The Infamous Sophie Dawes (Hardback)
New Light on the Queen of Chantilly
She was the daughter of an alcoholic Isle of Wight smuggler. Much of her childhood was spent in the island’s workhouse. Yet Sophie Dawes threw off the shackles of her downbeat formative years to become one of the most talked-about personalities in post-revolutionary France.
It was the ultimate rags to riches story which would see her become the mistress of the fabulously wealthy French aristocrat Louis Henri de Bourbon, destined to be the last Prince of Condé.
Her total subjugation of the ageing prince, her obsessive desire for a position among the highest echelon of French royalist society following the Bourbon restoration, and her designs upon a hefty chunk of Louis Henri’s vast fortune would lead to scandal, sensation and then infamy.
The Infamous Sophie Dawes takes an in-depth look at her island background before tracing her extraordinary rise from obscurity to becoming a baroness who ruled the prince’s château at Chantilly as its unofficial queen and intrigued with the King of the French to get what she wanted.
But how far did she go? The book examines the mysterious death of Louis Henri in 1830 and uses newly discovered evidence in a bid to determine the part Sophie may have played in his demise.
I had never heard of Sophie Dawes before I read this book. I found her rags to riches tale to be interesting. Sophie Dawes is not an easy historical figure to like, but she did play an interesting role in history. Overall, it was a comprehensive and informative biography of a scandalous woman.NetGalley, Lauralee Jacks
Article: From IW smuggler's daughter to Queen of ChantillyIsle of Wight County Press, March 2021
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The Infamous Sophie Dawes: New Light on the Queen of Chantilly was definitely an interesting read and such an unusual and quite a fascinating woman.Where There's Ink There's Paper
It is clear to see that Sophie Dawes lived an extremely eventful and colourful life. The Infamous Sophie Dawes was a well-written, well-researched, enjoyable read which explored the life of a very interesting woman.
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The Infamous Sophie Dawes by Adrian Searle was a well-researched, easy-to-read non-fiction book about a young woman who rose from nothing to be the mistress of the French duc who would become the Prince of Conde. Born very poor, the daughter of a drunken fisherman, she escaped at an early age to a larger city where she found employment in wealthy brothel, not as a whore, but as a servant. Sophie made the most of every opportunity with which she was presented, a lesson for us all. It was an enjoyable read and I recommend it to lovers of history and of non-fiction. Although she was a lesser historical figure, she was certainly an interesting one.NetGalley, Anne Marshall
The And here's the second "bodice ripper of the month, the story of rags-to-riches girl Sophie Dawes, whose hold over Prince Louis Henri de Bourbon is again like something from the pages of TitBits, quite like the story of Angelique, by Serges Golon. Mouthwatering scandal, dangerous affaires, this story has the lot!Books Monthly
I had never heard of Sophie Dawes and I am glad I got to read it. I feel it is closer to historical fiction with all the might have, could haves. On the other hand the period and lifestyles were very well researched. In all I did learn about Sophie and the life surrounding her.NetGalley, Vonda Svara
I appreciate such a detailed picture of Sophie Dawe's life and the book really shows how impressive it was.NetGalley, Joana Carmo
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Jenny Mills
Absolutely riveting and engaging. I can’t believe I had never heard of Sophie Dawes before. Searle paints such a vivid picture of Dawes, her life, the time period, etc. The prose occasionally veers towards dense fact overload, but the rest of the time it’s electrifying.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Maudaevee Ross
I really enjoyed this, it was well researched and full of so many interesting details not just about Sophie but her times, settings, society around her and people in her life. I appreciate such a fully painted picture and the book really shows how impressive her life was.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Annemarie Seeger
This book I find very well written, since the first page you can dive deep into the storyline. I also liked the cover very well. It is nice designed in the color and in the design itself. The writing style is very good and very pleasant and fluently to read. The book has been very clearly structured and the plot is traceable and very interesting. The characters look very authentic and traceable to me. The author succeeds in writing very detailing about the scenery, characters, surroundings and emotions. This story is fascinating and consistent at the same time and keeps the tension until the end.
15th December 1840
The 'infamous' Sophie Dawes died on 15 December 1840 in London. She was the daughter of an alcoholic Isle of Wight smuggler and much of her childhood was spent in the island’s workhouse. Yet, Sophie Dawes did not let her formative years define her and she would eventually become the mistress of a wealthy French aristocrat, and one of the most talked about personalities in post-revolutionary France.