Mistress of My Fate: Book One of the Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot

Hallie Rubenhold, Author
Hallie Rubenhold. Grand Central, $25.99 (452p) ISBN 978-1-4555-1180-8
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 01/01/2013
Paperback - 505 pages - 978-0-552-16251-7
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Rubenhold's first novel reads like a very pleasing and well-researched game of dress up. All the hoped-for characters appear, from innocent ladies and dashing heroes, to scheming cousins and rakish rogues. The story is set in 18th century Britain and follows Henrietta Lightfoot, nee Ingerton, from her sheltered upbringing as the orphaned ward of a weathy uncle, into love and loss of reputation, and the difficulty of surviving in London as a lovely young woman without means of her own. The details of scene and costume are rich and engaging, and everyone does mostly what you expect of them to very satisfying effect. If the prose drags in places, Rubenhold makes up for it with a knack for keeping familiar types from slipping entirely into the two-dimensional. Rubenhold has also authored critically-acclaimed works of non-fiction, and her expert knowledge of the period and its literature is apparent in her novel. The richness of historical detail provides a good leavening against the more predictable elements of the plot: a good-natured romp among beautiful dresses, gothic turns, willful lovers, dastardly plots, lusty bon vivants, and even a ghost. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow and Nesbit. (Jan)
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