Strong-willed Annabelle Stirling is more than capable of running the family draper shop after the untimely death of her parents. Under her father's tutelage, she became a talented cloth merchant, while her brother Wesley, the true heir, was busy philandering about Yorkshire. Knowing she must change with the times to survive, Belle installs new machinery that finishes twice the fabric in half the time it takes by hand. But not everyone is so enthusiastic.
Soon, riled up by Belle's competitors, the outmoded workers seek violent revenge. Her shop destroyed, Belle travels to London to seek redress from Parliament. While there, the Prince Regent, future King George IV, commissions her to provide fabrics for his Royal Pavilion. As Belle's renown spreads, she meets handsome cabinetmaker Putnam Boyce, but worries that marriage will mean sacrificing her now flourishing shop. And after Wesley plots to kidnap the newly-crowned King—whose indiscretions are surfacing—she finds herself entangled in a duplicitous world of shifting allegiances.
Painting a vivid portrait of life in the British Regency, Christine Trent spins a harrowing tale of ambition, vengeance, love, and complex loyalties against the dynamic backdrop of the early Industrial Revolution.
Praise for the novels of Christine Trent
"Marguerite is a strong heroine, and following her adventures is enjoyable. . ..Readers interested in the battle of Trafalgar will find this retelling compelling." --Publishers Weekly on A Royal Likeness
"Readers are truly gifted with a wondrous portrait." --Romantic Times on A Royal Likeness (4 stars)
"Exuberant, sparkling, beguiling. . .brims with Dickensian gusto!" --Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen's Lady on The Queen's Dollmaker
"Winningly original. . .glittering with atmospheric detail!" --Leslie Carroll, author of Royal Affairs on The Queen's Dollmaker
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reiewed By~Ursula Review Copy Provided By~Publisher A sweeping, detailed and intricate story of debauchery, gluttony, murder, rebellion and the grandeur of the Regency time-period. Christine Trent does a wonderful job of detailing the time of the King's reign during such turmoil in the early 1800's; it doesn't help that the people don't care for the newly crowned King George IV. He is a gluttonous man that loves his mistresses almost as much as he loves his food and opulence. Belle is a draper that moves from her hometown to demand justice from Parliament for not protecting the common people, herself included, from Luddites that destroy the new mills that are replacing human workers. Things don't work out as she hopes, but life does move on. Belle opens her own drapers shop, along with her brother for help. Even though her brother was involved with the Luddite attack on her mill, she loves him, so she forgives his involvement. The Luddite attack with lead by her fiance, so when she leaves behind her hometown, she leaves him behind as well. Due to her fiance's betrayal, Belle closes herself off to the idea of dating or marriage...so when it comes to cabinetmaker Putnam Boyce, he has a hard road to go to break through her defenses. Belle proves herself as the Prince Regent's draper, even though she was only granted the post due to the Prince's 'interest' in her. Things are going well for Belle, except for her brothers decline into the world of opium and the influence of Mr. Thistlewood, a leader in the conspiracy to overthrow the Parliament and dethrone the King. With ensuing turmoil, her brothers involvement revealed and vengeance aimed at Belle by someone she has never even met, Belle's life is once again turned upside down. Now she must try to save her brother's life and her livelihood...and ultimately, her life. Author Christine Trent weaves in fact, fiction, grandeur and the hardships for the people of that time into a wonderful story of love, trust, betrayal, forgiveness and vindication. For those that love greatly detailed historical...this is a perfect book to pick up!