Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Sylph by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

This book begins with a sordid tale of gambling addiction, infidelity and loss and that is just the brief biography of the author, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She published The Sylph anonymously in 1779 at the age of twenty-two, shortly after her ill-fated marriage to the Duke of Devonshire began. What makes this ‘romance’ novel so compelling is that it predates Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, by three decades and could very well have influenced Austen, Bronte and many writers since.

The novel is composed of a series of letters mostly written between the heroine and her family, describing at first the excitement, but then the gruesome reality of loneliness, vanity and deceit. This book reminds you that things were just as hypocritical and perverse in 18th Century England too!

A quick and enjoyable read for anyone who is a fan of historical romance novels.

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