The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I hadn't read the preceding novel by Deborah Swift so I came to this with an open mind. It's well and cleanly written with a good understanding of what both London and Westmorland must have been like in the 17th C. The dynamic between the two sisters keeps everything flowing along. I have to say I was rooting all along for Sadie, with her blemished face and gentle, skilful nature. I was relieved that after being locked in a rented room for several days she was able to escape (and this may be a crass thought - but I wondered about the sanitary arrangements :) ) Despite all the jeopardy that Ella's bull-headed, impulsive behaviour brings, it does give the plot its central power and also its resolution. Mind you a lot of the time I wanted to give her a resounding slap for her selfishness. I wanted to like her and couldn't, and that's really the only reason why I haven't given THE GILDED LILY five stars. It's a fine read and towards the end is a real page turner.
England, 1660. Ella Appleby believes she is destined for better things than slaving as a housemaid and dodging the blows of her drunken father. When her employer dies suddenly, she seizes her chance--taking his valuables and fleeing the countryside with her sister for the golden prospects of London. But London may not be the promised land she expects. Work is hard to find, until Ella takes up with a dashing and dubious gentleman with ties to the London underworld. Meanwhile, her old employer's twin brother is in hot pursuit of the sisters.
Set in a London of atmospheric coffee houses, gilded mansions, and shady pawnshops hidden from rich men’s view, Deborah Swift's The Gilded Lily is a dazzling novel of historical adventure. (less)
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 13th 2012)
1250001900 (ISBN13: 9781250001900)
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