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Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England
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Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Born during the reign of Elizabeth I, Lucy and Dorothy Percy came to prominence at the court of Charles I. Lucy, the Countess of Carlisle, dominated the royal scene. Her beauty was immortalized in magnificent Van Dyck portraits, her political skills attracted many famous lovers, and her talent as a gossip ensured her inclusion in the queen's inner circle—until civil war an ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 24th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published September 1st 2005)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  189 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
It tells the story of two sisters, Dorothy and Lucy Percy, who were born at the end of Elizabeth I’s reign and lived through James I, Charles I and the English Civil War. Their parents were the 9th Earl of Northumberland and Dorothy Devereux. Their father spent most of their childhood in the Tower of London for his supposed involvement in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and as a result he played very little role in their upbringing and had little influence over them. Both girls made marriages of thei ...more
Fairly interesting historical perspective on the years immediately preceeding Queen Elizabeth I's death through the Civil War and Restoration. These 2 sisters lived during a cataclysmic period in history, and through their life stories you get a real feel for the time period, the power players and the events of the day.

Overall I enjoyed this piece of non-fiction, but found it a bit dry and uneven in places. This isn't one of the best books of non-fiction history that I've read, but it's certainl
This is the story of the two Percy sisters in first half (or somewhat more) of the 17th century in England, Dorothy and Lucy. They are at the absolute top of the social ladder, daughters of the earl of Northumberland. They lived in turbulent times, and saw both the highest and the lowest of what life had to offer (especially Lucy). They are also good examples of the different roles open to women of their social status, Dorothy lived in the country in a big house with a big family and Lucy at the ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was slow moving; it started quite off interestingly, but it slowed down. It rapidly was about politics and not about the sisters- I understand that politics played a large part in their lives but they were largely missing in the second half.
Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Having read through all the Phyllipa Gregory books about the English monarchy Mom thought I would appreciate this work of historical fiction Court Lady and Country Wife only for this Lita-Rose Betcherman book to turn out to be non-fiction. It was written well, more like a novel than flat biography which is why it is finished and the Jane Austen Biography is still laboring along.
This book starts off in the early 1600’s and follows two sisters as they rise and fall with the high and mighty of Engl
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Not an easy read but I found this book fascinating because it reveals that even at a time when women were oppressed, a few managed to weld influence on politics and family life. The Percy sisters were in the thick of court politics during the English Civil Wars and Reformation, using their intelligence, perseverance and sometimes feminine wiles to gain power for their families and financial success. The two women were very different but remained loyal to each other despite many disagreements. Th ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it liked it
I thought this book would have more of a story but it is pretty much like reading a history book...a very interesting history book but a history book nevertheless. The author does a wonderful job of keeping things going - I really appreciate that! I thought I'd be able to finish this book in 3 weeks but, alas, it seems to be never ending! So, I do recommend this book to those folks who love to read facts about historical people. For those (like me) who prefer a little "bubblegum" in their histor ...more
Carolyn Cash
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Excellent biography of the Percy sisters, Lucy and Dorothy, during the 17th Century, and the contrast in their lives. Lucy, as Countess of Carlisle, became a leader of fashion and one of the Queen's favourites, whilst Dorothy married the Earl of Leicester and raised her family at Penshurst Place. It gives an insight into the inner workings of Charles I's court and events leading up to the English Civil War.

A must-read for those interested in 17th Century history.
Coleen Dailey
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very interesting read about two sisters, daughters of the Earl of Northumberland during the reign of Charles I. One marries well and lives at court and becomes a major player in the intrigues of Charles I switching sides briefly and then back. The other marries well but lives a life further from court managing the estates of her husband. I didn't know much about this period and found this to be a very interesting, informative read.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Good background for understanding the mid 1600's in British history that I've been learning more about.
My ultimate goal is to better understand the world of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series which is a century later, which means understanding the Stuart monarchy, religious changes, and what happened around the Stuart claim to the throne.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'd been wanting to learn more abot the EnglishCivil War and this book was a first-hand look through the eyes of the Percy sisters. I loved reading about all the political intrigue. My only ocmplaint is that Betcherman could come across as catty at times towards her subjects. She could also use a make-ver; her look is 1967 librarian! Oh, wait, that was really catty.
Jemahl Evans
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful bio of two very overlooked but incredibly important women in the Seventeenth Century. Very highly reccomended for anyone interested in the period, and well written and engaging for the casual reader.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
While I was not enthralled with Ms. Betcherman's writing style, the story she told was very interesting and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Stuart England.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is well written and keeps the readers attention. The story line covers several years through many family and political events. There were times that it made me laugh out loud. I really enjoyed this book.
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I absolutely love the author's writing style. It just flows and kept me interested. It was like a story instead of a ton of facts thrown together in sequence. The sisters lead very interesting lives, especially the sister (Lucy) that was at court most of her life.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it liked it
This history of England revolves around the lives of the Percy sisters during the reign of Charles I. They were from an influential family and involved in the court and intrigue of their time. It is a history, and needs to be read in small doses.
Jenny Brown
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I could not get through this book. There was far too much political history for my tastes.
A very enjoyable book that gives the reader a look into the upper-class world of England during the reigns of James I and Charles I.
Picked this book up because I haven't read a lot about the early Stuart dynasty, and thought it would be interesting to learn about some non-royal, but important players in the reigns of James I and Charles I. I learned a great deal through this book about not only the early Stuart Kings, but about the Civil War, and the Commonwealth. Lucy and Dorothy Percy, their brothers, husbands, and children all played a large role in this period of history. Betcherman does a great job conveying the history ...more
I tried many times to pick this up again, but I'm on 225/400 after a month and not going to finish it. The author's research on the topic was very thorough and the book is well written from a technical standpoint...but most of it consists of one long infodump of details and nobles with changing titles and not a lot of reason to care. I was excited about this book but found it too dry to keep going. And I normally read academic histories; the writing in this one was unusually boring.
rated it it was ok
Jul 22, 2016
Rebecca Skinner
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Nov 04, 2018
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Jan 24, 2013
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Jan 30, 2017
karin smith
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Dec 03, 2016
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May 23, 2016
Nancy Gillon
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Oct 27, 2017
Andrea Mazas
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