The Smart by Sarah Bakewell

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Synopsis

'Sarah Bakewell has written a scholarly biography that reads like a detective novel with a historical setting ... full of sharp pen-portraits, lively asides and quirky details ... every bit as colourful and enjoyable as the title suggests' Independent



The Smart is a true drama of eighteenth-century life with a mercurial, mysterious heroine. Caroline is a young Irishwoman who runs off to marry a soldier, comes to London and slides into a glamorous life as a high-class prostitute, a great risk-taker, possessing a mesmerising appeal. In the early 1770s, she becomes involved with the intriguing Perreau twins, identical in looks but opposite in character, one a sober merchant, the other a raffish gambler. They begin forging bonds, living in increasing luxury until everything collapses like a house of cards - and forgery is a capital offence.



A brilliantly researched and marvellously evocative history, The Smart is full of the life of London streets and shot through with enduring themes - sex, money, death and fame. It bridges the gap between aristocracy and underworld as eighteenth-century society is drawn into the most scandalous financial sting of the age.

 

About Sarah Bakewell

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Sarah Bakewell was a curator of early printed books at the Wellcome Library before becoming a full-time writer, publishing her highly acclaimed biographies The Smart and The English Dane. She lives in London, where she teaches creative writing at City University and catalogues rare book collections for the National Trust.
 
Published June 8, 2011 by Vintage Digital. 344 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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