I received a free copy for my honest review.
About the Book:
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (4 Aug. 2015)
The second in Laura Purcell’s captivating and acclaimed series of novels chronicling the lives and loves of the consorts and mistresses of Britain’s rash, reckless and ebullient Hanoverian kings.
Her first novel, Queen of Bedlam, was published by Myrmidon in the summer of 2014.
Orphaned and trapped in an abusive marriage, Henrietta Howard has little left to lose. She stakes everything on a new life in Hanover with its royal family, the heirs to the British throne.
Henrietta’s beauty and intelligence soon win her the friendship of clever Princess Caroline and her mercurial husband, Prince George. But, as time passes, it becomes clear that friendship is the last thing on the hot-blooded young prince’s mind. Dare Henrietta give into his advances and anger her violent husband? Dare she refuse?
Whatever George’s shortcomings, Princess Caroline is determined to make the family a success. Yet the feud between her husband and his obstinate father threatens all she has worked for. As England erupts in Jacobite riots, her family falls apart. She vows to save the country for her children to inherit – even if it costs her pride and her marriage.
Set in the turbulent years of the Hanoverian accession, Mistress of the Court tells the story of two remarkable women at the centre of George II’s reign.
About the Author:
Laura Purcell is a former Waterstones bookseller who lives in Colchester. She is a member of the Society for Court Studies and Historic Royal Palaces and featured on a recent PBS documentary, talking about Queen Caroline’s life at Hampton Court. She maintains a history blog at laurapurcell.com.
This is my second book by Ms. Purcell – I read her debut book, Queen of Bedlam when it first came out. Where that book told the tale of George III’s wife, this one goes back in time to the man who would be George II. As in her first book the story is focused on the women in his life – in this case his wife, Caroline and one of his long standing mistresses, Henrietta Howard. If truth be told it is really Henrietta’s story.
Henrietta was orphaned at a young age and she married into the Howard family – yes, that Howard family. Unfortunately her husband was a complete and total waste of a human life. He was a gambler and a wife beater. If anything was going to get better it was going to fall to Henrietta to change things. Fortunately she was a very driven young lady. She somehow had the wherewithal to sell everything they owned to take the two of them to Hanover to attach themselves to the royal family. She had to leave her young son in England, which would have lasting repercussions on their relationship. But through her determination and personality she secured the family’s position.
Soon the royal family is heading to England to assume the throne and Henrietta is part of the royal household. She soon finds herself as mistress to Prince George. The Princess Caroline was sort of OK with the situation but what wife is ever happy with a mistress.
I must admit that I liked this book far better than I liked Ms. Purcell’s first novel. It was a very interesting tale of a woman about whom I knew nothing. As I mentioned in my review of that book, this is a time period that I really don’t know much about. I like when I can read and learn and be entertained all at the same time. Henrietta was a truly remarkable woman for her time. Her husband really treated her like dirt and yet she still managed to create a life for herself in a time when husbands owned their wives.
I will look forward to the next book in Ms. Purcell’s series.
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