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The Painted Lady Paperback – 19 Aug 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (19 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330472127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330472128
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`There is something charmingly old-fashioned about this account of intrigue and romance in Restoration London...This is an undemanding and highly enjoyable account of the court beauty who was allegedly the model for Britannia on the coinage, and who eventually, one is glad to learn, got her man.'
--Literary Review, Joanna Hines

'Maeve Haran presents a vivid picture of life at the royal court - a mixture of courtesy and coarseness, laxity and loyalty - which makes an easy read.' --Leicester Mercury

'It's evocative, colourful and exciting, but while there are lots of heaving bodices, it's a tad restrained on the ripping front.' --Daily Mail, Wendy Holden

'Haran has created a pacy tale of court intrigue , daring and romance set against a time of war, plague and the Great Fire of London....Overall, an entertaining read that should amuse history buffs almost ( but not quite) as much as die-hard romantics.' --Sussex Life, Anne Hill

About the Author

Maeve Haran is an Oxford Law graduate and former television producer. She took up writing after the birth of her second child and combines fiction with journalism and writing short stories. She has three children and lives with her husband in north London.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This well written historical novel tells the story of Frances Stuart, the beautiful ingénue who captured the heart of a king.When sixteen year old Frances arrives at the English court, her vulnerability and innocence acts as a magnet to a King who is well adept at getting what he wants from women, and yet he can't accept that this one women is beyond his reach. There was endless speculation at the time about "La Belle Stuart" and her relationship with the King, and the "have they, or haven't they" element to their romance added fuel to 17c gossip mongers.

Beautifully descriptive of the restoration period this book brings to life the glittering court of Charles II. The rivalry that existed between the king's mistresses is expertly captured, and yet it's refreshing to read a restoration romance that doesn't involve graphic descriptions of Charles II's sex life !
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I've always been interested in This young lady. Frances Stewart. the woman who kept giving Charles II, a notorious and serial womaniser out of her bed. And everywhere else. The pressure brought to bear on her virtue must have been astonishing, but she stood absolutely rock solid firm against attacks coming at her from all sides. What a pity she's no longer in our coins. Personally, I'd probably have caved - if the price was right. It's sad though, that after her years of waiting for the man we have to accept that she really did love, she had such a short time with him, and never had the brood of happy children she'd wanted so badly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a wee bit of a history buff and knew that Charles II has been a bit of a lad but never knew about this affair. I have since carried out some research and this made the book all the more interesting. It's a great book, well researched and a good read.
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Format: Paperback
A compelling and quick read very picturesque and evocative with rich dialogue. Brings the court of Charles II to life Too me seven days The story of Frances Stuart, who returns from poverty stricken exile in France to the court of Charles II in restoration England. Frances Stuart was such a great beauty that Following the war with the Dutch, Charles had a commemorative medal cast, in which her face was used as a model for Britannia; this subsequently became customary for medals, coins and statues. She continued to appear on some of the copper coinage of the United Kingdom until the decimalization of the currency in 1971
Charles II, used to getting his own way with women becomes infatuated with Frances who resists his advances who is herself in love with the king's cousin Charles Stuart Duke of Richmond and Lennox,
Her great friend and mentor Mall Villiers stands by her side and the totally malignant and vindictive Lady Barbara Castlemaine will stop at nothing to try and destroy Frances, as Castlemaine is insanely jealous of the king's affections for Frances.
I enjoyed this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love historical novels but I've spent a bit too much time in medieval and Tudor England recently, so I was very glad to visit the mid 17th century court of King Charles II with this one.
And because it's peopled almost entirely with real-life characters - the 'painted lady' is Frances Stuart, famous for being just about the only woman at court who refused to sleep with the king - you can use the internet to look up all the Lely portraits as they're mentioned in the book.
I actually found this much more enjoyable than the book itself. All the notorious characters you'd expect are in it, people like Barbara Castlemaine and the Earl of Rochester, and of course there's the plague and the Great Fire of London to cover, too. But despite all these possibilities it never quite comes to life: the characters are drawn far too superficially to get under their skin, so it's hard to care. And what little plot there is - will La Belle Stuart succumb to the king's demands? - is very repetitive, and the hero, Frances's true love the Duke of Richmond, is dull in the extreme.
Unfortunately, it didn't help that I'd re-read Diana Norman's wonderful The Vizard Mask quite recently, which deals with virtually the same period and many of the same characters. It's not my favourite of her books, but when it comes to bringing history to life it's in a different league altogether.
But this was very readable and I'll look for other books from this author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very pleased with this book as I found that the story was well written and well paced. This was the first time I have read a book by this author and I will be reading more of her books. I would definitely recommend this book for those who like historical fiction (based on fact.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A true story of a strong willed woman who lived at court and was pursued by King Charles 2nd, but resisted his advances. The historical events of the plague and the great fire of London, and court life were very informative. Unfortunately the love story was bland, and a bit boring, no exciting episodes.
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