Love, Madness, and Scandal
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Love, Madness, and Scandal : The Life of Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck

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Description

The high society of Stuart England found Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck (1602-1645) an exasperating woman. She lived at a time when women were expected to be obedient, silent, and chaste, but Frances displayed none of these qualities. Her determination to ignore convention contributed in no small measure to a life of high drama, one which encompassed kidnappings, secret rendezvous, an illegitimate child, accusations of black magic, imprisonments, disappearances, and exile, not to mention court appearances, high-speed chases, a jail-break, deadly disease, royal fury, and - by turns - religious condemnation and conversion. As a child, Frances became a political pawn at the court of King James I. Her wealthy parents, themselves trapped in a disastrous marriage, fought tooth and nail over whom Frances should marry, pulling both king and court into their extended battles. When Frances was fifteen, her father forced her to marry John Villiers, the elder brother of the royal favourite, the Duke of Buckingham. But as her husband succumbed to mental illness, Frances fell for another man, and soon found herself pregnant with her lover's child.
The Viscountess paid a heavy price for her illicit love. Her outraged in-laws used their influence to bring her down. But bravely defying both social and religious convention, Frances refused to bow to the combined authority of her family, her church, or her king, and fought stubbornly to defend her honour, as well as the position of her illegitimate son. On one level a thrilling tale of love and sex, kidnapping and elopement, the life of Frances Coke Villiers is also the story of an exceptional woman, whose personal experiences intertwined with the court politics and religious disputes of a tumultuous and crucially formative period in English history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 25mm | 454g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 15 black and white illustrations, 2 maps
  • 0198754655
  • 9780198754657
  • 487,222

Review quote

Johanna Luthman has written a singular account of one of British history's most misunderstood characters. Love, Madness, and Scandal is both a gripping story of Frances Coke Villiers' tumultuous life and a profound meditation on the position of women in seventeenth-century English society. * Amanda Foreman * [Johanna Luthman] successfully rescues Frances Coke Villiers from being a mere historical footnote in this empathetic examination of one of the early Stuart monarchy's most-notable scandal-tainted women... [She] offers insight into the expectations of countless noblewomen of the age and reveals how remarkable Frances was in living on her own terms. * Publishers Weekly * Scrupulous. * Gerard DeGroot, The Times * Luthman brings to light a lesser-known historical figure and provides a fascinating snapshot of Jacobean society. * Library Review * Luthman writes in an easy, accessible style, with a well-paced narrative...she manages to tuck into the folds of this seventeenth-century scandal a rich sample of the latest thinking on the social and political history of the period. * Lorna Hutson * Lady Purbeck's choices make her life story, told by Johanna Luthman in Love, Madness & Scandal, one of the most fascinating of the 17th century, as well as one of the most salutary... scrupulously researched, thoughtfully argued and carefully written. * Literary Review * [This] lively biography ... brings richly to life the scandals and prosecutions that pursued Edward Coke's beautiful but luckless daughter. ...Luthman writes in an easy, accessible style, with a well-paced narrative, aiming her book at the general reader. Without presuming prior knowledge, she manages to tuck into the folds of this seventeenth-century scandal a rich sample of the latest thinking on the social and political history of the period. * Lorna Hutson, Times Literary Supplement * Overall... this is a conscientious book by an author deeply informed about her subject. * Wall Street Journal * Beautiful, very readable, wonderful. * Anna Maria Polidori, Al Femminile *
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About Dr. Johanna Luthman

Johanna Luthman is an associate professor of history at the University of North Georgia. Originally from Sweden, Luthman has studied and worked in the United States since the early 1990s, receiving her doctorate from Emory University in Atlanta. Her work focuses on the Tudor and Stuart eras, specifically on issues of love, sex, and marriage. Her previous publications include Love, Lust and License in Early Modern England: Illicit Sex and the Nobility (2008),
published under the name Johanna Rickman. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Dr. Marko Maunula.
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Table of contents

APPENDIX: FAMILY TREES; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Review Text

Beautiful, very readable, wonderful. Anna Maria Polidori, Al Femminile
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Rating details

44 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 9% (4)
4 36% (16)
3 41% (18)
2 5% (2)
1 9% (4)
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