Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches King Louis XIV’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. The king turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war.
Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him an honest man and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England’s coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. Until she is forced to choose between love or war.
On the eve of England’s Glorious Revolution, James II forces Frances to decide whether to remain loyal to her Stuart heritage or, like England, make her stand for Liberty. Her portrait as Britannia is minted on every copper coin. There she remains for generations, an enduring symbol of Britain’s independent spirit and her own struggle for freedom.
Marci Jefferson struck gold with her debut novel. Bringing us two royal courts full of interest and intrigue, Louis XIV of France and Charles II of England. Plenty of drama not without twists and turns, all involving a beautiful virtuous girl caught in the crossfire of manipulation and politics, Frances Stuart.
Frances Stuart is intelligent, and empathetic for circumstances out of her control. A deep rooted family secret forces her to play into the political hand forced upon her. Frances proves her loyalty, with plenty of guilt attached, as well as falling madly in love along the way sans her best efforts to avoid the powerful force of adoration.
Enthralling, liaisons galore, love triangles, loads of drama as this period of time warrants. Historical fiction fans will appreciate Frances and her story. Looking forward to Jefferson’s next project, fabulous debut with a wonderful hidden piece of history. Well researched, with a mighty independent strong female protagonist, exactly how I prefer my heroines.