The life of Harriet Spencer, Countess of Bessborough, was one of both respectability and high scandal. The aristocracy of the eighteenth century were the A-list celebrities of the day; their lives, loves, fashions and misfortunes avidly reported in the press. They dominated the political world as well as the social, and Harriet was at the very heart of this powerful clique. She was born into the wealth and privilege of the Spencer family and was the great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales. Following in the train of her sister, the charismatic Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Harriet became one of the most glamorous and influential women of the Regency age. t a time when marriage was an aristocratic woman s only career choice, Harriet made an excellent match, to Frederick, Viscount Duncannon. But the marriage proved unhappy and Harriet soon embarked on a series of illicit affairs, including one with the charismatic playwright Richard Sheridan. In Naples she met and fell in love with the handsome young aristocrat Lord Granville Leveson Gower, a man twelve years her junior. And so began the affair that became the last, untold story of enduring love in the Regency perio
Janet Gleeson was born in Sir Lanka, where her father was a tea planter. After graduating from Nottingham University she worked at Sotheby's and Bonhams Auctioneers before embarking on a writing career. She was antiques correspondent for House & Garden, later joining Reed Books, where she was responsible for writing and editing numerous collectors' guides. She is the author of three novels, The Grenadillo Box, The Serpent in the Garden and The Thief-Taker. She is also the author of the Sunday Times non-fiction bestsellers The Arcanum and The Moneymaker. She is married with three children and lives near Lulworth in Dorset.