Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: The Secret of The Glass, Donna Russo Morin

Right from the start I knew I would be interested in reading THE SECRET OF THE GLASS. How could I pass up a novel on fabulous 17 c Venice and the art of glassmaking? I was hooked from the beginning. Sophia Fiolario, the eldest of Zeno Fiolario’s three daughters, learned the secret of this art.

Taught by her father, and with his comsent, Sophia dared to create the glass- but at a very dangerous price. Women were banned from working the glass and anyone discovered of doing so would risk imprisonment or worse. When Zeno is no longer lucid enough to continue his practice, Sophia worked ‘underground’ to keep the business going. Noone knew.

Betrothed against her will to the arrogant, cold, poor- but of noble class, Pasquale, Sophia is torn by the thought of what wil happen to her sisters, mother and grandmother if her father passes away. Happiness is only a distant dream…until Teodoro comes into the picture. Will Sophia keep her secret? Will the women in her family end up in convents? Will her soul perish muffled in a life of bondage? What will happen when Zeno dies?

The book immediately begins with detailed historical information and luscious descriptions of Venice. Now I know that this can sometimes drag a book, but in my case, I appreciated the details and found it most interesting. I love everything Venetian, and just can’t get enough- and this book certainly gave me my fill. I think this is what I loved best about the book. I pictured every single calle and palazzos in my mind. I never knew that there was a golden book listing all the nobles of Venice. Even Veronica Franco makes an appearance! But, best of all- I loved learning the details of the glass making process and all the politics behind it. This truly was a secret world guarded with their lives.

THE SECRET OF THE GLASS had me dreaming of Venice. If you’re as passionate about the place as I am, you will enjoy reading this tale of romance, picturesque history and the shaping of a great republic ruled by the Doges. And, if you know some Italian, it’s a bonus! This book is filled with the language. As for myself though, I was a bit disappointed that in those instances the Veneto dialect wasn’t used; which would have given the novel more life and flair.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Donna Russo Morin’s work.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gone is the Bad Rap, Finally!- BOOK REVIEW: Her Mother's Daughter, Julianne Lee

Well it’s about time-Finally a book that sets Mary free...Free from all that bad rap and ‘bloody’ name calling I’m so used to reading about. How refreshing, and so unexpected! Julianne Lee, author of Her Mother’s Daughter writes a phenomenal story on the life of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s much reviled, eldest daughter.

In my opinion, there’s way too much negative HF written on Mary with the pendulum exaggeratedly high on  both, the very revered, Elizabeth and her mother, Anne Boleyn. Mary, on the other hand, is too often scorned for being a religious zealot and uber- queen of massacre during her reign.

Unlike the favoured (almost) propaganda-like novels on Mary, Her Mother’s Daughter takes an historical stand in portraying the feel of the times in light of the Catholic and Protestant movements with a refreshingly endearing take on Mary. Julianne Lee portrays Mary through her journey’s destiny, beginning from her infancy to show us a clearer picture of who she really was.

Of course Mary’s intact belief system as a devout Catholic is an underlying factor in this read-but that is certainly not all that this splendid book is about. Almost like a biography, the author takes us through Mary’s life, from her earliest, and happiest memories of her father, right to the end of her reigning years. We get to see her interactions and reactions with all the members of her family and entourage. Her distinct hatred for her step-mother, Anne and her undying love for her father-that is never reciprocated-is very clear. She is stripped of her title, belittled, chastised, used for a means and forgotten. Yet, Mary, despite all this has an unimaginable inner strength and unshakeable faith. I admired her courage throughout and understood her stance in matters of state, love and faith.

Molded by circumstances and stripped of motherly and fatherly love (let alone complete rejection), Mary was a survivor. Even through her love for Phillip, her husband, there was great suffering for none that was reciprocated, compounded with an unfulfilled desire for children…not a crumb of happiness for this forever lonely soul- Ever. Is it any wonder that she found solace in her faith, the only thing that brought her any sense of peace and comfort?

In terms of the writing, Julianne Lee is brilliant. The book flows impeccably as it takes us through Mary’s history. I especially enjoyed the first person interjections of Mary speaking or recounting specific moments in her life. And, how creative that the book should begin with spooked children chanting her name in a mirror: Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary. It hooks you immediately.

I didn’t think I could say this, but Julianne Lee's novel, comes very close to what a modern-day Plaidy might have written. I can’t believe I said that (Arleigh!Marie!)- but yes, I believe it is well merited.

Her Mother’s Daughter is historically accurate, flowing in flawless language and prose, intense, gripping and emotionally filled.

To anyone who would like to learn more about Mary Tudor, I highly recommend this exceptional book. You won’t regret it.

And I’ll say it again- It’s about time!

Thanks to Penguin Group USA for this review copy:)

To read Julianne Lee's excellent Guest Post, SEE HERE.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review: The Death of King Arthur, by Anonymous

Penguin Classics books are always a hit with me.  Every time I decide to pick up one of these books, I come out completely satisfied.  It was no different with this last purchase.
The Death of King Arthur, by Anonymous 

Sitting quaint in my favourite used book store, this tiny book ( at only $1.99) was just waiting for the right person to pick it up and give it a chance.  I’m so glad I did!
The Death of King Arthur, is the famous king's tale written by an unknown author - ‘but most probably a Frenchman from Champagne, writing around 1230-35.’ This in itself got me so curious, that I just had to read it- if not for the story but at least for the flavor of reading something so old. I love the feeling of period writing because it really sets the mood for the piece.  This one did not disappoint.
In The Death Of King Arthur, we read about all the great knights: Lancelot, Sir Gawain, Hector, Mador… Not only do we get the exciting battles fought for principle and reputation, there is so much gallantry, respect, honor and chivalry that make this book a precious piece of literature.  Arthur’s beautiful Queen is at the center of this story, causing much dilemma between both Arthur and Lancelot.
The book is straightforward and although there are no flowery parts or picturesque moments or scenes, in its purity, this story does not need embellishing.  What a refreshing read! Seemingly told by the author, as though he were narrating, I came to accept abrupt changes in the story that simply went like this:   For example,
‘And now the story stops telling of Bors and his company, and returns to Lancelot…’
As strange and cut-off as this may seem, something that would never work in today’s writing, but considering the source and the time, it still works perfectly in this novel.
All I can say is that I really enjoyed reading this amazing tale, although simplistic in its form and told in such a straightforward manner, The Death of King Arthur managed to capture my interest and my heart. It made me remember why it is that I love Penguin Classics so much.  Simply beautiful.

I will be entering this read in the Four Month Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Letter F Read for Alphabet in Historical Fiction...


This fortnight's chosen book for Historical Tapestry's ABC in Historical Fiction Challenge, I've chosen:  

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. The French Mistress, is the story of CharlesII and his mistress, Louise de Keroualle. Something about this French lady who kept herself pure and tantalizing for her one-and-only, the King of England...

I love everything about the 17th c -especially Charles II and the Sun King, so this novel based in both France and England, was way more than it promised. The historical detail, the writing, the setting, the historical figures with their richly entwined lives - everything is positively exquisite.  It's a splendid read that kept me glued to the very end.  It's no wonder that Susan Holloway Scott is one of my very favourite authors.  I strongly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

18th c Venetian Woman Makes History...

Donna Russo Morin’s novel:  THE SECRET OF THE GLASS
You can say that I was inspired by reading  THE SECRET OF THE GLASS, Inspired by Venice, and finally VERY inspired by what’s going on in the world of sports…THE OLYMPICS! 
 So, I thought I’d write a post about a pretty remarkable Venetian sportswoman…
Maria Boscola da Marina
This lady, born in  18th century  Chioggia- part of the Venetian lagoon, was something short of extraordinary for those days.  Have you ever heard of the Regata?   It's one of the most impressive boat (gondola) races ever seen. 
The Regata started around the 14th century as official races for honorary events (example; to celebrate a new Doge, or for royal visits…that type of thing).  Along the centuries it did become a lot more extravagant- quite the event not to be missed.  Nowadays, in September, all of Venice attends the spectacular feast for the eyes, where tourists make it a point to visit specifically to revel in the historical event happening amidst the waters of La Serenissima.
The point to stress here is that although there was much repression in the early centuries, in Venice, this has never stopped bold, smart, strong and determined women to hold their own.  We’ve seen this in art, music, business and even in the art of love (ahhh those famous courtesans…)-but  a Venetian woman making it in sports as well?
Maria Boscola, in her everyday normal life, would tend to her family, grow her vegetables and make her weekly, or daily visit to the market to sell her produce.  That was not the only reason she typically ‘hung’ around the lagoon…
Maria Boscola was the fantastic and unsurpassed female rowing champion of the 18th c!!  She was a champion of the Regata for over 40 years! Renowned and famous all right!  There’s even a painting of her at the Museo Corer of Venice.  Yet, although much was written about her in  newspapers back then, including that she was the pride and joy of Venice…sadly, global research  on this great athlete is rather meek.  Considering  the hardships and insurmountable feats she must have had to go through just to be part of this event (she apparently had a large family of 5 or 6 children to raise…) it's more than just remarkable.
To celebrate the Olympics, Venice, and women of substance, I wanted to pay tribute to one outstanding Venetian lady who made her mark against all odds in a time and place where women hardly ever stood a chance.
Maria Boscola

The Regata

Here's another of the Regata

Monday, February 22, 2010

Announcing out HFBRT EVENT!!

This week at our Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, we're hosting Donna Russo Morin
for the release of THE SECRET OF THE GLASS!

            I am loving this book- stay tuned for my review later on this week:)

There's plenty of great stuff happening at HFBRT and you can check the Calendar for scheduling- but first, you must go read Today's Interview. What an author!

Enjoy a fun-filled week of events! It's Venice all the way!!!


The Winner of THE QUEEN'S DOLLMAKER, by Christine Trent is....

CONGRATULATIONS to Josette from Books Love Me!!!!

Josette, please email me your contact info.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dollmaking Fascination... Book Review and More

I've always loved dolls. Not only did I play with them for the longest time as a child (probably way into the time I should have rather been interested in boys...) I also collected several for a good part of my life -you know the kind that you pick-up in every new country or place you visit? I'm particularly fascinated by antique dolls-considering the whole art history factor. Truly, I love all kinds of dolls; baby dolls, barbie dolls, cut-out dolls- you name it!

But to tell you the truth, the obsession went quiet for awhile- except for those reminders that are constantly left about the house by my eight year-old. It's only after having read Christine Trent's charming novel,

that my interest was once again peaked. Her book is all about a dollmaker's journey in the 18th c. There is so much detail on the whole process, such that it made this book a fascinating read for me. 

See my review here- and for a GIVEAWAY of THE QUEEN'S DOLLMAKER check that out here!

So, I figured I'd look up one of my favourite doll books:

and enter it in the Art History Reading Challenge

 Not only is this book extremely interesting, it's also filled with the most detailed photographs of dolls in history.  Due to its rather large format, 14 x 10 approx., it's possible to relish in the most exquisite almost life size photos of the creations.  There are so many photos of different periods in this book to satisfy any doll afficionado and art historian alike.  A word of caution though, I believe this book to be superb in terms of photography, but the information does not appear to be thorough in terms of both historical accuracy and depth (I have found a few discrepancies).  But- if you're willing to overlook this for the sake of completely abandoning and  losing yourself in immense beauty in creation- this book is tops in terms of photography.  Not only are the dolls fabulous, you have to see the dollhouses! Such incredible detail, especially in the Victorian homes.

And speaking of Victorian, did you know that Queen Victoria owned over 130 dolls and dressed about 30 of these on a regular basis (her governess dressed the rest;)

In this book I found this precious queen Victoria doll: (click to enlarge..she's gorgeous!)

This one was actually created by the Pierotti family (This family even makes an appearance in (The Queen’s Dollmaker). Domenico Pierotti came from Italy and supposedly when he once went to England for a visit, he had such a bad trip going that he decided to settle there rather than make the trip back to Italy.  Whatever the case, it's from then on, in England in late 18th c, that this Italian family would become renouned for their wax dolls.
Here is another of the Pierotti Family creations appearing in this book: (again, click to enlarge:)

In the early 19thc, Napoleon Montanari, born in (where else would someone with a name like that be born..) Corsica, set up shop in England with his British wife, Augusta.  They too became renouned for their real-life dolls- yet extremely expensive. So much so that Madame Montanari had a few rag dolls also created in order to satisfy the tastes and pockets of the proletariat.

Here is a photo of a Montanari doll taken from the Victoriana Site, 
Credit going to:  

Everyone can attest to the beauty of wax dolls, yet in the 18th c or earlier, it was wooden dolls that stole the show.  And, yes, in fact, Marie Antoinette really did love dolls.  There is apparently a doll at the Salisbury and South Museum  that reportedly belonged to Marie Antoinette while she was imprisoned.

Of all the wooden dolls I've ever read about or seen, I believe the most famous and beatifully detailed, withstanding the test of time are most definitely Lord and Lady Clapham- made in the late 17th -early 18th c:

So, as you can see this whole dollmaking business has really enraptured my senses.  I've since been looking up sites on all sorts of dollmaking aspects.  I've come across a few I'd like to share with you.  Go check these out if you have a minute- I promise you will be thrilled with these artists' creations..


Raindrops on Roses Reborns  (This blog is run by my good friend Susie of All Things Royal)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book Review: The Queen's Dollmaker...The Giveaway Continues!

If you’re in a mood for detailed period history in both France and England (the 18th c), weaved into a tale of one woman’s survival, struggle for independence, love, suspense, and an ever- fascinating career..boy do I have a book for you!
Oh, and did I mention this one also contains the Revolution-and our favourite French Queen, Marie Antoinette?

Let alone that The Queen’s Dollmaker is such an interesting read, I just couldn’t get enough of the whole doll making experience.  Every bit of detail is so vividly portrayed that you almost feel part of the setting.  Christine Trent has a knack for sweeping you right into the moment. I had a hard time believing this was the author’s very first novel.

Our heroine, Claudette Laurent, was taught at a young age, the art of dollmaking, by the grand master of dollmaking himself, her father.  Tragically, when her whole family perishes through a horrendous fire, Claudette is left to fend for herself to make a new life in a new country.  On the ship from France to London, she befriends Beatrice, a young widow, and her baby daughter, Marguerite.  The three of them become like family and are inseparable throughout their journey and settling in England. Through highs and lows, which include famine, begging and menial servant work, Claudette rekindles her dream of creating dolls.

At first, this is just a means to their survival. But then, eventually she manages to break free from the misery to building an extraordinarily successful business.  Naturally, Claudette teaches both Beatrice, and Marguerite (who eventually grows up and is an invaluable help to her) the ins and outs of the dollmaking process and the three enjoy life as they finally deserve it.

So what about love?  Claudette is unable to forget her first love, Jean-Philippe, who once upon a time, was her promised betrothed.  However, someone else is constantly in her life, intriguing her with his ways;  the very dashing William Greycliffe. And how does Marie Antoinette fit in the picture?  Claudette actually meets the Queen and becomes her exclusive dollmaker.  She even builds a friendship with Madame Tussaud and also deals with Rose Bertin.  There are so many other historical figures entwined in this story that I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading fiction!

The novel takes us through the history, culminating in Marie Antoinette’s fatal encounter with the Guillotine.  I was amazed by how the author managed to merge important events, details, plot and storyline to produce such an exquisite story that kept me fascinated throughout.  I especially loved the way the book goes into the intricate dollmaking process (this was definitely my favourite part!), Marie Antoinette’s life, the Revolution, the love story- pulling everything together, all the while keeping me satisfied in learning about each and every development.

I found the way the author ran Marie Antoinette’s life in parallel with Claudette’s life extremely clever. This was particularly helpful to situate events and circumstances relating to how Claudette’s life developed in consequence.  I can also understand how, even though sad and difficult for me, Marie Antoinette was not portrayed in the best light.  The author clearly intended to show Marie Antoinette’s tragedy as a result of the ill views of those out to destroy her…vicious effect of the Revolution.  Fortunately, our heroine  is portrayed as loving the Queen and seeing the true good in her- this made her even more endearing to me.

Almost as if narrated by a storyteller, The Queen’s Dollmaker is an historically enchanting fairytale that captivates and satisfies, all the while making you wish that it were all true.

You will love this book!

It's also the Perfect choice for my French Historicals Oh-La –La Challenge!

BTW…If you haven’t entered the GIVEAWAY for this excellent novel, Please check that out here!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Christine Trent Guest Post - and GIVEAWAY!!

Happy Monday Everyone!
Today I have a special treat for you:)  

Christine Trent, Author of the beautiful novel:   TheQueen’s Dollmaker, is here to talk about the famous historical figure, Madame Tussaud.  The famous artist will be part of her next novel- which is a sequel to  TheQueen’s Dollmaker..

I am fascinated by this historical figure- Read on to learn what Christine has to say.  Her research is impeccable and so interesting!

Why is Madame Tussaud’s in London?

I bet many of you have heard of (or even visited) one of the several Madame Tussaud locations around the world.  You may have even visited the original location in London.  You might even know that Marie Grosholtz Tussaud was nearly a victim of the French Revolution.  But do you know why it is that she left her home country to try and establish her wax exhibition in the land of France’s greatest enemy, England?

Tussaud owned a fairly successful wax exhibition in Paris.  However, changing tastes in post-Revolutionary France meant that the show began waning in public popularity.  An opportunity presented itself in one Paul de Philipsthal, a fellow showman who convinced her to combine her wax exhibition with his Phantasmagoria show and put them both on display in England.  (Details about what a Phantasmagoria is in a future post!)   Together, he promised, they’d get very wealthy by providing unusual entertainments to the English. 

Tussaud left her mother, husband, and her younger son behind in 1802, in her endeavor to “strike it rich” in Great Britain.  Her plan was to travel for a couple of years and return when her “purse was full.”  She bundled up her older son, Joseph, who was only four years old at the time, and headed over to England with about 40 pieces of her collection.

She would never set foot in France again.

Philipsthal was a bit of a charlatan.  He convinced Tussaud to sign an extremely uneven contract with him, one in which he would take half of her profits until she could pay off the loan he gave her to get established in Great Britain.  In return, he would pay to have her figures shipped around, and would also pay for advertising of both shows.  Unfortunately, Philipsthal didn’t live up to his end of the bargain.  Tussaud was stuck with paying for everything, AND repaying her loan, AND giving Philipsthal half of her profits.

Who could get out from under that mountain of expenses?

What was worse is that he ordered her from city to city to set up her show for temporary stays, usually timed with some sort of event or festival occurring in that city.  In just a few years, she moved to London, Liverpool, York, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greenock, Waterford, Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and many other cities, frequently returning to them over and over.  In each location, she had to nearly single-handedly set up and dismantle her show, with only Joseph to help.  Philipsthal typically went on to the next city before the hard work of moving the show began.  Because of her tight purse strings, Tussaud minimized the use of any hired help, and would do nearly all of the work herself.

But Tussaud was a consummate perfectionist, businesswoman, and theatrical genius.  With the help of a famous lawyer of the time, she finally managed to cut her ties with Philipsthal and continue on with her traveling show alone for the next 25 years.  Her son Joseph grew up with the show and eventually became an expert waxworker himself.  Her younger son, Francis, joined his brother and mother after becoming an adult, and the three of them ran the exhibition harmoniously together for many years.

In 1835, after traveling Great Britain relentlessly for more than 30 years, Tussaud and her sons brought the exhibition to a permanent stop at the Bazaar on Baker Street in London.  Ironically, it was not a conscious decision to create a fixed location.  However, both boys had married and had their own families, and Tussaud herself was now a 74-year old woman, making such a wandering lifestyle very impractical for all of them.

And so, with only one more move to a nearby location on Marylebone Road (which had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1925), the wax exhibition has been in basically the same place for 175 years.  How many businesses can claim to have lasted that long?

A final note:  Waxworking must be a very healthy activity.  Madame Tussaud lived to the ripe old age of 89, dying in 1850.  She was active with the exhibition until nearly her last breath.  Her family took over the show, but at the death of her grandson, Bernard, the show was bought by a company that has grown it into the multi-site entertainment complex you see today.

A youthful Madame Tussaud:
A wax representation of Madame Tussaud in her later years:

THANK YOU so much Christine for your Amazing Post!!!

And now, for an absolutely Irresistible GIVEAWAY...
Christine is graciously giving away a Personlized copy of  TheQueen’s Dollmaker- Open Worldwide!!!

To Enter:

1 Chance:  Please comnment on Christine's Post and leave me your email address.
2 Chances every time you twitter or blog about this Giveaway- Come back with link please.
5 Chances for posting this on your sidebar linking it back to here.
5 Chances for new followers- (if you're already a follower, you get this automatically).

Good Luck to All!

By the way, The Queen's Dollmaker is an excellent choice for my French Oh-La-La Challenge.  Come join, if you haven't already:)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lots of Darcy Love for My Valentine Winner!!!


And Congratulations to my Winner of The Darcy Trilogy, by Marsha Altman

Please email me with your contact information:)

Friday, February 12, 2010

BOOK MOMENTS: See What's Coming Up!!

I have so many goodies in store for the following weeks… Let me begin by giving you “ un petit gouté” :
-Look forward to my post about an almost obsolete French author that has had her work almost banished from the industry- Why? Her books are sought out like crazy…hmmm.  I have a review on one of hers as well.
-I’ll also be featuring a Victorian series of posts- with Giveaway…Those Victorians, you can't imagine what they handed down to us..
Then...Author Melanie Clegg 
 of that incredibly informative and gorgeous blog Kill Them All, God Will Know His Own, will be visiting with a fabulous guest post here and Giveaway of her first published book:
This one is all about Marie Antoinette and so I am all over it!
-As you know, I am part of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, and end of February will be:

 So stay tuned for some creative stuff happening around this event! (you know the deal:  Giveaways galore, reviews, creative posts, interviews- the works).

Besides this?  Well, the Reviews and Giveaways will keep on pouring in… I’ll also have something on Josephine that will delight to the max- Courtesy of Melanie once again!
Then, I will have Challenge updates for my French Historicals Oh-La-La Challenge 
 ...And announce all of the entrants.  So if you haven’t joined yet- Please do by Clicking right here. This will make you eligible to an end of year Giveaway as well!
ALSO: I have some great Art history books I wanted to show you- so get ready for some art posts and new finds!
So why not start with what’s happening  this Monday?
I have a Guest Post by Christine Trent,

...That will absolutely blow your mind.  This lady is so talented and her history research is always onthe most fascinating and original stuff ever.  She’ll be giving us a glimpse on Tussaud’s life…heroine for her next book.  There will also be a Personalized Giveaway of TheQueen’s Dollmaker along with her guest post- and- it will be open Worldwide!
Did you know that Christine Trent is a new author?  If you ever read The Queen’s Dollmaker- which by the way is an “I’m glued to the page and won’t come up for air”-read, you would think she must be gifted!  A book this good for a first novel? Wow! 
Stay tuned for my review on this one, next Wednesday- followed by another inspiration creative post based on TheQueen’s Dollmaker.
 There’s a lot coming up- and I haven’t even brushed the surface!  More goodies- but why spoil the surprise- I’ve told you enough!
 All I can say is check up on Enchanted by Josephine regularly so that you don’t miss a thing...starting this Monday:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review: Powder and Patch, Georgette Heyer

I’ve only begun reading Heyer’s books as of late last year and can honestly say that so far every single one has been a source of pure delight.  No surprise- Powder and Patch followed suit in keeping me well entertained.  This book, sweet, short, hilarious, with its oh-so-French flair was completed in one sitting.
The book is about Philip Jettan, son to the extravagant Maurice and nephew of Tom.  The latter are both highly fashionable men, who are well known in high society; whereas the good-natured, but somewhat simpleton and rough-on-the-edges Philip, leaves much to be desired.
Philip is, however, the loving flame of Cleone, a neighborhood friend and great beauty.  Cleone, along with the rest of Philip’s small family, all agree that the young man should get a make-over to improve his style, fashion sense, etiquette and social skills. Philip is not too keen on this and believes he should be loved for who he is.  He makes a strong point- Except that things change dramatically when a certain Bancroft comes to town…
Bankroft is handsome, well-mannered, sophisticated, well-versed, and ever so fashionable.  He also has a way with the ladies, and Cleone notices him immediately.  She is seemingly swooned by Bancroft who pays gracious attention to her every need.  Philip notices this but believes that Cleone is his sweetheart and that no one can ever come between them.  Cleone admits that she loves Philip but will not take him as he is…he definitely needs refining.  She would love him to be more romantic and worldly.
The decision is taken by both father and uncle- Philip is to go to France to become more civilized and worldly.  Philip, enflamed by jealousy, finally agrees, and off he goes to Paris.  There, a huge transformation takes place.  Elegance to the max, Philip is the center of all attention- no party is worth going if he’s not present. He’s got style, class, fashion…and, a way with words that makes every woman want to be with him.
When he comes back to England, he is a changed man.  But Philip wants to know if Cleone really loves the man, or the powder.  It is a struggle of wits, suitors for Cleone, love games, jealous rants and more.  Cleone  is not used to this man who is no longer simple…intriguing to the max, she cannot resist him, yet she will not succumb.  What will happen?  Do they end up together or will Cleone marry another?
I loved this sweet story filled with old French sayings that I hadn’t heard in years (Salipopette!) the details in fashion and Phillip’s mundane experiences were totally amusing.  The characters are also perfectly suited to the story.  Heyer brings in Louis XV, la Pompadour and other figures of the times to further immerse us into a world of glamour, extravagance and fun-  all precisely intended to highten Phillips magnificent make-over.  The setting, the language, the story;  everything about this book makes it an extremely enjoyable read. 

Thank you Sourcebooks!