A Woman of No Character

A Woman of No Character book jacket
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Biography of the 18th century scandal-writer Delarivier Manley.

Brought up by her father in an army camp, Mrs Manley was in a bigamous marriage by the time she was 16. Soon afterwards she became the live-in lucky mascot to the now decrepit ex-mistress of Charles II, Lady Castlemaine.

Next she turned to writing for the stage, scandalising London with her sex-drenched play The Royal Mischief. (Playtext printed in full in The Female Wits)

In her twenties Delarivier Manley  turned to journalism, succeeding Jonathan Swift as editor of The Examiner and creating such a powerful portrait of the first Churchills, Sarah and John, Duke of Marlborough, that she was imprisoned for her writing. Not only did she play a large part in their downfall, but led Sir Winston Churchill to write a lashing attack on her work some 3 centuries later.

Using as much of Mrs Manley’s own writings as possible in the book, Fidelis’s original research not only turned up some new facts, but also restored to Delarivier Manley her actual forename.


Ms Morgan has done a fine job in resurrecting this author’s life story. Vogue

Fidelis Morgan writes very well indeed and the book is sensitively structured. New Statesman

Impressive and refreshing; a learned work presented in a style natural and lively enough to delight the general reader…Mrs Manley’s self-portrait is drawn frankly, intelligently and entertainingly. Fidelis Morgan’s championship of her is convincing and witty. Plays International

Fidelis Morgan has written a fascinating and unusual biography. She

Fidelis Morgan’s approach has given us a story as engrossingly readable as any historical novel; the more fascinating for being largely true. The Lady

Characters and events from this book proved a huge inspiration in the writing of the Countess series of novels.