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Nelson’s Women

By Tom Pocock

The fame of Horatio Nelson as Britain’s greatest naval hero has always been haunted by the notoriety of his relations with women.

His love affair with Lady Hamilton and the subsequent abandonment of his wife have tainted with scandal his achievement in giving his country global supremacy for a century. Yet these two women – Emma and Fanny – were only the most prominent of a gallery of women – family, friends and lovers – who were instrumental in shaping Nelson’s life and character.

This is a story of human relationships: men with women and women with other women. Their moods and loyalties altered and jealousy and constancy, tenderness and betrayal, love and anger all dictated their actions. At the vortex of their lives was a remarkable man – Horatio Nelson, himself sometimes almost feminine in his attitude and behaviour – who was to become the most celebrated of all the nation’s heroes.

In Nelson’s Women, Tom Pocock examines the characters of the women whose lives were interwoven with that of the complex, yet charming, Lord Nelson. He illuminates the character of Nelson’s mother, who loved and married her social inferior, and his sisters who were torn between their friendships with his wife and his mistress. 

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