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Summary

Margaret, Duchess of Argyll (1912-1993) was an international celebrity in her youth, adored and observed by millions. But in 1963, the year of the Profumo Affair, the 11th Duke of Argyll shocked the country when he alleged that his adulterous wife had slept with over 80 men behind his back. He produced, as his evidence, a set of sexually explicit Polaroid photographs and explosive love letters. The duke won a divorce, but this had a dramatic effect on Margaret's life. On the verge of financial destitution, she fell from grace and was abandoned by most of her friends prior to her death in a nursing home in Pimlico in 1993. 

Lyndsy Spence tells a tragic story of the life and downfall of this fascinatingly complex woman, and shows how she fell victim to a cruel husband, harsh social mores, and an unforgiving class. It uses new sources, including taped conversations, an unexpurgated transcript of her divorce trial, interviews, and letters. The Grit in the Pearl is a meticulously researched and powerful biography, which acts as a potent lens on various themes in the last century: fame, privacy, the media, sex, power, and relationships between classes.

©2019 Lyndsy Spence (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Grit in the Pearl

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator is sing song and drove me nuts..

The book is excellent I will get in book form - I have a ton of these audio book and this one is the one I could not listen too as the narrator is not for me... This woman was amazing in everyway.. was there ever love. just a series of transactions so she could spend someone else's money

8 people found this helpful

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Strange narration

Interesting story of a dramatic life spoilt by a stilted strange narration, listened to the end but the listen was not one of my favourite listens .

5 people found this helpful

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A prideful life

The intricacies of the life of The Duchess of Argyll recounted here will certainly hold the attention of the reader who is interested in 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.' How much of the information is factual, tittle tattle or the 'massaged and edited' versions of events we'll never know. Pride, arrogance and a sense of 'entitlement' coupled with a complete absence of a moral code is displayed by the central characters here. Still, I couldn't help feeling sad for the Duchess' final predicament. The narrator sounds like a lady of the night in 'seduction' mode. Not helpful.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Story but poor narration

The narrator of this story had such an irritating voice and intonation I almost had to stop listening!

4 people found this helpful

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Appalling

The biography of a woman who does not deserve the
expenditure of ink and paper and even worse narration

4 people found this helpful

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Highly recommended for Insomniacs

I wish I could find something positive to say about this audio book. I struggled with it a few times as far as the penuktimate chapter but it refused to hold my interest due to the boring narration. I still could not relate to anyone what this book is about. I don't know the reason, but I did find the sound rather muffled compared to all my other audio books which did not help. Definitely not easy listening

2 people found this helpful

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Barbara Cartland land

Almost interesting but respects the many omertàs and sheds little or no light . I’ve never read a Barbara Cartland but suspect they aren’t so very different

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

Despite the negative comments about the narrator, I decided to buy this book as I was fascinated by the subject matter. This is incredibly well researched and written I have no regrets . Re the narrator, she has a wonderful pitch to her voice, the issue I think for some people, is with her intonation. It did take me a while to get used to this but in the end I found the whole experience very enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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Toast of London

the narrator has an interesting intonation with unique emphasis in last word in a sentence. It reminds me of Matt Berry in the TV series 'Toast of London " LOL.

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Great story - awful narration

The narrator was awful. Far too much inflection and pace (short sentences) was a massive distraction. Sing song and not naturally voiced - I did wonder if this voice was computer generated.

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  • Eric Conley
  • 12-02-20

Delicious from start to finish!

I absolutely LOVED this book! Honestly, one of my favorite audible books ever. I adored Margaret with all her flaws and eccentricities. I went along for the ride of this story right from the start and was not bored for a moment . The narrater, Lucy Rayner is stellar. I just enjoy listening to her speak! I highly recommend this book, in fact I did tonight, told my friend she has to buy this book....
Thank you Lyndsy Spense and Lucy Rayner!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Georgia
  • 03-08-20

Interesting story horribly read.

Irritating narrator. Almost sounds sarcastic. Would rather have read the book. Interesting character, the Duchess, but not the best biography.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-05-20

terrible narrator

could not finish more than first chapter. terrible narrator. I have never tried to return a book before bit will return this one.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Carol D.
  • 10-11-20

Why aren’t you listening to this book!?!?

Oh my word, this book was so much fun to listen to. The life Margaret lead was definitely book-worthy. It told of the good, the bad and the ugly. The narrator was the PERFECT choice, she was absolutely superb! I actually hated for it to end. Get this book! What are you waiting for?!?!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah Eppinger
  • 21-05-20

Easy listen

But more of a tabloid type, than history. But worth passing time. Worth a credit

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Perpetua Gautier
  • 18-01-22

Poor Narration.

I am having a difficult time listening to the narrator. Her tone is monotone and boring. I can’t get through the first chapter without drifting off. I wish that I could return the book but can’t. I will sample all books going forward.
I can’t rate the story because I don’t believe that I can listen long enough to do so. At this point I have made 3 attempts to listen to this audio book to no avail.

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  • JPALJ
  • 20-11-21

The Original Lady Gangster

To only have lived a day in the life of this icon. Fortunately, this book lets you do exactly that and there is neither a dull moments nor a lull in the activity. Engagingly written and read in a lively manner (if you increase to 1.45 narration speed).

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  • Linda
  • 16-11-21

Why do I care??!

This is hours of detailing the life of an empty, self absorbed, ridiculous, stupid , waste of ectoplasm.
I cannot see why she rates a biography.
Ho hum.

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  • Clive Hazell
  • 26-04-21

Frothy fun

If you ever wanted to know how the rich and aristocratic are different, read this. Depravity, debauchery and debutantes. This book has it all, and you will never look at British aristocrats in the same way.

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  • Brad in PDX
  • 06-05-20

Wonderful Bio

This was a great biography. I knew very little about her life but now I am intrigued.