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Georgian Harlots and Whores (Hardback)

Fame, Fashion & Fortune

Social History Women of History Georgian Era 18th Century Clothing and Fashion

By Mike Rendell
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781526791023
Published: 14th March 2022

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This book will look at the phenomenon of celebrity hookers in the eighteenth century – all of them the subject of extraordinary press scrutiny and comment. They were the fashion icons of the age, and what they wore was copied and put on sale in the high street within days. Many of them were passed around within the same small circle of aristocratic lovers.

They were the object of constant gossip and whether they were flaunting their fame by taking a box at the opera for the entire season, or by parading through Hyde Park in a phaeton pulled by matching cream ponies, or returning from Paris wearing the very latest fashions, they enjoyed a celebrity status nowadays bestowed on TV reality stars and footballers’ wives.

I was so excited when I received a copy of this book, this time period really excites me and to learn about strong women in history made it even better. The courtesans in this book were talked about like the celebrities of our modern day, but it was also so sad to read how hard their lives were. Even though most of these women were talked about constantly amongst the ton the were treated very poorly. Mike Rendell did a wonderful job on this book it was so beautifully written. I'm so happy I was able to read this it was a very entertaining read.

NetGalley, Dania Zavala

This is an entertaining book about these fashionable trendsetters and businesswomen who found independence in the Georgian era. They found a difficult way to make money and had rather sad and hard lives (in my opinion) so I enjoyed the story of Elizabeth Armistead the best. She seemed to be the most likeable.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a glorious romp of a book this is. Richly detailed and deeply entertaining, it gloriously evokes the lives of eighteenth century good time girls. Had they lived today, they would no doubt grace the covers of Heat and OK magazines, their outfits and private lives scrutinised on internet forums, such was their celebrity. Instead of The Mail Online and Tattle Life, we (mercifully!) have to rely on the wonderful Mike Rendell to bring their lives into focus. And what a fabulous job he does.

Rendell spares no blushes and offers no judgement, and the book is all the better for it. Some names here may be familiar, others not so; it's a joy to get to know the ladies, and it's impossible not to feel for them - celebrity was then, as now, a lonely place at times.

A sympathetic and impeccably researched exploration of low lives in high places, of tragedies and triumphs, of women using the only weapons they possess in their armouries to gain power and riches in a man's world, this book should not be missed.

NetGalley, Ophelia Sings

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved history and this book gave me a history lesson into something I briefly was taught in an early UK Crime class. It is an excellent book about a topic that many don’t wish to discuss but is a critical part of history. This is the type of history many would like removed from books and I’m so happy this author chose to write on this topic. I had an amazing UK Criminal History professor who had our class read “Moll Flanders” and used it to teach us how important these women were to the building and development of countries and laws. Excellent book.

NetGalley, April Fuchs

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wow, this was a tantalizing and engaging book to read. It was very informative but yet also very entertaining, loved it!!!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

As seen in

Jane Austen's Regency World

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book well written telling of time when women learned even more that their bodies can open the doors to whole new life.
Loved this book and made realise how women did anything to survive in time when women didn't have rights.

NetGalley, Karen Bull

This was a very informative book as it talks about an aspect of Georgian society that is less known or discussed.
The high-end courtesans were fascinating characters and 'I'm happy I learned something about them and their life.
A fascinating and well researched book.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I totally loved this book. The regency era is one of my favorite fashion period from the Georgian era in history and I throughly enjoy reading and educating myself about this period overall, So when I saw that this book was about hookers in the eighteen century I HAD to read it. The tone the author put into this book was so much fun and made me want to learn more and more, literally made me feel like I was there hanging out with my girlies.

NetGalley, Valeria Flores

Really enjoyed this
Really well researched and written

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I looked forward to reading this book, because I have read several books on this subject and I have written a paper. In my research, I was surprised with the manner that the madams ran their houses as a sucessive business, thus they managed a pretty good living. The highend houses employed women that could carry themselves with such poise that they could feel comfortable in any ballroom and fit in. The women outlined in the book were just like this type of woman. The author wrote about several women, I am highlighting only one example.
The first of the many examples of the the women featured in the book was Fanny Murray. She was considered a celebrity whore and a man with the name, John Harrison who was better known to be a businessman and pimp, A gentleman named Samual Derrick requested that Harris put his name on the book, "Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies", which can still be purchased on EBay. The book described Fanny as a beautiful woman and the painting posted in the book portrays her beauty and the painting looks like it could hang in any palor.
I thoroughly enjoyed the manuscript; however, I don't know if I would randomly pick it up to read. I would recommend this book as scholarly research material. I appreciated the writing and the research done by the author and for that reasons, this is a five star manuscript.

NetGalley, Lynn Eager

I used to think of whores as poor women with no influence just doing what they needed to do to survive. While there were plenty of women that subscribed to my previous views, this book showed a different side and painted some of these women as celebrities- women that were fashion trendsetters, wealthy at times, and engaged in "whore-like" activities simply because they enjoyed the very act as most of us do.

One of my favorite parts was about a stage coach "accident" that reminded me of nip slips and "accidental" videos on Instagram in today's world.

NetGalley, Christina Ayers

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and informative! A great look at the lives of a small group of women who did their best to take control of their lives and become trendsetters in a time when men kept women out of power.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer
 Mike Rendell

About Mike Rendell

Mike has written more than a dozen books, all of them about the Georgian era. He started when a fascinating cache of family papers inspired him to write The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman. With Pen & Sword his titles include In bed with the Georgians – Sex, Scandal & Satire; Trailblazing Women of the Georgian era; Pirates and Privateers in the eighteenth century; Crusoe, Castaways and Shipwrecks; Trailblazing Georgians – the unsung men who helped shape the modern world; and Sex and Sexuality in Georgian Britain.


While not writing, he spends his time talking on eighteenth century topics both in Britain and abroad, and in particular on board cruise ships. He travels extensively but his home is in Dorset.

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