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Monday, March 10, 2014

5 Star Review: Girl on the Golden Coin

My Review: I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Girl on the Golden Coin since last year, and this book definitely delivered all the drama, romance, and intrigue I was expecting! Frances Stuart is portrayed as honorable and virtuous, yet she's able to manipulate not only King Louis XIV and Charles II along with a whole host of courtiers. I've read several other Restoration-era novels, but this was the first one that really brought the full cast of historical characters fully to life: not only the kings and Frances, but also Barbara Palmer, Queen Catherine, and even the future King James. A remarkable and well-written novel!

Synopsis (From the publisher): 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.