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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 friendsh 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 center of George II’s reign.


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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 friendsh 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 center of George II’s reign.

30 review for Mistress of the Court

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    This absorbing novel revolves around the lives of two early 18th-century women – Princess of Wales, later Queen, Caroline and her devoted servant Henrietta Howard. At age 16, Henrietta, orphaned and responsible for her young siblings, sought the help of distant relatives the Earl and Countess of Suffolk. Ultimately she married their younger son, who turned out to be “wrong-headed, ill-tempered, obstinate, drunken, extravagant and brutal.” Henrietta’s small fortune was tied up in trust for her ch This absorbing novel revolves around the lives of two early 18th-century women – Princess of Wales, later Queen, Caroline and her devoted servant Henrietta Howard. At age 16, Henrietta, orphaned and responsible for her young siblings, sought the help of distant relatives the Earl and Countess of Suffolk. Ultimately she married their younger son, who turned out to be “wrong-headed, ill-tempered, obstinate, drunken, extravagant and brutal.” Henrietta’s small fortune was tied up in trust for her children, and Charles’s drinking and gambling forced them to move into increasingly squalid accommodations. Henrietta came up with a clever plan: they would travel to the German state of Hanover and ingratiate themselves with the Elector, George Ludwig, heir apparent to Great Britain’s Queen Anne. To do so, however, they had to leave their six-year-old son Henry Howard behind with Henrietta’s brother. Charles agreed to go, primarily as a way of escaping his creditors. Henrietta’s gambit worked, and soon she was one of the Women of the Bedchamber to Caroline of Ansbach, wife of the future George II, while Charles joined George’s staff. Henrietta was pretty, but not beautiful, witty, charming and intelligent, and she and Caroline formed a friendship of sorts. Although he loved his wife, George believed that a mistress was a necessary accessory for a prince, so eventually, Henrietta became his mistress, with the full approval of Caroline, who wanted a lady of sense and discretion in that role. It might also be said that the prince wanted to demonstrate that he was not fully under his wife’s control, even though everyone at court knew that she was the power behind the throne. George was not any woman’s idea of an appealing lover. He was short and stocky, with the bulging Hanover eyes, and moreover, he was moody, bombastic, controlling, and prone to sputtering fits of rage. He considered himself something of an accomplished lover, however, and liked to regale his wife with minute descriptions of his conquests. There is nothing in this book to suggest that Henrietta was especially fond of him, but she knew that he offered her some protection from her brutal husband. After the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the entire court packed up and moved to London, where they lived under the tyranny of King George I, who began the Hanoverian tradition of treating one’s children abominably. Those abominations are far too many to discuss here, but Henrietta stayed loyal to George and Caroline throughout. Unlike other royal mistresses in history, Henrietta did not exert political influence or get rich from her position. She did receive a stipend from George, but she had to give most of that to her blackmailing husband to keep him quiet. George did give her some gifts, making sure that Charles couldn’t touch them. It is a sobering reminder of the status of women in the 18th century that when Henrietta left Charles for good, she had to persuade him to sign a “deed of separation,” relinquishing dominion over his wife as though she were a piece of property. In retaliation for her revolt, Charles turned their son Henry against her, with the result that Henrietta and her beloved son never were reconciled. Charles was so awful that even his own brother couldn’t stand him, and he left his unentailed estate to his sister-in-law, with Charles getting only the title and not much more. After more than 15 years as mistress to the man who was now King George II, Henrietta was tired and ailing. She suffered from hearing loss and severe headaches, possibly the result of Charles’s beatings. Her relationship with the Queen was strained as political factions tried to bring Henrietta into their camps. Her status as countess after Charles became Earl of Suffolk entitled her to a promotion to the position of Mistress of the Wardrobe, which actually meant that Henrietta had fewer duties and could spend more time away from court. Finally, she was able to negotiate her departure from court duties, including the role of mistress, although despite her decades of loyal service the King and Queen were not gracious about it. With the inheritance from her brother-in-law and a generous gift from the King, Henrietta bought land on the Thames near Twickenham and commissioned the construction of Marble Hill House, a little gem of a Palladian villa. Henrietta lived there for several years before falling in love with and marrying the Hon. George Berkeley, son of the 2nd Earl Berkeley in 1735. By all accounts he was kind, loving, and honest, and they had 11 happy, but too short, years together. After his death Henrietta retired to Marble Hill House, where she died at the age of 78. Henrietta’s remarkable life is vividly portrayed in Laura Purcell’s historical novel, and she takes no great liberties with the historical facts. Had I not previously read Lucy Worsley’s The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace, however, I would have hard a difficult time believing how wretched court life could be. Henrietta and other high-born ladies were nothing more than personal servants, performing the hard and sometimes demeaning work of taking the Queen through her daily dressing routine. Court life was stultifyingly formal and largely boring and miserable for everyone involved. Kensington Palace was cramped and drafty and far from splendid, although the periods spent at Hampton Court sound lovely. Granted the ladies and gentlemen of the court were better fed and clothed than the masses, but their lives at court do not sound the least bit glamorous or romantic. Henrietta Howard, however, was able ultimately to emerge from this life in triumph and distinction. She counted among her friends Alexander Pope (she is generally supposed to be the model for Chloe in Pope’s The Rape of the Lock), Jonathan Swift, and playwright John Gay (best remembered for The Beggar’s Opera). Her Marble Hill House was widely acclaimed and became the model for English Georgian villas and even American plantation houses. It still stands today under the ownership of English Heritage, where visitors can experience some of the finer aspects of Georgian life. Laura Purcell is a superb storyteller, and this book is an excellent way to learn more about this period in history. I plan to go back and read her well-received first book Queen of Bedlam, the story of George III’s Queen Charlotte, and I look forward to more volumes in her Georgian Queens series. Marble Hill House (photo courtesy of English Heritage)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this an A- at AAR, so I'm calling it 4.5 stars. With Mistress of the Court, Laura Purcell continues her fictional exploration of the lives of some of the less frequently written about historical figures of the Georgian era – namely, its women. In Queen of Bedlam, she tells the by now familiar story of the madness of King George III from the point of view of his wife and daughters, and now, she has turned her attention to an earlier era, to the first days of the Hanoverian monarchy and I've given this an A- at AAR, so I'm calling it 4.5 stars. With Mistress of the Court, Laura Purcell continues her fictional exploration of the lives of some of the less frequently written about historical figures of the Georgian era – namely, its women. In Queen of Bedlam, she tells the by now familiar story of the madness of King George III from the point of view of his wife and daughters, and now, she has turned her attention to an earlier era, to the first days of the Hanoverian monarchy and the court of King George I. Focusing on the lives of two very different women, Ms Purcell brilliantly exposes the hypocrisy, the intrigue and power-struggles of the early Georgian era and describes, in vivid detail, the opulence and the squalor, from the gorgeous silk coats and ridiculously wide pannier hoops worn by the courtiers to the lack of cleanliness or medical understanding and the rat-infested, dank corners of the outwardly magnificent residences occupied by the royal family, their retinue and multitude of servants. Well-born and married into an influential family, Henrietta Howard is living in poverty, subject to the whims of the drunken husband who regularly beats and abuses her. She has just one hope of improving her lot, which is to somehow make her way to Hanover, where the name of Howard is sure to open doors at court. Queen Anne’s health is failing and the Hanoverian succession has been assured; if she can find a place at the Elector’s court at Herrenhausen, then she believes her troubles will be over. Little does she realise that she will be exchanging one set of troubles for another. When her husband Charles discovers her plan to travel overseas, he is furious. But his own circumstances are such that he needs to get out of England, so he agrees to the scheme. Leaving their young son behind with her brother, the couple arrives in Hanover where Charles insists that it’s up to Henrietta to carry out her plan to secure their futures. Henrietta is fortunate to attract the attention of Caroline of Ansbach, wife of the Elector’s son (who will eventually become King George II). Caroline is a lovely, intelligent and politically astute woman, already adept at managing her mercurial, ineffectual husband; and Henrietta’s demure manner and generosity of spirit very quickly see her rise to a position of favour in the Princess’ retinue. When Queen Anne dies and George I ascends the throne, the court moves back to England, enabling Henrietta to return to her homeland in relative comfort. But even then, she is not to be allowed to live her life in contentment or security; Charles continually threatens to force her to return to him and cruelly prevents her from seeing their son Henry, something which causes her constant pain. This is a fascinating period of history and one about which I didn’t know a great deal before. One thing I did know was the fact that George I and his son never saw eye-to-eye (a situation which repeated itself with each successive George!) and that the younger man felt as though he was being continually snubbed and overlooked by his father. This was mostly because of his resentment of his son’s popularity; the king’s British subjects did not take kindly to their new, German monarch and the clever Caroline had quickly realised that his peoples’ disapproval provided the perfect opportunity for her husband to ingratiate himself with them. The king went to extraordinary lengths to humiliate his son, and Ms Purcell weaves such instances into her story with skill and relish, painting a superb picture of the rivalry between the men and shining a clear light upon the political machinations and manouevrings of the two opposing camps. But the real meat of the story lies in the relationship between Henrietta and Caroline, and in the way the author highlights the differences and similarities between them. On the outside, they would seem to have little in common; Caroline lives in luxury, surrounded by servants, married to a man who dotes on her (even though, as was common at the time, he kept a mistress), whereas Henrietta is a brutalised young woman, struggling to feed her child while wondering all the time if her husband’s next blow would kill her. Yet as the story progresses, it becomes clear that in spite of their differing circumstances, both are nonetheless bound by the restrictions imposed upon them simply because they are women, and both have been cruelly deprived of the company of their children by men who wish to control them. When, to serve her own purposes, Caroline forces Henrietta to make an impossible choice, their relationship is irrevocably changed – but even then, Henrietta continues to serve her mistress faithfully, maintaining her dignity and serene demeanour in the face of insult and derision. Yet the reasons behind Caroline’s actions are completely understandable and easy to sympathise with, making it impossible to see her in a bad light. In the end, these are women living in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances doing what they have to do to survive, and it makes for a thoroughly gripping story. Ms Purcell’s writing style is straightforward and easy to read, and the amount of research that has gone into the creation of this story is impressive. Mistress of the Court is one of those books that combines the best of both worlds, being both entertaining and informative as it tells a sometimes difficult story in an unsentimental and engaging manner. I was hooked from the very first page and, even as I recognised the difficulties of Caroline’s situation and felt for her, I was rooting for Henrietta to get what she wanted; namely to be able to live an independent life on her own terms with, hopefully, a man she could love. This is a terrific piece of historical fiction and I’m looking forward to reading more from this talented author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    Purcell's previous novel, Queen of Bedlam , made my top ten of 2014; it was a compelling, sympathetic look at a royal family not often featured in fiction, and it kindled in me a renewed interest (and sympathy) for royal women. In this book, Purcell tells the story of Henrietta Howard, courtier in the Hanover court of George II and Caroline. Trapped in a violent marriage, Henrietta moves her abusive, gambling husband to Germany in hopes of bettering their lives. Her obvious plight touches Car Purcell's previous novel, Queen of Bedlam , made my top ten of 2014; it was a compelling, sympathetic look at a royal family not often featured in fiction, and it kindled in me a renewed interest (and sympathy) for royal women. In this book, Purcell tells the story of Henrietta Howard, courtier in the Hanover court of George II and Caroline. Trapped in a violent marriage, Henrietta moves her abusive, gambling husband to Germany in hopes of bettering their lives. Her obvious plight touches Caroline, and the two develop an intimate friendship of sorts. So loyal is Henrietta that when asked by Caroline, she becomes the King's mistress. And from there, Henrietta is plunged into even more emotional tumult. What privilege and comfort she got from that romance was countered by the loss of her friendship with Caroline as well as access to her only child. I was gripped by this novel from the first page. Despite the scandalous plot, it's a deeply melancholy novel -- so much loss, so much sacrifice -- and I loved that Purcell focused on the darkly pragmatic nature of royal mistresses. The point of view switches between Henrietta and Caroline (occasionally in the same paragraph, which was confusing!), allowing the rich, complicated relationship between these two women to come into full view. I liked and felt for both of them, two women battling the unfair power wielded by the men in their lives. The characters are all vibrant and unforgettable. In some ways, Henrietta could be seen as a passive puppet ("...she had given and given of herself until she was nothing but a limp rag rung through a mangle." p 290) and yet, Purcell articulates such tender affection for her, I felt the same way. George I, Caroline's father-in-law, is a manipulative, villainous man I loathed -- fun, since in her Author's Note, Purcell comments that she wrote him from the view of George II and Caroline and plans to feature him in a future novel -- one I will undoubtedly get because I cannot wait to see how she makes me care for him! The world of the Hanover court is also portrayed with evocative detail, small dashes of description that linger in my mind -- the mushrooms growing from the walls in the dank rooms of one palace, the glittering splendor of another -- as well as other tidbits about life in this time. (For a behind-the-curtain look at writing historical fiction, I recommend Purcell's blog post about wrestling with the historical stuff that readers think aren't historical!) Moms will appreciate this endorsement for what it means, but this book was so good, I read it in bed (under my pillow, to keep from waking the baby!). With this read, Purcell can count me a devoted fangirl. She does historical fiction beautifully, taking people and places foreign and unfamiliar, and rendering them warm, real, and approachable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grace Troxel

    This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: http://bookswithoutanypictures.com/20... Mistress of the Court by Laura Purcell is a historical fiction novel about the Hanoverian monarchy. The protagonist, Henrietta Howard, is trapped in an abusive marriage, and sees entering court as a way to escape her tyrannical husband. She sells her few possessions for a ticket to Hanover, where she is accepted into princess Caroline’s household. She and Caroline become confidantes, an This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: http://bookswithoutanypictures.com/20... Mistress of the Court by Laura Purcell is a historical fiction novel about the Hanoverian monarchy. The protagonist, Henrietta Howard, is trapped in an abusive marriage, and sees entering court as a way to escape her tyrannical husband. She sells her few possessions for a ticket to Hanover, where she is accepted into princess Caroline’s household. She and Caroline become confidantes, and as Caroline and her husband George aspire to the English throne, Henrietta begins to help George with his English. But George wants more than that, and Henrietta becomes his reluctant mistress. In many cases, royal mistresses in fiction are treated as gold-diggers. Henrietta is a much more sympathetic character who is portrayed as making the decisions she does because they’re her best options in light of terrible circumstances. Her husband is clearly dangerous, and as a woman in the 18th century, Henrietta has zero legal recourse and must seek whatever protection she can. The theme of Henrietta’s desperate struggle to escape domestic violence permeates the entire novel, and makes me realize how very glad I am to be alive in the 21st century. Her husband Charles was a terrible person, and I kept wishing that Henrietta and Caroline would go all Goodbye Earl on him. But alas, we can’t change history. On a similar note, the oppression of women throughout Mistress of the Court extended to the fact that they had no legal right to their own children. When Henrietta first escapes Charles’ grasp, she is forced to leave her son behind, never to truly return to her. When they are finally reunited, Charles has already influenced him to the point that they no longer have a relationship. Meanwhile, when Caroline and George go to England, the king forces them to leave their son Fred at Hanover. The royal family isn’t reunited for many years, at which point Fred is not the sweet young son that Caroline had left behind, and instead has political aspirations of his own. The women in the story were robbed of being able to see their children’s childhood and to be able to build relationships with them. Caroline, Henrietta, and George formed a rather awkward love triangle. Caroline initially wanted Henrietta to sleep with George as a distraction as part of her own political machinations. But she quickly becomes jealous of their relationship, and starts going all Mean Girls on Henrietta. Henrietta gets to experience somewhat of a normal relationship for the first time in her life, but at the expense of one of her closest friendships. Meanwhile, it never really was her choice, as Caroline used protection against Charles in order to leverage her into the position. Once Henrietta was there, she realized just how unstable her own position was, and how little actual power a royal mistress had. While I enjoyed being able to learn more about history through Mistress of the Court, I found the story itself to be extremely depressing. And although the novel ended on a positive note and with Henrietta’s eventual empowerment, I couldn’t help but feel sad for all of the opportunities that had been lost.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Martine Bailey

    In her latest novel, young British novelist Laura Purcell has turned her talents to the tale of two remarkable women of the Georgian era, forced together in a relationship that swings from liking to dependence to loathing. Princess Caroline of Ansbach is intelligent, powerful and married to George, the future King, when the novel opens. In contrast, Henrietta Howard is a poverty-stricken young mother and victim of an abusive husband, the ghastly sponger Charles Howard. Casting all her resources In her latest novel, young British novelist Laura Purcell has turned her talents to the tale of two remarkable women of the Georgian era, forced together in a relationship that swings from liking to dependence to loathing. Princess Caroline of Ansbach is intelligent, powerful and married to George, the future King, when the novel opens. In contrast, Henrietta Howard is a poverty-stricken young mother and victim of an abusive husband, the ghastly sponger Charles Howard. Casting all her resources on one throw in the game, Henrietta travels out to the Hanoverian court in Germany and in spite of being partially deaf from a blow from her husband, psychologically alone and inappropriately dressed, she succeeds in ingratiating herself to the royal pair. Henrietta’s star rises because of the convention that George needs a mistress and it seems that Caroline prefers that her submissive servant takes the dubious honour. As in the excellent Queen of Bedlam, it is surprising to learn what dreadful conditions the royal family endured at that time and how circumscribed their lives were. If asked whether anyone in the royal family is made happy by their rank and wealth, one would have to say, no. Particularly unfortunate is what we would now call the dysfunctional curse of Hanoverian fathers and sons, seemingly trapped in mutual aversion. Purcell cleverly contrasts Caroline and Henrietta’s lives, as we follow their attempts to gain love, power, and the regard of children. Being a great aficionado of the eighteenth century, it is salutary to be reminded just how difficult life could be for women in the past, and just how imprisoning a bad marriage could be. The other theme that stays with me is the lack of reliable medical care, as both women suffer terribly from conditions untreatable at the time that modern medicine might at least relieve. As the pages rapidly turned, my sympathies swung between Queen and mistress; both women essentially trapped in the court’s uneasy power games. As for George himself, he is well rendered as fundamentally weak, bad tempered and difficult. Some of the best moments in the novel are those when we understand Caroline’s complicity with the arrangement, as a means to fob her irritating husband off on a weaker woman. I also found myself cheering Henrietta on in her journey from utter desperation to a more independent life. After the book had ended, I had to eagerly search out images of the main characters and also a certain building that becomes a positive symbol more valuable than any royal palace.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Raven Haired Girl

    Laura Purcell has joined the ranks of my favorite authors. She provided two memorable women whose lives collide in a rocky quasi partnership. Purcell illustrates how challenging the era was towards women especially when trapped within the bonds of a horrid marriage. The disparity between Caroline and Henrietta is obvious however, their similarities are evident through love, power, and their unfaltering love of their children. Quite a page turner and you will find yourself at odds with each woman, Laura Purcell has joined the ranks of my favorite authors. She provided two memorable women whose lives collide in a rocky quasi partnership. Purcell illustrates how challenging the era was towards women especially when trapped within the bonds of a horrid marriage. The disparity between Caroline and Henrietta is obvious however, their similarities are evident through love, power, and their unfaltering love of their children. Quite a page turner and you will find yourself at odds with each woman, each tugging at pulling at you. You feel tremendous empathy for these two women as they are pawns of the court, mere instruments of power. You vacillate from the Queen's pains to the uncomfortable predicament of mistress, a true emotional rollercoaster ride. George possesses zero backbone, simply a weakling, he disguises his weakness by his temper tantrums and intimidating demeanor. Caroline sacrifices and the reader understands her reason for agreeing to the arrangement as opposing along with her choice in involving Henrietta. Henrietta really grabs your heart, you enter the story rooting for her, you feel for the choices she makes but her hand forced she has no other options in order to survive, to gain her independence, she's a casualty of the times and sadly by her overall predicament. A wonderful story, well written. A story of what lengths women will do for the love of their children when dealt a challenging and unfair hand. I look forward to more from Laura Purcell, one talented authoress. Visit Raven Haired Girl for more reviews & giveaways

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda Brant

    Not since Jean Plaidy’s Georgian series has historical fiction about the Hanoverian monarchy been so captivating in all its glorious and gritty intrigue. Henrietta Howard, wife of a brutish husband and mistress of a king, is portrayed with sympathetic realism, a woman of her time and place, who through circumstance and determination makes the best of a bad lot. Queen Caroline, intelligent and manipulative; George the Second, moody and managed; the Georgian setting in all its filth and splendor, Not since Jean Plaidy’s Georgian series has historical fiction about the Hanoverian monarchy been so captivating in all its glorious and gritty intrigue. Henrietta Howard, wife of a brutish husband and mistress of a king, is portrayed with sympathetic realism, a woman of her time and place, who through circumstance and determination makes the best of a bad lot. Queen Caroline, intelligent and manipulative; George the Second, moody and managed; the Georgian setting in all its filth and splendor, are brought vividly to life. Laura Purcell is a wonderful storyteller, and Mistress of the Court a fabulous Georgian read! Highly Recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Bruce

    This was the true story of Henrietta Howard who was an abused wife who made her way up in court to become King George's mistress. Very good book!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Guy

    Mistress Of The Court is a wonderfully written novel about the first Hanover King and his family. The focus is on Prince George and Princess Caroline and Henrietta Howard. Henrietta is a woman that you can totally sympathize with. Her husband is very abusive. There's absolutely no way that you can feel anything but hatred for Charles Howard. And when he pits her son against her, you will hate him even more, especially as she did everything to keep her child safe when he was a little boy. On the mo Mistress Of The Court is a wonderfully written novel about the first Hanover King and his family. The focus is on Prince George and Princess Caroline and Henrietta Howard. Henrietta is a woman that you can totally sympathize with. Her husband is very abusive. There's absolutely no way that you can feel anything but hatred for Charles Howard. And when he pits her son against her, you will hate him even more, especially as she did everything to keep her child safe when he was a little boy. On the more royal side you have Caroline and George. They have their own family problems, when George I ascends the throne their family is torn apart in much the same way as Henrietta's life was when she came to court. Through Caroline, Henrietta became mistress, but Henrietta isn't the typical royal mistress. Her relationship with George isn't one based on power or even greed. Their relationship seems to be more a matter of need. All throughout the book I found myself feeling sympathetic more towards Hetty than Caroline, though both women inspire a certain amount of pity from their readers. When George and Hetty's relationship starts to crumble you'd expect to feel elated for Caroline, who would then have her husband back, but really you feel elated for Hetty because she is finally free to live her life. This book was a wonderful read for anyone that loves stories involving the the British monarchy. Its always nice to get away from the Tudors and Stuarts, who seem to dominate most of the books in this genre. I look forward to reading the other books in the Hanover series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    I have a giveaway on my blog for this book http://www.justonemorechapter.com/2015/10/reviewgiveaway-mistress-of-court-by.html It's rare when I venture past the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in my reading. I know the names of the various kings and queens but that's about it. I started Mistress of the Court with both excitement and a little trepidation (would I be lost in an unfamiliar time?). I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author created characters that I really got to k I have a giveaway on my blog for this book http://www.justonemorechapter.com/2015/10/reviewgiveaway-mistress-of-court-by.html It's rare when I venture past the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in my reading. I know the names of the various kings and queens but that's about it. I started Mistress of the Court with both excitement and a little trepidation (would I be lost in an unfamiliar time?). I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author created characters that I really got to know, not just on the surface but she got inside of them which had me feeling much empathy for their plight. The story weaves the POV which I liked, it gives the reader both sides of certain plot lines. Again not being familiar with issues of the day, I learned much as I was also entertained. The outline of this book above does a great job with what this book is about, no need for me to add to it. The authors writing was smooth and her knowledge of this time period is evident. Reading it wasn't hard to feel the life style of that era. Upon closing the book I googled what I could about both Henrietta and Caroline, even King George (was he really that nasty?). I think I have myself a new time period to study and read about. The conflicts, family drama seem as typical as any other British royalty and the author has done a great job with Mistress of the Court. There is a nice couple pages with Author's notes which just completed this book perfectly. I eagerly away the sequel and reading more of her books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "Mistress of the Court" is the second book in Laura Purcell's Georgian Queens series. This book is a standalone but I do suggest that you go back and read the first books in the series "Queen of Bedlam," because it is good historical fiction. This second book in the series takes on Henrietta Howard, a woman who becomes the unwilling (at least at first!) mistress to King George II. She and King George's wife, Caroline, are at the center of this story. This story brought to life two woman at the c "Mistress of the Court" is the second book in Laura Purcell's Georgian Queens series. This book is a standalone but I do suggest that you go back and read the first books in the series "Queen of Bedlam," because it is good historical fiction. This second book in the series takes on Henrietta Howard, a woman who becomes the unwilling (at least at first!) mistress to King George II. She and King George's wife, Caroline, are at the center of this story. This story brought to life two woman at the center of a very volatile time in British history. I have not read a lot about the Georgian period of British royalty, particularly not in fiction. After enjoying "Queen of Bedlam," I was anxious to read this book. What I found was some interesting characters and a great story line. Princess Caroline understands that there are many things that she can control secondarily if she cannot control them primarily.Henrietta becoming her husband's mistress is one of those things. The way that the author writes about the dynamic between these two women is so interesting and makes for a really interesting power play that kept me entertained. I really enjoyed visiting a new setting in this book. I love reading about British royalty and I liked the way that the author added detail to make the story really pop. I will be interested to see what the author comes out with next!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    The earlier reigns of the Georgian period are admittedly not something I’ve really found an interest in previously. Not because I tried and didn’t enjoy them, just because I’ve never chosen to read about them before. Having loved all of Laura Purcell’s previous novels, including The Queen of Bedlam, which is about George III and his bouts of madness, there really wasn’t a question whether I’d read this book or not. I absolutely was going to read it. And, I’m not disappointed that I did. Mistress The earlier reigns of the Georgian period are admittedly not something I’ve really found an interest in previously. Not because I tried and didn’t enjoy them, just because I’ve never chosen to read about them before. Having loved all of Laura Purcell’s previous novels, including The Queen of Bedlam, which is about George III and his bouts of madness, there really wasn’t a question whether I’d read this book or not. I absolutely was going to read it. And, I’m not disappointed that I did. Mistress of the Court focuses on King George II, his wife Queen Caroline, and his mistress Henrietta Howard. The story begins in the reign of Queen Anne. George Ludwig (the future George I) is her heir, but he and his family remain in Hannover where his is Elector. Henrietta Howard is married to Charles Howard, disgraced brother of Edward Howard, Earl of Sussex. He’s an abusive alcoholic with a gambling addiction, who doesn’t think twice about beating his wife black and blue in front of their young son Henry. Henrietta is forced to live in poverty whilst her husband gambles every last penny they own. She knows she cannot continue to live her life like this, so she sells what little furniture the couple own in exchange for passage over to Hannover. If she can ingratiate herself with the soon to be British royal family, she knows she can secure herself a job within their household, which will provide her some protection from Charles. Once they arrive in Hannover, she is employed by Sophia, George Ludwig’s mother, and next in line to the throne of Britain. Sophia thinks that by welcoming Henrietta into her household, she will learn valuable information about the court in England, the customs, the language etc. In a tragic twist of fate, Sophia dies just weeks before Queen Anne dies, leaving George Ludwig to inherit the throne and become George I. The new royal family travel over to England, Henrietta has now found herself employed by Princess Caroline, wife of the new prince of Wales, George. Caroline is a kind mistress. She secures Charles a job within the new king’s household, providing even more security for Henrietta. Henrietta envies Caroline, as her husband George is loving, caring, devoted. She’s attracted to him, and it’s not long before he notices her own beauty. As time passes, she finds herself in his company more and more, and begins to be recognised as his mistress. Although she is a lady of Caroline’s bedchamber, Caroline seems to be at peace with the role in which Henrietta is playing for her husband. With the eventual death of George I comes the reign of George II. Henrietta is now mistress to the king of Great Britain. He lavishes her with gifts and attention. Soon Caroline finds herself feeling jealous of Henrietta. This is where politics become involved. Henrietta is friends with a lot of the members of the Tory party, and Caroline is friends with the members of the Whig party. This becomes the focus of both women, trying to use their influence with the king to further the cause of their friends/political leanings. King George doesn’t like either woman meddling in affairs of state, but Henrietta finds herself on the losing side, and soon falls out of favour. She uses a (parting) gift of money from the king to build her own London residence. From here on, things change drastically. Firstly her husband inherits the earldom of Sussex from his brother, making her a countess, despite the fact they are legally separated. This changes her position within Caroline’s household, and she is promoted to Mistress of the Robes. Then, she finds herself falling for a Tory party member, and brother of her friend, Mr Berkeley. She decides that now she is free from both her husband, and the king, she will pursue her own happiness, and marries Mr Berkeley. The story has a bit of a sickly sweet happy ending, but that’s really what happened. This actually was a story with a happy ending. I love the way Purcell’s writing flows. She really does tell a wonderful story. Her characterisations are always well thought out and fully realised. I find myself impatiently waiting for the next instalment of this Georgian series, which according to the author’s note at the end of this book, is to be about Augusta, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales, estranged son of George II and Caroline.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tasneem Jamal

    3.25 stars The start starting very well and ended very poorly. The promise of this novel sounds interesting but the monotony of the characters killed the excitement, especially when we talk about Mrs Howard how she changed very little during the years and how she was stupid in her chooses but fortune was on her side. The writing style was smooth and engaging, I mean I felt that I was there in the 18 century.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Paszkowski

    Wonderful novel I truly enjoyed this book - a really poignant tale of Henrietta Howard's time as a mistress at court. I fell in love with the entire cast, even the volatile King George.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heaven Claussen

    Such a wonderful series!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I'm not up-to-speed on the lives of royalty so I have no idea how true this book is. That being said, I really enjoyed learning about the woman who would be queen and her loyal servant.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carri

    I couldn't get into this book and stopped reading it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    This is Henrietta Howard story. About her time at court and her various relationships including George II and Caroline of Hanover. What I like is how you have a feel of the times. A keeper.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan Porter

    Good...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Laura Purcell's two books about the Georgian Queens are true masterpieces. Simple as that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mrs. Purcell, for giving these amazing women their voices. I truly believe that you have done their stories justice and I cannot wait for the next book in the series to blow me away :)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Markow

    While I've read (in fact over-read) books about The Tudors,I've read very little about The Hanovers Of England. The Hanover's were German-born royalty; whom, due to The Stuarts inability to provide an heir because of Queen Anne's being unable to conceive and(ousted) King James II's son,James being Catholic like his father,were next in line to succeed. Georg (no E)Ludwig I of Hanover was King of England from 1715-27. Not fluent in English as well as being rather cold and remote(even for a King) h While I've read (in fact over-read) books about The Tudors,I've read very little about The Hanovers Of England. The Hanover's were German-born royalty; whom, due to The Stuarts inability to provide an heir because of Queen Anne's being unable to conceive and(ousted) King James II's son,James being Catholic like his father,were next in line to succeed. Georg (no E)Ludwig I of Hanover was King of England from 1715-27. Not fluent in English as well as being rather cold and remote(even for a King) he wasn't popular with the people he reigned over so when he died of a stroke while in Hanover, he was buried there rather than the country he reigned over for 12 years. This book however, focuses mostly on the King's Daughter In Law,Princess Caroline,and her unlikely Lady-In-Waiting, Henrietta Howard. Born into a wealthy family but left orphaned and penniless, she marries Henry Howard(Yes, of THOSE Howards) who is both abusive and alcoholic. Stuck in the London Slums with her Hubby From Hell (who also has a bit a of a gambling problem) & their young son; Henrietta, banking on their last name, gathers enough money to take a ship to Herrenhausen. Her goal is to ingratiate herself to Princess Caroline; whose Father-In-Law is about to be King of England. She ultimately succeeds and follows the family back to England when Georg Ludwig inherits the throne;becoming King George I. The book then chronicles how Henrietta becomes Princess Caroline's most trusted addition to her royal household, helping her through a difficult childbirth as well as her Father-In-Law's decision to have their eldest son stay in Hanover when he becomes King, then taking her beloved children away to live with him as a power ploy. In spite of all this,she also envies the Princess and even dyes her own naturally dark hair blonde(using Horse Urine!) to emulate her. Most of all, she's jealous of the fact that her husband doesn't beat her or drink himself into a stupor, so when Princess Caroline asks Henrietta to "service" him while she's pregnant (which was often) she complies(though she would walk over hot coals for her mistress at this point) However, when Henrietta and Prince George genuinely start to care about one another, it's not what either expect (especially since he was a well-known womanizer, even describing his sexual exploits in detail to his wife.) so it kinda complicates things. Henrietta, besides being in their debt for letting her be a part of the Royal Household for both financial as well as emotional reasons; depends on their protection from her husband whom she still greatly fears. Still, by the time King George I dies and his son and Princess Caroline become King and Queen,Henrietta tires of being in their service and longs for permission to leave and a home of her own,especially after George The II signs off on a legal separation from her husband and she inherits money from a deceased relative of her husband's( Her husband's uncle especially requests that Henrietta, not his nephew, receive the inheritance as he fears he'll gamble it away.)But retiring from the Royal Household isn't as easy as she thinks especially since The King and Queen still need her, albeit for different reasons. Besides the interesting story, I really liked how this book depicts the era; the dirt, grime and disease( even though Princes Caroline has their children inculcated against Small Pox after their oldest daughter contracts it) Also, Henrietta's apartment is so damp and below quarters that she actually has mushrooms growing in it. In sharp contrast, are the beautiful gowns and the plush lifestyle of Hampton Court, where the Royal Family spent their summers, far away from fetid, overcrowded 18th century London. Finally, Henrietta is likable even though she lets herself be pimped out by her Mistress. So if you like Her-storical Fiction and want to read about a less-written about era of English History, check this book out..!

  22. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    http://openbooksociety.com/article/mi... Mistress of the Court Georgian Queens, Book #2 By Laura Purcell ISBN: 9781910183076 Author Website: http://laurapurcell.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Una Review: I loved this story as it tells the journey of Henrietta a brutally abused wife of Charles who for the sake of their son Henry finds herself and her husband a place in the court of George and Caroline the Prince and Princess of Wales, to remove them from a life of abject poverty that Charles has subj http://openbooksociety.com/article/mi... Mistress of the Court Georgian Queens, Book #2 By Laura Purcell ISBN: 9781910183076 Author Website: http://laurapurcell.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Una Review: I loved this story as it tells the journey of Henrietta a brutally abused wife of Charles who for the sake of their son Henry finds herself and her husband a place in the court of George and Caroline the Prince and Princess of Wales, to remove them from a life of abject poverty that Charles has subjected them to. Henrietta becomes Caroline’s confidant as they share much in common. Their boys are about the same age and both women have very little say in their futures. When Caroline suggests that Henrietta become the mistress of George, as she feels she would rather know who he was courting with, Henrietta has no option but to obey. Henrietta, to please George must dye her hair blonde using horse urine to lighten it ,as George has a preference for blondes. Henrietta knows the affair will bring the worst out in Charles and after a brutal beating, in vengeance he takes Henry away from her and eventually turns Henry against her. It breaks Henrietta’s heart when Henry ,when he is older, says to her that she has brought shame against the family name and likely warranted the abuse Charles subjected her to. Henry states, to Henrietta’s dismay, that he wants nothing more to do with her. Caroline can also relate to this as her oldest son was taken away from her at 7 as they left Germany to remain as the future ruler of Hannover and also becomes distant to her as he gets older. Caroline, as she sees her husband become more emotionally connected to Henrietta, turns against her also, bringing out a mean streak and forcing Henrietta to make a life changing decision. Henrietta knows that she will not be the King’s mistress forever as George is already searching for someone younger. When he repays her for her services, and luck has it that Charles eventually inherits a title, Henrietta has the ammunition to set up a life for herself. With the help of her brother whom Charles had forbidden her to see, she is able to, with great difficulty, break her bond with Charles and begin to build a life of her own. Only when Charles dies is she able to live freely, and make her own decisions. I am always amazed at how little control these women had of their own futures. They were the property of their husbands and had no rights. Divorce was not an option and abuse was not a ground for leaving. They literally were breeders of future generations and even wealth and breeding had no say in their outcomes. This is a delightful fast moving story that will keep the reader turning pages. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the flow of the story, and the setting and I definitely look forward to more books from Laura Purcell.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    If anything, I enjoyed Laura Purcell’s second novel based on the lives of the Hanoverian court more than her first, Queen of Bedlam, a touching story of the unfortunate and misunderstood George III and how his illness impacted on his daughters. Mistress of the Court is a deeply moving biographical story of Henrietta Howard, who was to become Countess of Suffolk. The loss of her father at a young age, followed by the deaths of her elder siblings, left Henrietta at the mercy of wealthier relatives If anything, I enjoyed Laura Purcell’s second novel based on the lives of the Hanoverian court more than her first, Queen of Bedlam, a touching story of the unfortunate and misunderstood George III and how his illness impacted on his daughters. Mistress of the Court is a deeply moving biographical story of Henrietta Howard, who was to become Countess of Suffolk. The loss of her father at a young age, followed by the deaths of her elder siblings, left Henrietta at the mercy of wealthier relatives. Through gratitude and duty, she married Charles Howard, a man who proved to be a disastrous choice, but her strong character made her determined to overcome both physical abuse and being one of a noble family but without the financial rewards. Queen Anne is reaching the end of her reign, and despite poverty and a drunken wastrel of a husband, Henrietta takes him to Herrenhausen and the court of Sophia of Hanover. Using her noble contacts and discreet manners, Henrietta secures positions for both herself and Charles. Within months, Sophia is dead, but this is quickly followed by Queen Anne, making Sophia’s son George King of England. Henrietta returns to her homeland in triumph, though her feckless husband’s behaviour threatens to ruin them both. Henrietta is not to be left alone to enjoy her achievement, and instead, has to fight for everything she has, and fight again when circumstances contrive to deprive her of all that she loves. Manoeuvred into a position at court she never sought, subject to the jealousies of others, the violent spite of her husband and the resentment of her royal mistress, Caroline of Ansbach, Henrietta remains serene, aristocratic and unaffected – at least to the outside world. Written in a realistic, but unsentimental way, this is a fictional, but chillingly accurate account of Henrietta’s misery among the luxury of court life, while clinging to the belief that one day, she will be free to have a life entirely her own. Ms Purcell’s knowledge of the intimate life of the Hanoverians is stunning, and in this novel she has brought a remarkable, and unappreciated heroine to gritty, heart-breaking life. A definite keeper.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather C

    The Georgian period is not one that I am all that familiar with. I have a vague understanding of George III from my American history classes and Queen of Bedlam also by Purcell. Beyond that, I am a blank slate. So everything in Mistress of the Court was entirely new to me. From my perspective, I think Purcell did an excellent job of creating the feel of this time period - from personalities to politics to ways of life. I had a clear vision of George I and George II as well as Queen Caroline and H The Georgian period is not one that I am all that familiar with. I have a vague understanding of George III from my American history classes and Queen of Bedlam also by Purcell. Beyond that, I am a blank slate. So everything in Mistress of the Court was entirely new to me. From my perspective, I think Purcell did an excellent job of creating the feel of this time period - from personalities to politics to ways of life. I had a clear vision of George I and George II as well as Queen Caroline and Henrietta Howard. Even the secondary characters were well defined and stood on their own. The novel covers time spent at the court in Hanover prior to George I taking the English throne (as well as after the ascension) and it was interesting to be able to compare the two ways of life and what it meant to the characters. Caroline and Henrietta had definitive ideas of what the move to England would bring to them…and as life goes, nothing turns out quite like they expect. Additionally, we see life for the poor (where Caroline begins the novel) as well as life in the court (which wasn’t always the glitz and glamour). Some great foiling of characters and settings here draws some great visualizations for the reader. I really enjoyed the back and forth between Caroline and Henrietta. They always seemed to need each other for something and it was clearly a love/hate relationship. The narrative here raced right along and I found myself being drawn back to read at every chance I got. The characters were well written and I enjoyed reading about a new time/place. I found this to be excellent reading that I would highly recommend to others. As a tidbit, the author has some great miscellaneous material related to this book on her website and even a scene that was cut from the novel if you need more to fill your appetite (I already checked them all out). This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    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 famil 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Henrietta Howard is poor and wife to an abusive husband. The only things she cherishes are her son, Henry, and her English last name. She uses that name to find a position with Sophia, the grandmother of King George II, while the family is still in Hanover, waiting for their opportunity to claim the throne. Unfortunately Sophia passes away before this happens, but Henrietta secures a position with her granddaughter in law, Caroline, the future Queen of England. When the family moves back to Engl Henrietta Howard is poor and wife to an abusive husband. The only things she cherishes are her son, Henry, and her English last name. She uses that name to find a position with Sophia, the grandmother of King George II, while the family is still in Hanover, waiting for their opportunity to claim the throne. Unfortunately Sophia passes away before this happens, but Henrietta secures a position with her granddaughter in law, Caroline, the future Queen of England. When the family moves back to England, Henrietta finds herself a part of royal court. However she is still abused by her husband who serves King George I. When George I banishes Caroline and her husband from court, Henrietta chooses serving them over staying with her family. I love, love, love British royalty historical fiction. But it has to be done right; historical fiction can get very dry. Thankfully this book was anything but! I've had a lot of luck with historical fiction recently and I'm happy that this book continued my streak. I was able to both learn more about George I/George II and be entertained by the characters and drama that encircled them. It did take me a little time to get in to this book though. For some reason, I wasn't prepared for the story to be narrated by both Henrietta and Caroline so whenever the narration switched, I got confused about who was now narrating. Eventually I got in to the flow and was used to it. There's a blurb at the end of the book from the author and it sounds like there are more books planned to shed light on other people in this time. I'd be interested in reading these!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debra Schoenberger

    Sometimes you just want to sit down with a really, really good book. I enjoy historical fiction and was thoroughly engrossed in Mistress of the Court. The book was well-written, the characters fully developed and the storyline easy to follow. Henrietta is a noblewoman with no income or future, married to a drunken, abusive soldier. She is desperate to improve her life for both herself and her son and sells everything she has, including her hair to enable her to travel to the Hanoverian Court in G Sometimes you just want to sit down with a really, really good book. I enjoy historical fiction and was thoroughly engrossed in Mistress of the Court. The book was well-written, the characters fully developed and the storyline easy to follow. Henrietta is a noblewoman with no income or future, married to a drunken, abusive soldier. She is desperate to improve her life for both herself and her son and sells everything she has, including her hair to enable her to travel to the Hanoverian Court in Germany where, with time, she can earn enough for her freedom. Soon she moves up from poor relation to the mistress of George, the future King. She longs for security and love but the intrigues, false friends, backstabbing and powerplays create turmoil for Henrietta, who also fears the return of her physically and emotionally abusive husband. The plot is written from the viewpoint of both Henrietta and Princess Caroline. You are able sympathize with both women, each with her own internal struggle and ambition. Their relationship is symbiotic yet simultaneously destructive. Who will survive?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Swift

    A page-turner of a book about a little known episode in our history. Hanoverian Court life is so vividly recreated, you'll think you were there.The extraordinary friendship between Henrietta Howard and Princess Caroline drives this fabulous novel, which details the Hanoverians' political machinations to retain the English throne. Henrietta has some difficult choices to make - she has to choose between her friendship with Princess Caroline and embarking upon an affair with the Prince which could A page-turner of a book about a little known episode in our history. Hanoverian Court life is so vividly recreated, you'll think you were there.The extraordinary friendship between Henrietta Howard and Princess Caroline drives this fabulous novel, which details the Hanoverians' political machinations to retain the English throne. Henrietta has some difficult choices to make - she has to choose between her friendship with Princess Caroline and embarking upon an affair with the Prince which could give her access to her exiled children. Laura Purcell uses the emotional impact of the plot to craft a gripping read which not only gives a great insight into a little known Royal household, but also gives us two strong female characters whom the reader cannot help but admire. Highly Recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I won this in the giveaways in exchange for an honest review. I put my hands up and admit I was wrong; I thought this was going to be a trashy novel that I would find difficult to read. Instead, it was a stunning expose of life in royal circles in the Georgian era, a time when women were still property and a battered wife considered to be deserving of a beating. Purcell portrays the life of Henrietta Howard, servant and mistress, as told through the eyes of Howard herself and Queen Caroline, wife I won this in the giveaways in exchange for an honest review. I put my hands up and admit I was wrong; I thought this was going to be a trashy novel that I would find difficult to read. Instead, it was a stunning expose of life in royal circles in the Georgian era, a time when women were still property and a battered wife considered to be deserving of a beating. Purcell portrays the life of Henrietta Howard, servant and mistress, as told through the eyes of Howard herself and Queen Caroline, wife of George II. Absolutely brilliant. I was totally engaged from the first paragraph and cannot wait to read more by this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicki Ramsay

    I really enjoyed this book. The author had me hooked from the first page to the last and the descriptive writing style allowed visualisation of every intricate detail of Hanoverian court life. I cannot comment on the historical accuracy as for some reason my history education seemed to skip from the Stuarts to the Victorian era but the book appears to be well researched. Helpfully the author gives notes at the end of the book stating which parts of the book have been given fictional flourishes. I really enjoyed this book. The author had me hooked from the first page to the last and the descriptive writing style allowed visualisation of every intricate detail of Hanoverian court life. I cannot comment on the historical accuracy as for some reason my history education seemed to skip from the Stuarts to the Victorian era but the book appears to be well researched. Helpfully the author gives notes at the end of the book stating which parts of the book have been given fictional flourishes. I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway but will certainly be seeking out other books from this author, I would recommend this for any fans of historical fiction.

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