All Mabel MacGinnis has ever known is life in the Manzo Brothers Circus. In 1911, as the strongest woman in Europe, she has quite a reputation. Bram, her father, was a famous strong man. When he dies suddenly, her standing in the circus becomes uncertain. She learns that the mother she thought had died years ago has been alive the entire time. To make matters worse, the truth was hidden from her.
Lady Arabella Warwick dreams of being more than a wife and mother, but in Victorian society, the cards are stacked against the 27-year-old spinster with a passion for Assyriology. Living in genteel poverty with an invalid mother, Arabella’s only option to improve her situation is through marriage to a wealthy young man.
It is 66 AD. Mira Bat-Chet is the daughter of a prosperous Christian family from Yaffa. When the Romans attack, she is taken as a slave and sent to Rome. While there, she becomes a personal attendant to Lady Verina Gallus, member of a prominent patrician family. In the service of Lady Verina, she spends much of her days going to the marketplace, attending to her mistress’s toilette, and embroidering garments with her own skill. When Drusus Flavius Gallus, her mistress’s son, returns to Rome, Mira does what she can to avoid his notice. Despite his attempts to pursue her, she rebuffs him at every instance.
Set in 1586, Forest of Secrets is book 19 in the Ursula Blanchard mystery series. After returning home from a journey, Ursula is approached by Etheldreda Hope, a woman dressed in simple clothing. When Etheldreda regales Ursula with strange tales coming from her village of Chenston, she does not know what to make of it. With whispers about Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Francis Walsingham sends Ursula to Chenston in order to investigate the village. While there, she finds a group of people who still follow the old pagan ways. Do these people pose a threat to Queen Elizabeth? Only time will tell.
Madeleine Boucher is a young woman of humble birth who journeys to Louisiana in the New World. As she leaves behind France and life as a servant, she dreams of the future and the promise that Louisiana holds. As a casquette girl, everything she owns exists in a single trunk. When she arrives in the New World, she becomes one of the most sought-after women, with numerous men wanting to marry her. Despite her popularity amongst the men folk, she dreams of carving out something that is entirely her own.
Bathsheba is an ill-fated biblical figure who has always fascinated me. When I happened upon Angela Hunt’s “Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty,” I was immediately intrigued and decided to give it a try.
The five de Mailly-Nesle sisters live in the paradisaical Quai des Théatins with their parents, the Marquis and Marquise de Nesle et de Mailly. As the five sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne come to grips with growing up and leaving their nursery at the Quai des Théatins, each starts out on her own adventure. Louise, the eldest de Mailly-Nesle sister gets married early on in the story and finds herself trapped in nothing short of a loveless marriage.
Edith Wharton’s last literary work was left incomplete when she passed away in 1936. In the 1990s, author Marion Mainwaring undertook the daunting task of completely Wharton’s final work, The Buccaneers. It is the 1870’s and the St. Georges are a nouveau riche family who are entirely looked down upon by the rest of New York’s upper-crust. The St. George girls are the statuesque and perfect eldest daughter, Virginia and the precocious and childish younger daughter, Nan. Included in this nouveau riche cadre are the Brazilian beauty Conchita Closson and the lovely Lizzy Elmsworth whose family is rather wealthy.