Monday, 23 February 2009

'Book of the Day': A Week at Waterloo

'Today's Book of the Day is Magdalene De Lancey's 'A Week at Waterloo'

Published by Reportage in June 2008, Magdalene De Lancey has come to symbolize all the women who have ever waited for their men to return from war.

Magdalene and William de Lancey were married after a whirlwind romance just months before the cataclysmic battle of Waterloo.

William, one of the first professional officers in the British army, was immediately called by the Duke of Wellington to serve as his Chief-of-Staff.

When hostilities erupted Magdalene fled to Antwerp for safety, where she hid in her room in a vain attempt to escape the sound of the guns. Late in the afternoon while talking with Wellington, de Lancey was hit in the back by a canon ball. Magdalene de Lancey’s is a real life Amelia from Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Her honest and heart rending account of her struggle to nurse her husband back to health was originally written as a letter to her brother, and it is impossible not to empathise with Magdalene fears, hopes and sorrow. She was widowed ten days after the battle.

Magdalene wrote this heart-rending account of her experiences in 1815. It lay unpublished for more than eighty years. This new edition has an introduction by the historian Andrew Roberts, author of Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Gamble (2005) and a preface by Magdalene’s great-great-great-great niece Ruth Full-Sessions.

'It was published in full in an American magazine in 1906 and, more than a century later, a fine new edition has been published that will delight cognoscenti of early-19th-century prose, as well as readers with a feeling for true romance and tragedy.' - Daily Telegraph

A percentage of profits will be donated to the Army Families Federation, which supports the families of British servicemen.

This is a truly beautiful book, a heart rending account following the hope and sorrow of one woman and the man she loved.


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