Saturday, June 8, 2013

mini-review: Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold

The basics: Mistress of My Fate, the first in a planned trilogy, is the story of Henrietta Lightfoot. From the publisher: "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."

My thoughts: The premise sounds great, right? I love a feisty historical heroine and meandering life stories. Yet, I still can't quite put my finger on why this novel didn't work for me. I liked it enough to read all of its 450+ pages in three days, but I never felt truly immersed in the story. Henrietta directly addresses the reader in her retelling of her life, and while I got the impression Rubenhold intended for Henrietta to appear to be trying to hard, it also felt like Rubenhold was trying to hard to make Henrietta precocious. Still, throughout the novel, I kept reminding myself Henrietta was fictional because she felt so real. Strong characterization is a promising start for a trilogy, and I may well revisit the antics of Henrietta when the second volume comes out.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 464 pages
Publication date: January 8, 2013
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Mistress of My Fate from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition--currently on sale for $2.99!)

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