A historical story set in 18th century England: By the author of the book behind the BBC hit costume drama THE SCANDALOUS LADY W and ITV's HARLOTS
Georgian England, 1789. Under a cloud of scandal, Henrietta Lightfoot flees her home at Melmouth Park. She has little money and no worthwhile talents, for what use is a neat stitch and a pretty voice outside the drawing room? Without family support, her only hope of survival lies with the dashing but elusive Lord Allenham...
In a desperate quest to find him, Henrietta embarks on a journey through London’s debauched and glittering underworld, where she discovers more about her own mysterious past than she could have imagined. With the aid of new-found skills at the card table and on the stage, will Henrietta be able to turn her life around to become mistress of her fate?
Rubenhold's first novel reads like a very pleasing and well-researched game of dress up. All the hoped-for characters appear, from innocent ladies and dashing heroes, to scheming cousins and rakish rogues. The story is set in 18th century Britain and follows Henrietta Lightfoot, nee Ingerton, from her sheltered upbringing as the orphaned ward of a weathy uncle, into love and loss of reputation, and the difficulty of surviving in London as a lovely young woman without means of her own. The details of scene and costume are rich and engaging, and everyone does mostly what you expect of them to very satisfying effect. If the prose drags in places, Rubenhold makes up for it with a knack for keeping familiar types from slipping entirely into the two-dimensional. Rubenhold has also authored critically-acclaimed works of non-fiction, and her expert knowledge of the period and its literature is apparent in her novel. The richness of historical detail provides a good leavening against the more predictable elements of the plot: a good-natured romp among beautiful dresses, gothic turns, willful lovers, dastardly plots, lusty bon vivants, and even a ghost.