Emma Hamilton is renowned as the real-life heroine of the greatest love story in British history: yet her passionate and enduring romance with Lord Horatio Nelson remains the stuff of legend.

She had the accent—and mouth—of a bawdy Welsh maid, but Emma’s breathtaking beauty captivated some of the most influential and powerful men in Europe The impoverished daughter of an illiterate country farrier, young Emily Lyon sold coal by the roadside to help put food on the family’s table. By the time she was fifteen, she had made her way from London nursemaid to vivacious courtesan, and continued a meteoric rise through society, rung by slippery rung.  And by the end of the eighteenth century, she had become the most talked-about woman in all of Europe, an artful performer, an ambassador without portfolio, mistress of many tongues, a key envoy in Britain’s and Italy’s war against the French, and confidante to a queen. Once she met Nelson, Emma’s fascinating life grew even more tumultuous, as she and England’s greatest hero of the age braved the censure of king and peers, and the sneers of society, all in the name of true love.

This novel, inspired by her remarkable life, recounts Emma’s many extraordinary adventures, the earth-shattering passion she eventually found with Lord Nelson, and how they braved the censure of king and country, risking all in the name of true love.


Elyot gives Emma a rippingly bawdy, occasionally self-aggrandizing first-person, that     . . . rings true. The result is an energetic portrait of a unique historical figure.

~Publishers Weekly