Bess of Hardwick by Mary S. Lovell
Empire Builder

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Synopsis

"The best account yet available of this shrewd, enigmatic and remarkable woman."—Sunday Times [London]

From the author of The Sisters, a chronicle of the most brutal, turbulent, and exuberant period of England's history. Bess Hardwick, the fifth daughter of an impoverished Derbyshire nobleman, did not have an auspicious start in life. Widowed at sixteen, she nonetheless outlived four monarchs, married three more times, built the great house at Chatsworth, and died one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in English history.



In 1527 England was in the throes of violent political upheaval as Henry VIII severed all links with Rome. His daughter, Queen Mary, was even more capricious and bloody, only to be followed by the indomitable and ruthless Gloriana, Elizabeth I. It could not have been more hazardous a period for an ambitious woman; by the time Bess's first child was six, three of her illustrious godparents had been beheaded.



Using journals, letters, inventories, and account books, Mary S. Lovell tells the passionate, colorful story of an astonishingly accomplished woman, among whose descendants are counted the dukes of Devonshire, Rutland, and Portland, and, on the American side, Katharine Hepburn.
 

About Mary S. Lovell

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Mary S. Lovell's best-selling biographies include Straight on Till Morning (Beryl Markham) and The Sisters (the Mitford family). She lives in England.
 
Published June 17, 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company. 577 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bess of Hardwick

Kirkus Reviews

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Biographer of the Mitford sisters, Amelia Earhart and Beryl Markham, among others, Lovell offers here a thoroughgoing, readable account of an extraordinary matriarch of Elizabethan times.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder

The New York Times

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Mary Lovell charts the rise and rise of Bess Hardwick, who outlived four husbands to build an empire in Tudor England.

Jun 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder

Publishers Weekly

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Born into the minor nobility, Bess of Hardwick rose to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in England, second only to Queen Elizabeth I. Lovell (The Mitford

Feb 13 2006 | Read Full Review of Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder

Curious Book Fans

I was intrigued by this book, and believe it is a great book for an academic interested in Bess of Hardwick.

Jan 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder

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