All for Love: The Scandalous Life and Times of Royal Mistress Mary Robinson
NAL, Feb 2008, $14.00
Mary Darby was born in 1758 to an affluent merchant who not long afterward abandoned his family. Mary received an education especially in the fine arts and at fifteen planned to perform on stage shortly. However, her mother persuaded her to marry Tom Robinson, the heir of a rich uncle. He proved the second disappointing male in her life; others followed as she seemed to find a lifetime of losers although she hid her disappointment inside her poetry. Ultimately Tom’s wastrel ways led to Mary going on stage where the Prince of Wales saw her and made her his.
Mary Robinson’s words from her poetry, essays and letters enhance this delightful historical biographical fiction. Amanda Elyot pays homage to the royal mistress while allowing the audience to understand the motivators of her life, which in turn spotlights the limited options women had during the latter half of the eighteenth century even in relatively enlightened England. Regency romance readers will appreciate The Scandalous Life and Times of Royal Mistress Mary Robinson.