Margaret the First
By Danielle Dutton
What’s it about?
This novel looks back at the life of Margaret Cavendish. Margaret Cavendish was born Margaret Lucas in 1623 in England. She was from a noble family and was sent into exile to France during the English Civil War. She meets and marries William Cavendish and over time becomes a celebrity. She is the first woman to write for publications and also the first to be invited to the Royal Society of London- she would also be the last for another two hundred years.
What did it make me think about?
I find the details of any time period fascinating. I always walk away learning something new.
Should I read it?
Well Danielle Dutton writes with a certain style and flair. Margaret came across as shy- and yet attention seeking, prolific in her writing- but I am not sure what she wrote, and perhaps not emotionally stable. Lots of contradictions are seen in this view of Margaret, but aren’t we all full of contradictions? This left me with a somewhat muddled view of the main character. The details in this book are what makes it worth picking up. “Nor was Oxford itself at all what I’d expected: dead horses clogged the waterways, corpses from both sides were flung on Jews mount. Grain was stored in Law & Logic, boots cobbled in the School of Astronomy & Music. At the center of it all, the queen, newly pregnant, rarely left her makeshift palace, and I, as one of her ladies-in-waiting, waited each day by her side. With downcast eyes, I minded her fan. I minded her red fox train.”
“How odd that I could still feel like a girl, be made to feel it, feel the cold floors of St. John’s Green beneath my feet- “Picky Peg”, my brothers called me- yet my neck was beginning to sag, the skin growing soft and loose. I was all discontent.”