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This wonderful, bawdy, fictional memoir began with Mistress of My Fate which eventually saw Henrietta Lightfoot fall for the daring Lord Allenham. Here they are off to Belgium when he gets called on to Paris and leaves Henrietta. She receives a letter from him urging her to return to England but the impulsive adventurer follows her love … only this is 1792 Revolutionary France. She falls in with two powerful women and forms a number of dangerous liaisons. The author, Rubenhold, is brilliant. Lots of historical detail, lots of drama and intrigue and a fast, compulsive pace is given a light touch by the first-person narrative. It is a pure charmer. If you saw The Scandalous Lady W on TV you will know what to expect for this is the same author. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...
A Tale of Two Cities meets Dangerous Liaisons - lovers of historical fiction are in for a treat with THE FRENCH LESSON. It tells of a young English woman on her own in the perilous times of the French Revolution in Paris. Henrietta Lightfoot is a single woman whose possessions have all been stolen. She stumbles into the opulent home of the most famous courtesan of the 18th century, a real historical figure – Grace Dalrymple. Little does she know that Grace has imperious plans of her own, and Henrietta becomes a pawn in a vicious power game between the most powerful women in France.
Most of the protagonists in this novel, the rulers of France, the mistresses and wives, artists and revolutionaries, really did exist, and Hallie, an 18th century historian and author of THE SCANDALOUS LADY W (a hit BBC drama) has researched primary sources to tell this fabulous story, which roars with such pace, plot, detail and sensuousness. There is even a hint of murder, and all played out on a canvas of authentic bloody revolution. ~ Jane Lawson, Editorial Director, Doubleday Transworld Publishers
It was a head, but one so bloodied, so rolled in filth, that it was scarcely recognisable but for its long red curls. It had been stuck on a pike like a lump of bread upon a toasting fork...1792: Henrietta Lightfoot, a young Englishwoman, trips on her silk gown as she runs for her life along the bloodstained streets of revolutionary Paris. She finds refuge in the opulent home of Grace Dalyrmple Elliott, the city's most celebrated courtesan. But heads are rolling, neighbours fear neighbours, and masters whisper before servants. As the sound of the guillotine echoes outside, within the gilded salons of high society Henrietta becomes a pawn in a vicious game of female power. How will she survive in a world where no one can be trusted? A riveting novel that brings alive the fierce rivalry of the powerful women behind the scenes at the French Revolution, celebrating the raw and relentless power of history itself.
Closing date: 30/05/2021
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
'Henrietta Lightfoot's exploits in Revolutionary France are irresistible. She's a heroine you can't put down.' Lucy Worsely
'A deliciously dark novel' Red Magazine
'Georgette Heyer meets Flashman ... A gleefully modern retelling of a juicy chapter in history' The Times
'Rubenhold unfolds a complicated plot with great dexterity, brilliantly evoking a society in which traditional bonds are being sundered.' Sunday Times
'Compelling and operatic ... Reads like a modern thriller'
Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs
Publication date: 29/12/2016
Publisher: Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 21/04/2016
Publisher: Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
|Publication date:||29th December 2016|
|Publisher:||Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,|
Hallie Rubenhold is an historian and broadcaster and an authority on British 18th-century social history. She has written two works of non-fiction to critical acclaim: The Covent Garden Ladies and Lady Worsley's Whim: An Eighteenth-century Tale of Sex, Scandal and Divorce. Hallie lives in London with her husband. Author photo © Johnny RingMore About Hallie Rubenhold