Mar 212017
 

A couple of very nice reviews of my book In bed with the Georgians – Sex, Scandal and Satire The first appeared in the February edition of History of Royals which enthused:

In Bed with the Georgians“For many books detailing the passion of kings and paramours, it’s easy to be soft in the portrayal of their love lives. The ambiguity that follows, though, can almost mask true deviance by simply not delving deeper. It’s refreshing, then, that In Bed With the Georgians is more explicit, providing an authenticity that can often go amiss.
With graphic descriptions and plenty of satirical imagery referenced throughout, In Bed With The Georgians explores the celebrity courtesans of the era alongside the scandals in royal court, common lingo, the impact of newspapers, brothels, lower-class sex workers, sex crimes of the 18th century and more. Almost nothing escapes the sharp tongue of the author, with his sarcastic commentary on the ignorance and hedonism of Georgian men. His text, though humorous at times, focuses foremost on delivering a wide-ranging perspective for modern readers.”

Meanwhile I was delighted to see a review on Amazon giving the book five stars, under the title of ‘The Georgian underbelly exposed’:

“Well, this is a romp — a right rollicking ride through the 18th-century world of courtesans, harlots, bigamists, rapists, pimps, brothels, bagnios, profligates and narcissists. Along the way we meet myriad crooks and celebrities: Kitty Fisher, Lavinia Fenton, Nelly O’Brien, Casanova, Charteris, the Hanoverians and their hangers-on and many more.
Although he is excellent at weaving in historical context, Rendell has wisely focused on the stories and therefore allowed the human frailty of his subjects to show through. His easy-to-read style makes the book highly accessible; even those without a declared interest in history should find it interesting.
It’s clear that those at the top did what they wanted to do and those at the bottom did was they needed to do. Those in the middle tried to tell everyone else what to do. Perhaps nothing has changed. Rendell himself avoids imposing 21st-century moral values on lives lived 300 years ago.
This handsomely produced large format paperback has 69 colour illustrations — an appropriate number I would say.”
Thanks, “Nomester” whoever you are!
I am delighted that the book is now available through Amazon.com as well as via Amazon.co.uk. It is also available on Kindle – but I haven’t had the chance to check out how the images are integrated with the text. It is one of my great regrets that in printed format the colour images have to be confined to a plates section. I appreciate the cost implications, but I must admit, as a reader, I do like having the images next to the appropriate section of text. I am aware that some may find the images a tad smutty (one lady,  who bought the book after attending one of my talks on Royal Shenanigans, came up to me afterwards to say “My oh my, that book was not half as  sanitised as the talk” – and seemed surprised that a book about the sex trade and sex workers should have used explicit images). But that was the whole point of the book – to show how the Georgians looked at their world. To me, the satire, whether in the form of caricatures or the printed word, was just as important as the sex and the scandal. And I find it truly fascinating that whereas today the famous fashionistas (no names given….) dress like whores, 250 years ago it was the whores who dressed like famous fashionistas. I recall visiting an exhibition a couple of years ago at the Number One Royal Crescent Museum at Bath, curated by the excellent Hallie Rubenhold, consisting of prints and mezzotints of Georgian ladies – and realizing that it was impossible to tell the difference between the harlot and the aristocrat. Having said that, this one leaves little doubt about what is on her mind…. which is why I used her on the front cover of my book.
Love at 300dpi
Moving on, I have just submitted my manuscript of “Petticoat Pioneers” to Pen and Sword books – a look at some really fascinating women of the Eighteenth Century who ‘made a difference’ and who succeeded in a man’s world. More on that later….

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