Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England

Lita-Rose Betcherman, Author . Morrow $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-076288-9

The lives of Dorothy and Lucy Percy, daughters of the early 17th-century earl of Northumberland, reflect striking contrasts in early modern marriage. Lucy married a much older rising star of the Jacobean court, later Lord Carlisle, and had only one short-lived child; centering her life on the royal court, she became mistress of the duke of Buckingham and a confidante of Queen Henrietta Maria. Dorothy married the later earl of Leicester, raising 12 children in the relative obscurity of the countryside, where she managed estates and campaigned for her husband's career. Both sisters were involved in the politics of the Civil War, when each precariously balanced family, finances and loyalties in order to survive. Canadian historian Betcherman dwells particularly on Lucy's charms, as sources praising her are abundant. The author is less generous to Dorothy, trusting too much in the sometimes bitter assessments of her husband and offering no hint of whether his taking loans with interest from his wife was unusual. Still, personalities, fashion, intrigue and even parliamentary and military history blend to provide a multifaceted entry into a period not always accessible to general readers of history. 8 pages of color illus. not seen by PW . Agent, Beverly Slopen. (On sale Oct. 4)

Reviewed on: 06/13/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 404 pages - 978-0-470-01540-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-06-076289-6
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-0-00-200789-4
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4434-0210-1
Paperback - 978-0-00-639460-0
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