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Lillie Langtry: A Biography of her Life and Loves

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Member Reviews

Kind, generous and extremely smart. Lillie was all three, but everyone remembers her as the beautiful mistress of Edward VII, unfortunately. Lillie was much more than that, and Noel Gerson does her justice in this fascinating biography, although he leaves out some of her famous affairs. This is one of the best biographies of Lillie that I've read. Some were a bit dry and dull, surprisingly.

Captivating and artistic, Lillie became an excellent actress - she was even helped by Sarah Bernhardt - and successful in the English and American theatres. She was also a good businesswoman. This book delves into her relationships with her lovers and husbands, her friends (who included Oscar Wilde) and her rather sad relationship with her daughter. Gerson analyses the character of the very likeable, but sometimes ruthless Lillie, but doesn't fall in love with his subject. Almost!

This is a great read for anyone interested in Lillie and the Edwardian era.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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WHAT A WOMAN LILLIE LANGTRY WAS:  outstandingly beautiful, incredibly intelligent and charismatic, and a force to be reckoned with. The Helen of Troy of the nineteenth century, Langtry was a prime example of a strong and independent female who proved she was capable of anything she set her mind to - despite living in an era where women "needed" men to thrive. This book was such a captivating read and I highly recommend it.

My sincere thank you to Sapere Books and NetGalley for allowing me the privilege of reading this enthralling book and learning about this extraordinary figure.
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My thanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy of this biography of the celebrity influencer of her age, Lillie Langtry. What a pity she lived her extraordinary life before the internet was invented. - she would have enjoyed it.

In her time, she bewitched countless men in public life from President Theodore Roosevelt and Prime Minister Gladstone to Roy Bean, self styled hanging judge of Texas, who named the wild town of Langtry after her. She is best known, of course, for her relationship with the future King Edward VII and also perhaps for her long term friendship with Oscar Wilde, who she supported through his persecution and imprisonment.

Mark Twain found it astonishing that she had a genuine talent on the stage, a view shared by Sarah Bernhardt, perhaps the best known actress of her age.

Improbably, Emilie Charlotte Le Breton’s father was an Anglican clergyman on the island of Jersey. She shared this birthplace with William the Conqueror.

The book begins with her rise as a ‘Professional Beauty’, a feature of an age thankfully long gone. Following an incident with a misplaced ice cube, she finds herself in need of a job, and what a career she makes of it!

From the tumultuous opening night of ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ in 1881, she wowed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for well over 30 years. Apart from comedy roles, she played Lady Macbeth to acclaim. But this was by no means all. She was the first woman to use her celebrity to advertise a commercial product. She smoked in public. She disrobed on stage in a play. And all along the way, she fell in love from time to time and married probably the least talented of her consorts. She had a daughter but not by her husband of the time. She owned race horses and a stable, which bred several winners. She bought properties and sold them at huge profit in the UK and in America. She bought new wardrobes of clothes partly designed by herself in Paris. She bought a west end theatre and refurbished it entirely. And she made lots and lots of money. Enough to afford a flutter in Monaco where she lived in her retirement with the final lame duck husband placed a half hour drive away.

I’ve been intrigued by the name Lillie Langtry since my childhood in Bournemouth, where there is a hotel called the Langtry Manor. Her affair with the Prince of Wales may have taken her there. She was still a household name some forty years after her death in 1929.

It is not easy to capture her glamour or her modernity in a book with the position of women in society changed quite fundamentally from how it was in her time. The author does his best and has produced a book which gives some insight into Edwardian society in the UK and in the US and the place in it of one extraordinary woman.
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A great read, very interesting. I did not really know who Lillie Pantry was before reading this book now I feel I have a good knowledge of her
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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mind

Fascinating, well researched, well written
A great read about a woman who could easily be lost to history unless books likes this are written
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Lillie Langtry: A Biography of Her Life and Loves by Noel B. Gerson is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-February.

Originally written in 1971, everyone seems to laud and praise her existence and, with mildly dry, maybe semi-damp narration from Gerson, a reader is able to chart and empathize with Langtry pretty easily. She had been orn in the UK, the youngest and only daughter of six, and had quite matured by age 15, marries quite young, and gets to be very popular socially with her image, fashion trendsetting, and visage spoken of far and wide. Later, she spends time in the US, acting and touring, and by the side of Prince Albert Edward of Wales.
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Another wonderful popular biography from the late American author Noel Gerson. Originally published in the early 70s, this delightful book takes us on a journey through the life of the great Lillie Langtry (the Jersey Lily) the Anglo-American actress & socialite that captivated the minds and the hearts of many on both sides of the Atlantic at the end of the 19th century & first part of the 20th. From her successful professional career on the London & NYC stages to her many love affairs (the most famous being with the future Edward VII) her adventurous life takes us from the heights of the Victorian Era through the American Gilded Age and the frivoulsness of the Belle Epoque. Celebrated for her beauty, her free spirit & her talent, Lillie Langtry left an indelible mark on her times. An incredible life told with brio by Noel Gerson.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Sapere Books for the opportunity to read this wonderful biography.
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What a fascinating book about an intriguing woman!  Lillie captivated the world with her outstanding beauty, incredible intelligence and her verve.  She was compared with Helen of Troy, was athletic, an infamous actress, a reader, a horsewoman and international traveler which is extraordinary especially in Victorian times when women were nearly always dependent on men.

Beautiful, subtropical Jersey is the place of Lillie's birth.  At the age of twenty she married Edward Langtry as her "escape" from what she considered a mundane life.  Marriage enabled her to pursue what she loved and she certainly did.  Her beauty soon caused a stir in the aristocratic circles and she and Edward were invited to parties, often several in one day!  For the first year she was known to wear the same black dress to every single one but shortly after she began leading fashion trends so what she wore was quickly emulated.  She was able to purchase hundreds of dresses at a fraction of full price.  Later she became the best actress on the stage and her events sold out, even at triple the price.  Her beauty and figure remained youthful well into her sixties and bewitched many.  She is best known as Prince Edward's mistress and was friends with Oscar Wilde and Gladstone, amongst others.  She made many wise investments and was brilliant with money until later in life.  She was able to provide for her mother and daughter as well.

What a commanding personality!  She knew how to garner attention and yet seemed to be self deprecating to an extent at times according to some of her quotes about her beauty and health routines.  It seems she was a force to be reckoned with and not always likeable (who is?) but a huge presence nonetheless. This book prompted me to research her and her daughter...I discovered many photographs which are lovely indeed.  Though her life was a constant whirlwind (she was high energy) she also suffered challenges, as we all do.  

My sincere thank you to Sapere Books and NetGalley for allowing me the privilege of reading this enthralling book.  I highly, highly recommend it.
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