The Angel and the Cad: Love, Loss and Scandal in Regency England

Geraldine Roberts / History / Non-Fiction

Book cover

UK Publisher


Date Published

June 18th, 2015


Editura Vivaldi (Romanian)

At the age of sixteen, Catherine Tylney Long became the wealthiest heiress in England, and the public found their ‘angel’. Witty, wealthy and beautiful, Catherine was the most eligible of young ladies and was courted by royalty but, ignoring the warnings of her closest confidantes, she married for love. Her choice of husband was the charming but feckless dandy William Wellesley Pole, nephew of the Duke of Wellington.

The pair excited the public’s interest on an unprecedented scale with gossip columns reporting every detail of their magnificent home in Wanstead, where they hosted glittering royal fetes, dinners and parties. But their happiness was short-lived; just a decade later William had frittered away Catherine’s inheritance and the couple were forced to flee into exile. As they travelled across Europe, they became embroiled in a series of scandals that shocked the public and culminated in a landmark court case.

Meticulously researched and rich with dazzling detail, The Angel and the Cad is a gripping and tragic tale of love and drama that twists and turns until the final page.


Geraldine Roberts elegantly combines the skills of an archival historian, immersed in original documents, with those of a talented detective sleuth, painstakingly following the trail of hints and clues to produce a compelling and utterly believable story from the past.

- Professor Lisa Jardine CBE

This is a very enticingly written and well researched account with some interesting revelations... Riveting stuff.

- Writing Times

Ten years of meticulous research, some super sleuthing and an eye for intriguing historical detail are the building blocks of this fascinating, compelling and heart-wrenching debut which unlocks the secrets of a high society scandal that gripped Regency England.

Geraldine Roberts unearths some remarkable parallels to contemporary life – the cult of celebrity, stalkers, lavish spending, massive debts – in this torrid tale of wealthy, witty Catherine Tylney Long who turned down a royal duke and instead gave her heart, and all her worldly goods, to charming but feckless dandy William Wellesley Pole...

Roberts’ powerful and moving evocation of a dark, desperate chapter in the history of early 19th century high society is packed with the kind of enthralling and intricate personal detail that brings to vivid life a sense of both time and place.

- The Blackpool Gazette

This is a vividly written look at a marriage that began in hope and ended in almost Shakespearean tragedy, where human folly destroyed love and brought ruin and misery to innocent and guilty alike. It is a compelling and at the same time scholarly work, which tells for the first time the story of a remarkable woman who fought against her world and its constraints for the sake, and the future, of her children.

- Janet Mullin - H-Net Reviews

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