Title: Aristocrats: Sarah, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832
Author: Stella Tillyard
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
# of Pages: 412
Yay, another non-fiction book for me! I recently bought the BBC/PBS adaptation of this biography, and so decided to read the book as well. By the way, the movie adaptation is lovely- and I highly recommend it!
The book is really just as great. Tillyard uses the Lennox sisters, great-granddaughters of Charles II and daughters of the Duke of Richmond, as a starting point to inform readers about many aspects of Georgian society and life in the nobility during the time of George II and George III. These sisters were wives and mothers to highly influential politicians, Irish freedom fighters, and military higher-ups. They are, therefore, excellent fodder for a biography.
We learn about how to manage a country house, how to write a letter, how to cure children’s ailments, how to run a government, and how to create a scandal. Really, very useful information to know. She litters her book with quotes from letters between the Lennox sisters and their husbands, and uses the family as a model for Georgian life. She succeeds very well in this goal, as one becomes very immersed in the family and in the era.
I, being a Georgian aficionado, loved every minute of it. You might not, of course. But there is something so fascinating to me about reading letters from over 200 years ago in which the same sorts of things are being discussed as they would be now. And Tillyard clearly has the same fascination as I do, as her book proves.