by Marci Jefferson
Just in time for Valentines' Day, THE GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN is perfect! Based on 17thc. history in the heart of both the French and English courts (involving two of my all-time favourite kings- Louis XIV and the most charming of them all, Charles ll!!)- it doesn't get any better than this. But back to our heroine- Frances Stuart- she is splendid- actually the most beautiful woman of those times. Of royalty herself (except for a glitch somewhere along her royal line), she is Charles ll's distant cousin as well as Madame (Henriette), his youngest sister's very close childhood friend.
Sent off with her family to France, in Madame's personal entourage- Frances is all the rave. Meanwhile, her dear cousin, Henriette is madly in love with King Louis and would do anything to be with him (rather than suffer at the hands of her effeminate and unloving husband- Louis' brother)...Louis reciprocates somewhat, but as his eyes were accustomed to wandering, he wastes no time at setting them on the most beautiful lady at court, Frances herself.
Caught in an awkward moment as Frances denies the King his wanting, Henriette witnesses a heart-breaking moment. Frances is devastated for hurting her cousin although nothing happened. Too late, Henriette wants nothing to do with Frances anymore. As for the King, his pursuit of her is fruitless; Frances does not succumb. So, off she's sent 'on duty'- more like a spy- to King Charles ll's court, where she is to seduce him while having Louis informed...What happens there is a most enticing story of sorts!
Blame it on her beauty or the fact that she did everything right, Charles really does fall in love with her...But how does that actually play out? Well, if you don't know this part of history (I didn't!), you truly will be surprised! THE GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN delivers splendidly by keeping history in pace with the story without missing a beat.
The writing and prose is outstanding- no one would ever guess this is Marci Jefferson's first novel. Events are timely and developed with care and well researched historical points- plus, the story is so entertaining!. There's no dragging here to get to the essence of what's going to happen- the story moves flawlessly and keeps you hooked until the very end. I was actually touched by several parts in this book and particularly enjoyed the fresh take on characters of some of the other well-known historical figures. As this is my first read ever on Frances Stuart, I am forever grateful to Marci Jefferson for having introduced me to her.
Loved this book!!
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