Wednesday 22 February 2017

Book Review: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton by J.T. Herbert Baily

Title: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton
Author: J.T. Herbert Baily
Publisher: Albion Press
Publication Date: 17 February 2017 (1905)
Pages: 90
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction/History
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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Emma, Lady Hamilton, is best remembered as the mistress of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson and the muse of English painter George Romney.

The Life of Lady Hamilton, J. T. Herbert Baily traces the life of Lady Hamilton, born in 1765 to a blacksmith and christened Amy Lyon, along its startling rise to the upper echelons of English society and power.

Disputing other reports of Emma’s early life that depict her working as a model and dancer for charlatan James Graham’s ‘Temple of Health’, Baily depicts a young girl whose early falterings give way to later strength.
(Abridged Goodreads Synopsis)

This book drew my attention because, while I knew of Lady Hamilton, I knew little about her. As such, The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton offered an intriguing, if brief, overview of her life. I particular appreciated the way the author disproved some of the more salacious myths and concentrated on the facts. That said, this book was let down by a lack of notes and references. There was no bibliography, so it was difficult to confirm his sources or know where to turn for further reading. A scholarly work without referencing is a problem. How are you supposed to judge its authenticity? Overall, I enjoyed the book, and it certainly sparked my interest in this fascinating figure, but the absence of proper notations limited my review to three stars.

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