on 26 February 2012
There's something to be said about how awesome a book is when it keeps me reading until 3.40 AM and believe me that hasn't happened in a while so hats off to Marie for writing such an absorbing book.
I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, but sometimes it can feel like the same story retold. Not in this case. The story itself had so many bumps, twists and turns I could no sooner predict the ending than I can tomorrow's weather :)
Sophia was a one of a kind character and though sometimes her acts of rebellion made my stomach clench just knowing how much trouble she would get into, I couldn't help but cheer her along. I related to Sophia on so many levels since staying indoors for too long drives me nuts and as for not reading, well, if my father had been like hers I think I would have gone insane. Separating a girl from her books? Disgraceful!
Her father was just...urgh! I think I have my new favourite villain although he is closely followed be Sophia's Aunt Amelia.
Now as for the lovely Sophia robbing at night? I loved it. Granted there is something very naughty about the idea but ultimately something very romantic and rebellious that I just can't seem to explain properly and I have to admit that the girl has guts, especially considering the people she steals from.
Add in the lovely Mr Charleton, some political scandal, some pretty intense peril and a not so expected ending and you have a book that will keep you turning the pages until you reach the end.
If there's one thing I have learned from reading Miss Jensen's books it's that if I were to exist in some of these past times, I think I would have been arrested ;-) Anyway, go read this book! For fans of historical fiction with a dash of action and romance, this a must read.
on 31 March 2012
I have read and enjoyed Marie-Louise Jensen's earlier books, so I was fairly sure this new one was going to be a treat - and it was!
Once again Ms Jensen has chosen a historical setting and this time we are in the city of Bath in the year following the coronation of King George I. Sophia Williams has come to Bath with her father and her aunt for the season of balls and entertainments, and it is her father's hope that she will find a husband before the end of the summer. Sophia has other ideas! She did not want to leave her home to come to Bath and the idea of marriage does not appeal to her at all. She decides to be as unpleasant as possible to potential suitors and the only friend she makes in the city is Jenny, a pickpocket and highwayman's accomplice. Although neither Sophia or Jenny have any interest in politics or the controversy surrounding the new king, it soon becomes clear that other people in Bath have very strong views on the subject and rebellion and civil unrest are being planned.
Sophia is a lively and exciting character. She is a girl who is not afraid to take risks to escape the dull, conventional life that her father has planned for her. She loves her freedom and hates being constrained by the huge hooped skirts and frilly petticoats that her aunt forces her to wear. She would rather walk than be carried around in a sedan chair and she would rather read than dance. A mask proves to be a useful accessory - and not at a masked ball!
The story is based on real events that took place in Bath and other cities in the UK in 1715 when there was some support for "James III" to take the throne and send King George back to Germany. One of real perks of good historical fiction is that readers can absorb real historical knowledge while enjoying an exciting and entertaining story (although as history tells us, James The Old Pretender, never did manage to become king.) I feel sure that Marie-Louise Jensen has other adventures in mind for Miss Sophia Williams as there are several strands still dangling at the end of the story. What has happened to her cousin Jack, and what is happening in her beloved home in Devon? Of course, what we also want to know is - what will eventually happen between Sophia and the intriguing Mr Charleton? I definitely feel a sequel coming on and I hope it comes soon.
on 2 March 2012
Sophia Williams' duty to her father is to behave, look lovely, and find a husband quickly. She, however, is not one to do as she's told. Set largely in Bath, or the Bath as it was known, Marie-Louise Jensen paints a lively and realistic picture of fashionable life for the wealthy and not so wealthy in the early 18th century. Sophia is a likeable character right from the off, and gets herself into worsening situations as the story progresses. The Girl in the Mask is fascinating and fun to read, and we ride alongside Sophia, quite literally at times, as she tries to forge a life for herself that is far and above the life that is being thrust upon her. What I like most about her is that she sticks to her principals, and is true to herself, right to the end. A great read.
on 9 April 2012
Stories about highwaymen and/or cross-dressing girls are two a penny, but Marie-Louise Jensen's take on this well-worn theme is a fast, exciting read with an original plot and a surprise ending. When Sophia's father comes home from his plantation and finds her roaming the countryside, learning to shoot, and reading books by Aphra Behn, he takes immediate action. He removes her to Bath for the season, where he expects her to behave like a young lady and attract a wealthy husband. But Sophia has other ideas. She is a spirited heroine - fearless to the point of being foolhardy - and nothing can keep her under lock and key. The fast-moving plot revolves around a real historical event and makes for an intriguing story.
I have enjoyed all of Marie-Louise Jensen's historical novels, and this is one of her best. Having said that, I hope she will eventually complete her Viking trilogy. For me, her Scandinavian novels have something extra. They expand the imagination, taking the reader into less familiar areas of history.
on 12 March 2012
After reading The Lady in the Tower I couldn't wait to read this book. I wasn't disappointed. Sophia was the sort of girl I wanted to be, always daydreaming as a child of being a pirate, cowboy or Robin Hood and swashling my buck with the best of them! I loved the historical detail, maybe knowing Bath helps but, even if I hadn't been to the city I would have enjoyed it. Being a Jane Austen fan I am more used to later Bath so found it interesting to read of an earlier period. It makes me want to go exploring so I can visualise Sophia in Trim Street and climbing over roof-tops at night. I hope there's another novel to come.
on 15 June 2012
A spunky heroine, a dastardly opponent, a deliciously mysterious love interest and an exciting plot, all wrapped up in lots of marvellous period detail like jellies, stamps, Georgian fashion & gunpowder! This is the kind of historical fiction I adore.
on 23 March 2012
I've read a few of this author's books and I have to say I think this is the best so far. The other reviewer is not kidding when they say you end up staying up way later than you should because you just HAVE to know what happens! Pure gut-wrenching, heart yanking, stomach fluttering genius (and the end is just brilliant). I loved it :-)
on 26 June 2012
This review has also been posted here:
The story itself is about young Sophia, a rich girl in Georgian times - whose favourite past-times are reading plays, shooting , managing her fathers estate and riding, who is currently living with her cousin Jack in her fathers estate. Everything is well and Sophia is happy for probably the first time in her life, away from the horror of her father and free to do as she pleases - that is, until her terribly cruel father returns suddenly for his stay in the West Indies, with her horrid Aunt Amelia in tow, and he is far from happy.
Punished for firing the governess her father had hired to look after them both and disobeying his orders, Jack is sent away to serve in the army and Sophia is forced to watch her precious poetry's and plays burned the ashes in front of her eyes, leave her home and move the Bath, the London of that time - full of the elegant and rich of Georgian society, with one aim; she must find a husband and become a real lady of wealth, elegant and charming - or else.
Unhappy with being forced to do something like this, something that she would rather die than do - the complete in control over her life she currently has, the stifling dresses she now has to wear, the only things she has to do being attending balls, playing cards, reading religious sermons and sewing - Sophia vows to rebel from her father grasp - whatever the cost.
Turing to Highway Robbery as a way to earn money and get back the sense adventure and danger she always craves, Sophia feels that life is almost bearable - that is, until a gentleman shows a interest in her and she is now at risk of being unmasked - will he find out her secret?
I really liked this book. I'm completely honest in saying that is not my usual read, even though I am a huge fan of historical fiction, I must admit that I am not usually a fan of Georgian novels. That is, until I read this. Jensen's flow with words swept me away as soon as I read the first sentence; it was phenomenal - a book has not gripped me that much in a long while. It is safe to say I was completely blown away - I was overjoyed at the historical accuracy, too.
Another thing that I really liked about this book is the such passionate way that Jensen wrote Sophia. It was absolutely beautiful and a joy to read, because of this she seemed like such a believable character and her spirit really came to life because of this - its really obvious that Jensen really cares for her characters, but not only that, understood them as well.
This is a brilliant skill for any writer to have, and has really made me respect her as one, so much so that I will try my hardest to read the rest of her works.
My favourite character from this book would have to be Sophia, not only because of the reasons I have mentioned above (her spirit and the fact that she is really believable) but because of the fact that she is a fabulous female heroine. Not only does she have extreme determination, but she also shows she is extremely brave and fearless in the eyes of danger (no spoilers - but the way she acts when she has to endure the torture her father puts her through - extremely brave.) So that is why I love her - she is a extremely real, loyal and brave character, and I really look up to her in that respect. She is truly a outstanding character and really well written by Jensen.
So if you'd like to read a Georgian historical fiction book full of adventure, elegance, history, fantastc characters, a wonderful plot (and deeply satisfying ending - everything was tied up great) and one magically written to boot - than this is the one for you! I would give it a age rating of 12+ and a personal rating of 9/10.
on 31 March 2016
In amongst the social balls Sophia's life is fallenced out by her dads horrible eagerness to get his own daughter married off to the richest man who walks her way!!! But under the cover of darkness Sophia takes new role as a highway robber ,but when she robs a chaise for the first time she feels a rush of exitement and thrill . When she grabs the chance she will go out in search of Jenny her highway parter in crime in hope of another looting espesily when she finally get a the chance to rob the dreaded Captain Mould who i other wise known to Sophia as the lizard . But Mr lizard will do anything to get Sophia as his bride .
Lets just sah this book has to be good to keep me reading till the birds are tweeting in the morning !
Marie you have done it again:)
on 19 May 2012
I have always loved Marie-Louise Jensens' books with my favourite being Between two Seas, and this book was also great with a good stoyline and great emotions throughout its another good book however far fetched it may be....