Becky's Georgian Challenge. Nelson's First Love by Patrick Delaforce


Fanny, Lord Nelson's wife, usually comes off second best when compared with the beautiful and talented, but perhaps somewhat vulgar Emma. She has been described by biographers as dull and impractical, and I've also read that Fanny and Nelson were mismatched. However, Nelson called her his 'angel', wrote that he didn't know what happiness was until he married her, and appeared to be contented in his marriage until Emma Hamilton latched onto him with her gushing enthusiasm. How could he resist?

The admirable Fanny intended to go to Naples and try to put a stop to the embarrassing and humiliating affair, but it wasn't to be. It must have been especially irritating when Emma actually wrote to her from Naples, probably trying to flaunt the romance! She put up with it all with great pride, and after Nelson's death, she lived an interesting life in high society in Devon and Paris, whereas poor Emma became poor, and addicted to alcohol.

This is a well-researched, enjoyable story, but I found it somewhat annoying at the beginning, because I didn't realise that it was written in the form of a novel from Fanny's point of view, a mixture of fact and fiction. I thought that it was a straight biography.

I read this for Becky's Georgian Challenge.


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