Thanks to her patron and great architect, John Nash, Belle Stirling is a rising star in the homes of London’s fashionable elite. Even the Prince Regent wants her elegant, high quality fabrics used in the decoration of his new palace, Brighton Pavilion. But when those closest to her conspire against Parliament, she risks losing her reputation, her business. . .and even her life.
Review: 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!