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Beschreibung des Verlags
Eliza is ousted by her new stepmother from her family and finally makes her way to London - only to be thrown straight into prison for stealing a mouthful of bread. At this point Eliza's life takes some remarkable twists as she learns to survive the sordid prison life, is rescued by a woman she has never met before pretending to be her aunt - but for what exactly? - and befriends Nell Gwynn who introduces her to the courtly intrigue, politics and glamour of the court of King Charles. And then Eliza finds out about her true background....
Hooper's (At the Sign of the Sugared Plum; Petals in the Ashes) novel of intrigue set in 17th-century England begins with a prologue in which an aristocratic lady in childbirth substitutes her infant daughter for a much needed male heir. The book then fast-forwards to 15-year-old heroine Eliza Rose, that traded infant daughter, now imprisoned in London for stealing bread after her stepmother casts her out. While some of this may seem familiar territory, Hooper's strong characters and taut plotting lend a freshness to Eliza's plight, especially when-despite her strong morals-she exploits her beauty and cunning to survive prison. The girl's charms land her in the care of Old Ma Gwyn, a famous madam, and Eliza's wit wins her the friendship and employ of Nell Gwyn, the madam's daughter and a famous actress bent on becoming the king's mistress (based on an actual historical figure). A star-crossed romance with a well-born gentleman will appeal to romance fans, but the portraits of society's villains lurking in the theater and on the streets will likely provoke the most thought, including a cad who marries and impregnates an innocent daughter of the gentry, and the prejudice against actresses and "orange girls." Though the ending may not come as a surprise, Eliza's admirable spunk and independence will keep fans of historical fiction and romance satisfied. Ages 12-up.