A Georgian Heroine (Hardback)
The Intriguing Life of Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs
Authors' blog post as featured in Washington Post article: settling a tied Virginia House race by drawing a name? Not that weird by history's standards.
Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs lived an incredible life, one which proved that fact is often much stranger than fiction. As a young woman she endured a tortured existence at the hands of a male tormentor, but emerged from that to reinvent herself as a playwright and author; a political pamphleteer and a spy, working for the British Government and later singlehandedly organising George III’s jubilee celebrations. Trapped in France during the revolutionary years of 1792-95, she published an anonymous account of her adventures. However, was everything as it seemed? The extraordinary Mrs Biggs lived life upon her own terms in an age when it was a man’s world, using politicians as her mouthpiece in the Houses of Parliament and corresponding with the greatest men of the day. Throughout it all though, she held on to the ideal of her one youthful true love, a man who abandoned her to her fate and spent his entire adult life in India. Who was this amazing lady?
In A Georgian Heroine: The Intriguing Life of Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs, we delve into her life to reveal her accomplishments and lay bare Mrs Biggs’ continued re-invention of herself. This is the bizarre but true story of an astounding woman persevering in a man’s world.
A remarkable story, beautifully told.Books Monthly, January 2018 - reviewed by Paul Norman
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Abducted, raped, an author and playwright, the British heroine of this book was also imprisoned in Paris during the French Revolution, later returning to traverse France as a British government spy ... and the remarkable thing is, it's not fiction, but a meticulously researched and well-referenced biography.Amazon review by Dr. Karen E. McAulay
You only need a basic understanding of Georgian history to be able to follow the twists and turns of a quite extraordinary - and surprisingly well-connected life. Vanity Fair was satirical fiction. This is the real thing. Enjoy!
I could not recommend a more delightful heroine to you than Charlotte. The authors have done a thoroughly researched job of bringing her story to light in a fast-paced narrative. I recommend it!Regan Romance Review Blogspot
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Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs, or simply Charlotte Biggs, as she is known for most of the book, is something of an enigma. She was clearly a woman who did not fit at all into the 18th century mould. Of middle-class origins, she overcame the early destruction of her reputation to become a self-made woman with the ear of some of the most famous politicians of the era.Review by author Jacqueline Reiter
It makes for a fascinating story, and the tale of Mrs Biggs – if, indeed, she was ever truly 'Mrs Biggs', but that's a story for the book to tell – is closely intertwined with that of revolutionary France and Britain's counter-revolutionary efforts on the other side of the Channel. Like another of Major and Murden's subjects, Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Charlotte Biggs was trapped in France when the revolution reached its most dangerous period. Charlotte escaped, and what she had seen and heard helped form the rest of her life.
At times she was a 'female politician', advising MPs on French and British domestic affairs; at others she was a loyalist advocate, single-handedly providing the spur for the jubilee celebrations in 1809 to celebrate George III's fifty years on the throne. She was probably a spy, returning to France after the fall of Napoleon to report home on continental attitudes and goings-on.
This book is the result of what must have been a tremendous amount of detective work. Charlotte is often allowed to tell her story in her own words, and the authors make no attempt to conceal the ambiguity of some aspects of it. Given that what remains is only a partial record, often written for audiences from whom Charlotte had motives to hide the whole truth, she is difficult to pin down on the page, but the end product is a very fair and balanced portrait of one of the Regency era's most remarkable – and most unknown – women.
★★★★ The authors have pieced together a great amount of detail from Charlotte’s life.Rosie Amber
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