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The Infamous Sophie Dawes (Hardback)

New Light on the Queen of Chantilly

British History P&S History Social History Women of History Biographies

By Adrian Searle
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 221
Illustrations: 16
ISBN: 9781526717498
Published: 27th January 2020

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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.

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 stars

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.

NetGalley, Jenny Mills

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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.

NetGalley, Maudaevee Ross

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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.

NetGalley, Annemarie Seeger

About Adrian Searle

Adrian Searle is a journalist and author who has written extensively on a range of historical topics. Born and raised on the Isle of Wight, he returned to the island in 1984 to edit a local newspaper and has worked in a freelance capacity since 1989. A keen student of railway history and operation, he has written widely on several related aspects

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