Cliveden Hardback Book

Today's Deal: The Mistresses of Cliveden Hardback Book

Presented by: Penguin Random House

Highlights

  • A page turner from start to finish
  • Described as a "utterly fascinating and completely beguling account..."
  • A tale of three centuries of scandal, power and intrigue

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The Details

“Natalie Livingstone has written an utterly fascinating and completely beguiling account of three centuries of high living, high politics, and high drama at one of Britain's most famous stately homes. A page turner from start to finish, Mistresses of Cliveden perfectly illustrates why social history rules the shelves; it's history with all the good stuff left in.” Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Built in the reign of Charles II by the Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden was conceived as an enclave for hunting and hedonism, a luxurious retreat in which the duke could conduct his scandalous affair with the ambitious courtesan, Anna-Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. During its twilight in the 1960s as much as its dawn in the 1660s, Cliveden was an emblem of elite misbehaviour and intrigue: some three hundred years after Buckingham realised his vision, the house once again served as the stage for a scandal, the Profumo Affair, which would bring down a government and change the course of British history.

In the three hundred years between the Countess and Keeler, the house was occupied by a dynasty of remarkable women: Elizabeth Villiers, an intellectual who brokered the rise and fall of governments; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, a minor German royal who almost became queen of England; Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, the glittering society hostess turned political campaigner; and Nancy Astor, the consummate controversialist who became the first woman to take a seat in parliament. Under the direction of these women, Cliveden provided a stage for political plots and artistic premieres, hosted grieving monarchs and republican radicals, was idealised as a family home, and maligned as a threat to national security.

The Mistresses of Cliveden is the story of five women, and a biography of the house in which they lived. It is by turns a historical epic, a political thriller, a family drama, and an intimate history of the relationships between people and place. Above all, it is a story about sex and power, and the ways in which exceptional women have evaded, exploited, and confronted the expectations of their times.

Natalie Livingstone was born and raised in London. She graduated with a first class degree in history from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1998. She began her career as a feature writer at the Daily Express and now contributes to Tatler, Harper's Bazaar, US Vogue, Elle, The Times and the Mail on Sunday. Natalie lives in London with her husband and two children.

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