Bess of Hardwick
First Lady of Chatsworth, 1527–1608
Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (1527–1608) struck some as rapacious and social-climbing, but is nowadays seen as an astonishingly shrewd and accomplished woman who successfully managed four husbands and four monarchs in a particularly complex and dangerous era. Mary Lovell's biography charts every aspect of Bess's long life, including her time as minder of Mary, Queen of Scots for Elizabeth I and the building of Chatsworth, Hardwick and Oldcotes, which still stand as testimony of a remarkable Tudor figure.
The Man Who Saw the Future
The 17th-Century Astrologer Who Changed the Course of the English Civil War
William Lilly (1602–1681) produced uncannily accurate forecasts about the country’s fortunes during the Civil War and predicted the Great Fire of London. Highlighting the links between prophecy and politics in a tumultuous age, this biography describes how Lilly rose from humble farming origins to become an astrologer consulted by both King and Parliament, how he produced his prophecies and evaded efforts to silence him, and how his almanacs and astrological guidebook influenced popular culture.
The King's Bed
Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II
Charles II was obsessed by women, and his conquests ranged across the classes, from the actress Nell Gwyn to the aristocrat Barbara Villiers. For the first time, this revealing book places the king’s compulsive philandering at the centre of an account of his reign. Taking us behind the scenes, it introduces a colourful cast of court favourites, politicians and a parade of mistresses fighting for influence over a king ruled – and ruined – by his passions.