Saturday, January 01, 2011

Review and Giveaway: A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

First line: "For what reason do you wish to leave France?"

Summary: As heiress to the famous Laurent Fashion Dolls business, Marguerite Ashby's future seems secure. but France still seethes with violence in the wake of the Revolution. And when Marguerite's husband, Nicholas is killed during a riot at their shop, she leaves home vowing never to return. Instead, the young widow travels to Edinburgh and joins her old friend, Marie Tussaud, who has established a touring wax exhibition.

Under the great Tussaud's patient instruction, Marguerite learns to mold wax into stunningly lifelike creations. When Prime Minister William Pitt commissions a wax figure of military hero Admiral Nelson, Marguerite becomes immersed in a dangerous adventure - and earns the admiration of two very different men. And as Britain battles to overthrow Napoleon and flush out spies against the crown, Marguerite will find her own loyalties, and her heart, under first from all sides.

My thoughts: I loved this book. I first came upon Christine Trent's work when I read The Queen's Dollmaker, which was also a favorite of mine. A Royal Likeness follows the story of Marguerite Ashby, who we last saw as a young girl in The Queen's Dollmaker. In A Royal Likeness, we watch as Marguerite grows up. After tragedy hits home, Marguerite flees to her Aunt Claudette's home. There, despondent and unwilling to do anything with her life, Claudette takes matters into her own hands and sets Marguerite up as an apprentice with Marie Tussaud, known to us today as Madame Tussaud. As a former dollmaker, it is quite easy for Marguerite to transfer those skills to waxmaking. I loved reading about how the wax figures came to be - especially the use of the life masks. It was all so interesting, from the setting up of the displays to the use of some of these figures for political reasons. As an apprentice, Marguerite is thrown into a world that takes her from London to Edinburgh to Glasgow to Dublin and even to Trafalgar in the middle of a battle at sea. Filled with romance and intrigue, this fast-paced story had me hooked from the beginning and the ending was both shocking and romantic. At times, I felt heartbroken for Marguerite, as nothing but bad luck seemed to follow her. Meeting a whole host of characters, some real and some made up, this book moves through a time in history that I am not completely familiar with and has left me eager to read more, especially about Madame Tussaud. Christine Trent has become one of my favorite authors and this book, along with her first book, will stay on my bookshelf to be reread over and over again.

About the author: Christine Trent writes historical fiction from her two-story home library. She lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, three-precocious cats, a large doll collection and over 3,000 fully catalogued books. She and her husband are active travelers and journey regularly to England to conduct book research at historic sites. It was Christine's interest in dolls and history that led to the idea for her first novel, The Queen's Dollmaker.

Christine is currently working on her third novel, tentatively titled The Prince’s Pavilion expected sometime in 2012. You can find more information about Christine and her books by visiting her website


I received a complimentary copy of A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent from the author to review.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
Author Christine Trent has provided one copy of this book for readers of this blog! 
Rules:
  • Open internationally
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must include email address to enter
  • Book will be mailed out by the author
To enter (required entry):  Leave me a comment letting me know why you want to win A Royal Likeness. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!

Bonus Entry (+1)  Tell me what your favorite historical fiction novel is. Not a separate entry = no bonus entry!

Bonus Entry (+2)  Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. Not a separate entry = no bonus entries!

Don't forget to LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry. The total possible number of entries for each person is 4.   

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, JAN 15th

21 comments:

  1. I would really love to read more about this period. It is amusing that Madame Tussade was important and powerful as she was then. I can understand why the same skills as a dollmaker would be useful in waxmaking. I would love to read about Madame Tussade and the procedures of her business and also the period.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  2. i'm so taken with the touring wax exhibition logistics along with the romance in this story.
    vvb32 at yahoo.com

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  3. This does sound like a lovely read. I would love to have the chance to read it. I do tend to really enjoy historical fiction but haven't really been reading very much of it lately.

    lesnick.jennifer@gmail.com

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  4. I love historical fiction, and I love fiction about England and royalty. That is why I would like to win.
    ruthaw_1974@yahoo.com

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  5. Oh, this is tough. I guess I would still have to say A Tale of Two Cities is my favorite historical novel.
    ruthaw_1974@yahoo.com

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  6. I really like historical fiction, and this one looks really good!
    thewindowseatreader (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  7. Ooh my. I'm bad at choosing favorites, but I just finished and loved The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. Her historical fiction novels are so good!
    thewindowseatreader (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  8. I have just gotten back into reading again and am enjoying every book I read so I would love to have another book to start reading!
    hisprincess886(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  9. Sounds so wonderful. I've heard recent rumblings about The Queen's Dollmarker, but I haven't read a review on this novel yet. I would love a chance to read it, though I added it to my TBR shelf either way. Thanks for the review and the giveaway.
    Hannah
    hmatkins@gmail.com

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  10. I'd like to win because I like historical fiction though I must confess, I haven't been reading enough of it lately.

    My favorite novels are generally the novels I'm reading or the last one I've read. Today I would say they're The Josephine Bonaparte Collection.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. I would love this because I love to read different genres of books and I don't have too many in this genre. Plus you can never have too many good books. Thanks for the great giveaway :)

    mrsjohnson1982 at yahoo dot com

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  12. I don`t really have a favorite historical fiction novel, as I haven`t read a great deal of them. As far as historical books though, one of my favorites was the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Romantic and tragic and true.

    Please enter me in your contest to win a copy of A Royal Likeness. Your review entices the reader to enjoy this book about doll making, wax figures, danger and royalty.
    Thanks for the opportunity.


    riverboat38@hotmail.com

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  13. I like to win because reading is my hobby and any book is ok. It's the most wonderful thing.

    fablanche3petal@gmail.com

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  14. I love a good historical novel and truth be told I've not read a really good one since I found Philippa Gregory's Tudor books, they were awesome.

    (\___/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com

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  15. Philippa Gregory's "Earthly Joys " was a particular favorite.

    (\___/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com

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  16. I would love to win this book as historical fiction is my favourite genre and this one looks lovely!

    handsandhome@gmail.com

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  17. How to I pick a favourite? I really enjoyed Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood
    by Richard E. Kim

    handsandhome@gmail.com

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  18. I also blogged about this giveaway!

    http://handsandhome.blogspot.com/2011/01/giveaway-at-always-with-book.html

    www.handsandhome.gmail.gom

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  19. I love historical fiction. This one sounds really interesting!

    sixbird(at)msn(dot)com

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  20. I loved Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly.Those are just two of the many.

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  21. what a beautiful cover...thanks for the chance to read this novel :)

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