The Ambitious Stepmother (Countess Ashby 3) Paperback – 4 Aug 2003
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‘Fidelis Morgan’s tale of love and greed and alchemy in 1699 is a heady compound of wit, wisdom and wildness. It’s an unsentimental warts-and-all portrait that reeks of authenticity, written with a brio that reflects the age’
‘Hilarious 17th century romp, which combines an authentic slice of history with a tantalising storyline. An authority on the era, Morgan has created an inventive book which wears its learning lightly. Colourful turns of phrase and witty descriptions – leave you with a keen sense of the period’ Daily Mail
‘A lusty, audacious historical romp …all the bawdiness of London at the turn of the 18th century is brought to life’ Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
‘Thigh-slapping, exclamatory stuff … loudly, lustily, enthusiastically done’ Literary Review
‘The perfect autumn read’ Marie Claire
From the Publisher
A rollicking good read, with a highly appealing central character.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I think that the author is in danger of reflecting Restoration comedies too fully in the names she chooses for her characters. A little more overt history and a little less slapstick probably wouldn't go amiss.
Stop-press - I've just read Hallie Rubenhold's first novel and I'd really recommend it over this book. It's better researched and I felt like it was an easy read but that I'd learned a lot about the history of the period when I wasn't looking!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Fidelis Morgan has hit Anastasia and Alpiew's stride with this one. There are some laugh out loud moments: the Countess inadvertently invents Bechamel sauce, and the would-be novelist Isabel Murdo-McTavish, in search of the perfect title for her book, proposes "Gone with the Wind" and "War and Peace." As always, real characters drift in and out of the story, and Anastasia and Alpiew find themselves in the company of the Man in the Iron Mask in the Bastille and grouse about the King's fondness for peas to an incognito Louis the XIV.
This is a light-hearted series for all it doesn't gloss over the real discomfort and physical unpleasantness of 17th and early 18th century life. Ms. Morgan doesn't hesitate to describe the filthy streets of her setting or the dubious personal hygiene of her characters, but the contrast makes Anastasia's and Alpiew's antics that much more credible. As always, the loose ends are tied up, and the chapter headings having to do with 17th century cooking are fascinating. (Larks tongues, anyone?).