October 1789: I shall never forget that day. I shall never forget the decision I made.
I was seventeen and so ill prepared for life that I hardly knew how to dress myself, let alone how to board a mail coach or even how to purchase a loaf of bread. When I fled my home at Melmouth Park, I left those who both loved and hated me behind. I threw myself upon the world, dear reader - and see what trouble has come of that.
Do read my tale closely, for the warnings of your mamma and your governess were correct; there is much to be learned from a woman of my sort. I fell for every snare and trick of fate, so that you might not. My tale is not for the faint of heart - the prude, the high-minded and moral are likely to take offence. You have heard the lies and slander from others. Prepare now to hear the truth.
Set during a period of revolution and turmoil, Mistress of My Fate is the first book in the series, The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot. In her candid and eye-brow raising memoirs, Henrietta seeks to set the record straight about the events that shaped her into the woman she became.
In 1757, a down-and-out Irish poet, the head-waiter at Shakespeare's Head Tavern in Covent Garden, and a celebrated London courtesan became bound together by the publication of a little book: Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies. This salacious publication detaling the names and 'specialities' of the capital's prostitutes eventually became one of the eighteenth century's most successful and scandalous literary works, selling 250,000 copies. During its heyday (1757-95) Harris's List was the essential accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure. Yet beyond its titillating passages lay a glimpse into the sex lives of those who lived and died by the List's profits during the Georgian era.
The Covent Garden Ladies tells the story of three unusual characters: Samuel Derrick, John Harrison (aka Jack Harris) and Charlotte Hayes, whose complicated and colourful lives were brought together by this publication. The true history of the book is a tragicomic opera motivated by poverty, passionate love, aspiration and shame. Its story plunges the reader down the dark alleys of eighteenth-century London's underworld, a realm populated by tavern owners, pimps, punters, card sharks and of course, a colourful range of prostitutes and brothel-keepers.
If you ever wondered what Jane Austen's Mr Darcy and his fellows got up to on their numerous trips to London, here is the book they would certainly have carried around ...
HARRIS'S LIST OF COVENT GARDEN LADIES was a bestseller in the Eighteenth Century, shifting 250,000 copoies in an age before mass consumerism. A 'guide book' published annually at Christmas, it detailed the names, attributes and 'specialities' of the capital's prostitutes. During its heyday (1759 -95) HARRIS'S LIST was the essential accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure.
Hallie Rubenhold has collected the funniest, rudest and most bizarre entries penned by Jack Harris, Pimp-General-of-all-England, into this fascinating and mischievous collection.
First published with the title Lady Worsley's Whim, read the book behind the major new BBC drama starring Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)It was the divorce that scandalised Georgian England... She was a spirited young heiress. He was a handsome baronet with a promising career in government. Their marriage had the makings of a fairy tale but ended as one of the most salacious and highly publicised divorces in history.For over two hundred years the story of Lady Worsley, her vengeful husband, and her lover, George Maurice Bisset, lay forgotten. Now Hallie Rubenhold throws open a window to a rarely seen view of Georgian England, one coloured by passion, adventure and the defiance of social convention. Originally published with the title Lady Worsley's Whim
For fans of TV dramas like 'Victoria', 'Downton Abbey' and 'Poldark''A riveting novel of female intrigue, betrayal and revenge in the French Revolution. Read it!' LUCY WORSLEYPARIS, 1792It was a head, but one so bloodied, so rolled in filth, that it was scarcely recognisable but for its long red curls. It had been stuck on a pike like a lump of bread upon a toasting fork ... Henrietta Lightfoot trips on her silk gown as she runs for her life along the bloodstained streets of revolutionary Paris. She finds refuge in the lavish home of Grace Dalyrmple Elliott, one of the old regime's most powerful courtesans. But heads are beginning to roll. Outside, the guillotine mercilessly claims its victims, while inside society's gilded salons, Henrietta becomes a pawn in a vicious power game. How will she survive in a world where no one can be trusted?'A gleefully modern retelling of a juicy chapter in history' The Times 'Rubenhold unfolds a complicated plot with great dexterity' Sunday Times 'Compelling, operatic, modern' SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE 'Dark and delicious' Red Magazine