Wow - it feels like forever since I finished a book. Remember I got stuck on Jane Austen and didn't know where to go next? I ended up picking Amanda Foreman's Georgiana off my bookshelf. I had bought it a while ago when it won the Whitbread Prize and never read it, in no small part because it's quite a tome to lug on the subway every day.
Being an historical biography it doesn't have the zippiness of Jane Austen, but being based in the same period it mirrors many of Austen's themes: The limitations of being female, the strict social decorum etc. However, this book lets in more scandal than Jane would ever allow - gambling, affairs, corruption and drug addiction are not glazed over for plot alone.
Georgiana was a formidable woman when in control of her actions, but she also struggled with various addictions and an unhappy marriage. When I read historical books, I'm always struck more by how much has remained the same than by how much has changed.
Next year ,Keira Knightley will play Georgiana in a movie based on this biography. Unfortunately, I always struggle with to like her as an actress even though she's in many movie translations of books I love... (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Silk).