Friday, January 27, 2012

By The King's Design-Christine Trent

By The King's Design

Christine Trent

Kensington, Feb 1 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758265906

In 1812 Leeds, Annabelle Stirling runs her successful cloth making dress shop. Her wastrel brother Wesley and her fiancé Clive Pryce join the Luddites who destroy her new gig machine as immoral. Angry at the double betrayal and believing the Luddites worked for her rivals, Belle demands the authorities do something; they ignore her rants.

Fuming, she heads to London to make her case with the leadership, but the Prince Regent who she meets acts no differently than what she met in Leeds. Architect John Nash takes her under his wings as his mentee while she and cabinet maker Putnam Boyce are attracted to one another. Meanwhile Wesley gets involved with a high level assassin abduction plan.

The latest Christine Trent historical (see A Royal Likeness and The Queen’s Dollmaker) is an engaging Regency story starring a likable protagonist who enjoys her shop vocation; which makes the twin betrayals that much more hurtful. The storyline is driven by undeterred Belle’s need for retribution as she makes a wonderful lead holding the plot together. While the Luddite movement anchors time and place, other historical facts slow down what is overall a strong early nineteenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner

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