Monday, January 7, 2013

ARC Book Review: Mistress of my Fate

Mistress of My Fate (The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot, #1)Author: Hallie Rubenhold
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Series: The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot # 1

Set during a period of revolution and turmoil, Mistress of My Fate is the first book in a trilogy about Henrietta Lightfoot, a young woman who was abandoned as a baby and raised alongside her cousins, noble children of a lord and lady. At just sixteen years old, circumstance and a passionate love affair tear Henrietta away from everything she knows, leading to a new life fending for herself on the streets of 18th century London as a courtesan, gambler, and spirited intellect of the city.

“Ah, was that a sigh of relief I heard from you? You think I have made a successful escape? Let me remind you, my friends, before you become certain that the worst was behind me, that any obstacle might have thwarted my progress.” – ARC Copy pg. 5

“Although it is no longer the case in the current age, there once was a time when there were only two reasons why a politely attired young lady would be traveling unaccompanied and in an obvious state of distress. The first of these was that she was a lady’s maid who had run off, perhaps with some of her mistress’s possessions. The second was that she was a girl of a good family who had eloped on a promise of marriage. I could tell them from the curious looks of those surrounding me that they were deciding in which category I belonged. In truth, I belonged in neither and my circumstances were beyond any that those in the rattling coach could imagine.” – ARC Copy pg. 10

“As any well-bred young lady is taught, it is appropriate and expected that she show her correspondence from gentlemen to her mamma, but my cousin was now well beyond the domain of my aunt. Instead, she read her letters aloud to me, squealing and squawking with delight.” – ARC Copy pg. 33

“Well, reader, I simply could not fathom how I might respond to that. What might a girl who knows nothing of society, of worldly behavior, of nature or passion make of such a statement? I stared at him, so spellbound by his vitality, his light, his perfect assembly of features, as to be awed into silence. Why, he was the most remarkable I had ever encountered.” – ARC Copy pg. 49

“Tell me, Miss Lightfoot, what means does that dog have of providing you with happiness? He has no estate of his own and has lost his seat in Parliament. He has a mere five hundred pounds per annum to live upon, which is just as well for a country squire, but is not a respectable amount for a man of fashion who lives in town. By Jove, he has not even the means of paying his debts to me. He has failed to take a wife, as no lady of quality will have him for so reduced a sum. So why then, my beautiful creature, might he be entitled to own you?” – ARC Copy pg. 326

Henrietta Lightfoot only wants one thing. She wants the respect of her aunt and uncle and to be treated fairly among her cousins. The novel begins with the escape/runaway of our heroine, Miss Lightfoot. Readers are drawn in with a certain sense of suspense, anxiousness, and maybe even fear at what is to come after the escape of our narrator. It is not readily apparent why she is running and so many questions began to build in my mind. I will tell potential readers that this book is the first in a planned series and there will be many questions that you will want answered, but that is the beauty of a series. They will NOT all be answered right away!

This book is written in first person and told from the perspective of Miss Henrietta Lightfoot. I thought this worked really well for this book and I loved Henrietta’s playful and youthful tone. What I loved best about the book is the way that Henrietta will address you, the reader, throughout the many chapters. She starts off with “my dear reader,” and says other things like “now, my friends,” and dear friends.” This allows for a very personal connection with the reader and it was the perfect finishing touch for me.

Not to mention that Henrietta is a very likeable and relatable heroine. Her character is vivacious and spunky, and she must never sit still. The action revolving around her character never slows down and it seems that she is always landing herself into some type of mishap or another. We go from scenes casting the upper classes to the debauchery and filth that plagues the lower ones. Henrietta is the perfect tour guide for this novel and she is one of the best characters that I have read in awhile. The book is rather long, and like the great Rowling herself, Rubenhold is rather wordy. But honestly with the voice of Henrietta Lightfoot as my guide I paid the page numbers no attention at all.

This is a great sneak peek at 17th century London and a charming look at forbidden love. We go from one extreme to the next in this riveting tale and I am sure that any reader will cast out a few laughs along the way. If you enjoy seeing the inside of London and love soaking up a real and sometimes grotesque London as it really was then this historical fiction novel would be perfect for you!

***Thank you to the publishers at Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased review***

1 comment:

  1. Another great review for another book that I have been anxious to know more about. I love your beautiful blog. New follower, looking forward to your posts.