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The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home
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Random House Publishing Group 2016
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For fans of Downton Abbey comes an immersive historical epic about a lavish English manor and a dynasty of rich and powerful women who ruled the estate over three centuries of misbehavior, scandal, intrigue, and passion. Five miles from Windsor Castle, home of the royal family, sits the Cliveden estate. Overlooking the Thames, the mansion is flanked by two wings and surrounded by lavish gardens. Throughout its storied history, Cliveden has been a setting for misbehavior, intrigue, and passion—from its salacious, deadly beginnings in the seventeenth century to the 1960s Profumo Affair, the sex scandal that toppled the British government. Now, in this immersive chronicle, the manor’s current mistress, Natalie Livingstone, opens the doors to this prominent house and lets the walls do the talking. Built during the reign of Charles II by the Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden attracted notoriety as a luxurious retreat in which the duke could conduct his scandalous affair with the ambitious courtesan Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. In 1668, Anna Maria’s cuckolded husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, challenged Buckingham to a duel. Buckingham killed Shrewsbury and claimed Anna Maria as his prize, making her the first mistress of Cliveden. Through the centuries, other enigmatic and indomitable women would assume stewardship over the estate, including Elizabeth, Countess of Orkney and illicit lover of William III, who became one of England’s wealthiest women; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, the queen that Britain was promised and then denied; Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, confidante of Queen Victoria and a glittering society hostess turned political activist; and the American-born Nancy Astor, the first female member of Parliament, who described herself as an “ardent feminist” and welcomed controversy. Though their privileges were extraordinary, in Livingstone’s hands, their struggles and sacrifices are universal. Cliveden weathered renovation and restoration, world conflicts and cold wars, societal shifts and technological advances. Rich in historical and architectural detail, The Mistresses of Cliveden is a tale of sex and power, and of the exceptional women who evaded, exploited, and confronted the expectations of their times.Praise for The Mistresses of Cliveden“Theatrical festivities, political jockeying and court intrigues are deftly described with a verve and attention to domestic comforts that show the author at her best. . . . [Livingstone’s] portraits of strenuous and assertive women who resisted subjection, sometimes deploying their sexual allure to succeed, on other occasions drawing on their husband’s wealth, are astute, spirited, and empathetic.”The Wall Street Journal “Missing Downton Abbey already? This tome promises ‘three centuries of scandal, power, and intrigue’ and Natalie Livingstone definitely delivers.”Good Housekeeping “Lively . . . The current chatelaine—the author herself—deserves no small credit for keeping the house’s legend alive. . . . Any of her action-filled chapters would merit a mini-series.”The New York Times Book Review “Though the personal tales and tidbits are fascinating, and the sensational details of these women’s lives will intrigue Downton Abbey devotees, the real star of the story is Cliveden.”Booklist “Lovers of modern English history and the scandals that infiltrated upper-crust society will find much to enjoy in this...
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Street Date:
06/14/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780553392081
ASIN:
B015LYV0W6
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APA Citation (style guide)

Natalie Livingstone. (2016). The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Natalie Livingstone. 2016. The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Natalie Livingstone, The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home. Random House Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Natalie Livingstone. The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home. Random House Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: 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, Vogue, Elle, The Times, and The Mail on Sunday. She lives in London with her husband and two children. The Mistresses of Cliveden is her first book.
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title
The Mistresses of Cliveden
fullDescription
For fans of Downton Abbey comes an immersive historical epic about a lavish English manor and a dynasty of rich and powerful women who ruled the estate over three centuries of misbehavior, scandal, intrigue, and passion.
Five miles from Windsor Castle, home of the royal family, sits the Cliveden estate. Overlooking the Thames, the mansion is flanked by two wings and surrounded by lavish gardens. Throughout its storied history, Cliveden has been a setting for misbehavior, intrigue, and passion—from its salacious, deadly beginnings in the seventeenth century to the 1960s Profumo Affair, the sex scandal that toppled the British government. Now, in this immersive chronicle, the manor’s current mistress, Natalie Livingstone, opens the doors to this prominent house and lets the walls do the talking.
Built during the reign of Charles II by the Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden attracted notoriety as a luxurious retreat in which the duke could conduct his scandalous affair with the ambitious courtesan Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. In 1668, Anna Maria’s cuckolded husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, challenged Buckingham to a duel. Buckingham killed Shrewsbury and claimed Anna Maria as his prize, making her the first mistress of Cliveden.
Through the centuries, other enigmatic and indomitable women would assume stewardship over the estate, including Elizabeth, Countess of Orkney and illicit lover of William III, who became one of England’s wealthiest women; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, the queen that Britain was promised and then denied; Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, confidante of Queen Victoria and a glittering society hostess turned political activist; and the American-born Nancy Astor, the first female member of Parliament, who described herself as an “ardent feminist” and welcomed controversy. Though their privileges were extraordinary, in Livingstone’s hands, their struggles and sacrifices are universal.
Cliveden weathered renovation and restoration, world conflicts and cold wars, societal shifts and technological advances. Rich in historical and architectural detail, The Mistresses of Cliveden is a tale of sex and power, and of the exceptional women who evaded, exploited, and confronted the expectations of their times.
Praise for The Mistresses of Cliveden

“Theatrical festivities, political jockeying and court intrigues are deftly described with a verve and attention to domestic comforts that show the author at her best. . . . [Livingstone’s] portraits of strenuous and assertive women who resisted subjection, sometimes deploying their sexual allure to succeed, on other occasions drawing on their husband’s wealth, are astute, spirited, and empathetic.”The Wall Street Journal
“Missing Downton Abbey already? This tome promises ‘three centuries of scandal, power, and intrigue’ and Natalie Livingstone definitely delivers.”Good Housekeeping
“Lively . . . The current chatelaine—the author herself—deserves no small credit for keeping the house’s legend alive. . . . Any of her action-filled chapters would merit a mini-series.”The New York Times Book Review
“Though the personal tales and tidbits are fascinating, and the sensational details of these women’s lives will intrigue Downton Abbey devotees, the real star of the story is Cliveden.”Booklist
“Lovers of modern English history and the scandals that infiltrated upper-crust society will find much to enjoy in this...
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Daily Express
      • content: "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, The 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 A World on Fire "A wonderful voyage through the fascinating history of Cliveden--this is a brilliant book full of gripping personalities and beautiful detail."--Kate Williams, author of Ambition and Desire "Well-researched, well-written and narratively enthralling . . . Romance, sex, scandal and political intrigue have been central to the history of the house for more than three centuries and Mrs. Livingstone . . . has chronicled it all with scholarship, readability, wit and a fine eye for telling detail."--Evening Standard "[A] wide-ranging and deliciously enjoyable biography of one of England's grandest country houses . . . Livingstone interweaves the huge panorama of three centuries of British history. . . . But at the heart of the book, the seductive power of the house itself affects each generation of women."--Daily Telegraph "Her scholarship is considerable and yet she wears it lightly, producing a book which is always lively, entertaining and immensely readable."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 28, 2016
        This lively, accessible work from English writer Livingstone follows five mistresses of Cliveden from the time of late-17th-century Restoration-era rakes to the swinging 1960s. Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury, and Elizabeth, Countess of Orkney, were louche paramours of prominent noblemen. Augusta, Princess
        of Wales, was the wife of a progressive but doomed heir. Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, was a do-gooder and close friend of Queen Victoria. The last mistress, American-born Nancy Astor, became the first woman elected to Parliament. Her son presided over the estate’s most notorious modern scandal, 1963’s Profumo Affair, when Britain’s war minister shared the charms of party girl Christine Keeler with a possible Soviet spy. Cliveden flourished as a center of hedonism, culture, and politics. King George III, who aroused the ire of American colonists, spent a portion of his childhood there. Guests included Jonathan Swift, William Gladstone, and Lawrence of Arabia. Downton Abbey this is not: it traces the saga of unrelated women, not a single aristocratic family. Sutherland and Astor truly influenced history; other women of Cliveden were activists, and all chafed under the restrictions imposed on women. Packed with details about architecture, gardens, clothing, and manners, Livingstone’s debut is an entertaining, anecdotal popular history. Photos.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2016
        A series of biographies of the women connected to Cliveden, the house made famous in the Profumo affair. The first, Anna Maria (1642-1702), was widowed when her lover, the Duke of Buckingham, killed her husband in a duel in 1668. Scandal was a way of life in Restoration England, and Anna Maria eventually moved into Buckingham's London home--with him and his wife. By the time Cliveden was completed, they had separated. Elizabeth Villiers, a cousin to Buckingham, was educated with two of James II's daughters, Mary and Anne. Elizabeth accompanied Mary when she married William of Orange and promptly had an affair with him. After Queen Mary's death, William granted Irish estates to Elizabeth that made her the richest woman in England, which made for a convenient marriage to the Earl of Orkney and life at Cliveden. Orkney's heir leased the property to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his successful marriage to Augusta of Saxe Gotha proved to be a contrast to the rigidity of the court. Harriet, raised at Castle Howard and a great friend of Queen Victoria, married the even wealthier Duke of Sutherland. Together, they created a calm retreat at Cliveden where Victoria often came for walks on the grounds. Harriet was also a prolific political and social campaigner, and she fought against slavery in the United States. Throughout its history, Cliveden was a haven for great minds, and famous guests were the norm for all the women of Cliveden. Nancy Astor (1879-1964) was an acerbic, quick-tempered woman. Like her predecessors, she changed conceptions of female power and served as a member of Parliament for 25 years. She made Cliveden a symbol of highly politicized forms of power, class and ideology. In her debut book, Livingstone ably avoids tabloidlike gossip to profile five remarkable women, and she provides a helpful cast of characters at the beginning of the story. Readers who enjoy English history will be happy to have this in their libraries.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2016

        Journalist and debut author Livingstone examines the lives of five memorable women, from Anna Maria Talbot in the 17th century to Nancy Astor in the 20th, and the mansion that connects them. As the current "mistress of Cliveden," the author's passion for the subject comes through in her extensive research, providing a thorough look at the drama involving these figures. The book not only delves into their varying roles in English society but uses their stories to craft the estate's history as well. However, Livingstone's commitment to encapsulating the goings-on of the period can confuse the narrative, in places taking attention away from the women's compelling struggles and triumphs in order to describe Cliveden's features or introduce concurrent events happening at the time. Whereas books such as John Martin Robinson's Requisitioned: The British Country House in the Second World War offer overviews of houses and their relevance to historical occasions, this work uniquely approaches the background of a single residence and the tremendous women who occupied its rooms. VERDICT Lovers of modern English history and the scandals that infiltrated upper-crust society will find much to enjoy in this work.--Katie McGaha, County of Los Angeles P.L.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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For fans of Downton Abbey comes an immersive historical epic about a lavish English manor and a dynasty of rich and powerful women who ruled the estate over three centuries of misbehavior, scandal, intrigue, and passion.
Five miles from Windsor Castle, home of the royal family, sits the Cliveden estate. Overlooking the Thames, the mansion is flanked by two wings and surrounded by lavish gardens. Throughout its storied history, Cliveden has been a setting for misbehavior, intrigue, and passion—from its salacious, deadly beginnings in the seventeenth century to the 1960s Profumo Affair, the sex scandal that toppled the British government. Now, in this immersive chronicle, the manor's current mistress, Natalie Livingstone, opens the doors to this prominent house and lets the walls do the talking.
Built during the reign of Charles II by the Duke of Buckingham, Cliveden attracted notoriety as a luxurious retreat in which the duke could conduct his scandalous...
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