Friday, 7 December 2012
The Duchess of Drury Lane by Freda Lightfoot
This novel about Mrs. Jordan, the long-term mistress of the Duke of Clarence ingeniously weaves fact with fiction. As very little is known about Dora Jordan’s early life Lightfoot has created a plausible early story.
As a very successful actress Jordan earned enough money not just to support her family but also to pay for some of Clarence’s extravagances. Her family consisted of sisters and brothers as well as her many children, most of whom were fathered by Clarence.
Jordan’s life fell apart once Clarence became heir to George IV and it became necessary for him to produce a legitimate heir which meant marrying a suitable candidate. He subsequently became William IV and, ironically, Queen Adelaide was unable to produce children.
The Duchess of Drury Lane was what the ‘press’ of the time called Dora Jordan and, yes, the public could be vicious as well as adoring. Nothing changes!
This book is well researched and, as with all of Lightfoot’s books, is eminently readable. I reckon she deserves a gold star.