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Mistress of My Fate (The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot #1)

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  873 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
Set during a period of revolution and turmoil, Mistress of My Fate is the first book in a trilogy about Henrietta Lightfoot, a young woman who was abandoned as a baby and raised alongside her cousins, noble children of a lord and lady. At just sixteen years old, circumstance and a passionate love affair tear Henrietta away from everything she knows, leading to a new life f ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan 29, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a delightfully melodramatic historical novel, featuring our – initially – naïve and innocent heroine, and narrator, Henrietta. Henrietta is raised with her cousins and is that favourite of all characters in historical novels, the poor relation. She is the meek little mouse next to her brash, confident and spoilt cousin, Lady Catherine. However, despite Henrietta’s lack of wealth or prospects, she manages to upstage Catherine by her beauty and angelic nature and, when Lady Catherine is ab ...more
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
4+ Stars
Setting: Georgian England.
Steam Factor:(Conventional lovemaking to explicit sex)

Raised in the country,orphan Henrietta Longfoot is almost unaware of her station in life as she lives with her noble cousins. But when she learns the truth of her heritage and gets caught up in a forced marriage and murder,she flees to London and naively becomes a member of the demimonde. She then falls hopelessly in love with the wrong man and then makes her way through London's gambling halls,ballrooms and
This was an enjoyable book, but not quite what I was expecting.

The first of an eventual trilogy, Mistress of My Fate features our narrator, Henrietta, as she describes her downfall from virtuous virgin to secretive kept woman to a highly recognizable courtesan. Something of a shy, bookish teenager, Henrietta has the misfortune of being prettier than her bitchy cousin error she compounds by falling for Catherine's fiance. Allenham, for his part, is a philosophical dreamer, & he
The month of December has been crazier than most for me. A project that I've been working on for three years will end on the 31st and I have logged in many more hours than I typically do preparing for the deadline. At the same time my husband and I are having an addition put on our house and I have been distracted by all of the choices and decisions that go into figuring out what we want and how we want it in our new space. Sometimes when there's a lot going on like this I have a difficult time ...more
Sue Smith
Apr 10, 2013 Sue Smith rated it it was ok
Lordy I'm glad that's over.

I know lots of other readers out there loved it - or at least felt it deserved higher ratings than what I gave it. I felt that 2 stars was even pushing it. It's books like this one that make me wish Goodreads had half star rating options too .... it wasn't a complete troll but there were times that is was certainly less than ok .... 1.5 stars would have fit the bill perfectly!

Anyways, enough whining on the rating system! Lets move onto whining about the book!!!!!! I'l
Lisa Creane
Feb 26, 2013 Lisa Creane rated it did not like it
The story of a Victorian-era young woman and her downfall (and, potentially her resurgence by book 3) is written as a hot melodrama in the first person, following Henrietta as she gets herself wronged time and again and then woe-is-me's for pages at a time.

It is not, for those who read romance, steamy. It is instead lovelorn and euphemistic and often silly, sometimes fun. The author's tongue-in-cheek use of Henrietta as a "cautionary tale" and "heroine for the ages" works pretty well. I like th
I hesitate to label this a romance, as there is little that is particularly romantic about it beyond a chapter or two. Most of this story is a mix between a historical coming-of-age, a sob story, Moll Flanders, and the tale of a real idiot naive country girl who learns some hard lessons in the big scary city, about humanity and love and reality (at the time).

Most of the book, I couldn't get over how dumb the main character was. I understand she was sheltered, and all, and perhaps as a modern da
Hallie Rubenhold's foray into the world of historical fiction brings us to Henrietta Lightfoot and the first volume of her memoirs. I confess that I didn't realise that this was the first book in a planned series and felt a bit frustrated at the end of the book as there were many unresolved questions I was dying to know the answer to!

Books written in the first person can sometimes feel a bit contrived, but that wasn't a problem here at all. An older Henrietta relates the 'true' story of her life
Essie Fox
Oct 02, 2012 Essie Fox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful 'romp' with a strong female character who takes the reader on a whirlwind ride of love, betrayal and loss - and all set against the rich tapestry of Georgian London and its demimonde. Hallie Rubenhold is the most assured writer and she really knows her historical facts - but this is worn lightly and elegantly as she draws the reader into the world of Henrietta Lightfoot. If you liked Fanny Hill, you'll love this.
May 21, 2016 Mieneke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book is pushed on you by the universe, whether you planned to read it or not. When I was approached about reviewing Hallie Rubenhold's The French Lesson, I learned that this was the second book in a series, but that it stood alone very well. Thus I agreed and decided that I'd just jump in at book two and skip the first book, Mistress of My Fate, since I didn't have that one. Somewhere, someone or something had other ideas, because no sooner had I said yes than I got an email from an ...more
Jennifer Mccann
Jul 19, 2013 Jennifer Mccann rated it it was ok
I was hoping for a lighthearted romp, and yes I got that. But I got something else too - a crappy book. Characters are not compelling, but rather whiney, shallow, immature, and stupid (although Hetty claims others think she is intelligent and clever.)

I had lots of problems with this book. I realize this is a "memoir" and only "part 1" but nevertheless, I felt like I was reading a longer book which was merely torn in half and the rest thrown away. Hundreds of pages that only cover 2-3 years of He
Oct 04, 2015 Crystal rated it liked it
3.5 stars. If I had rated this book at page 200, I likely would have given it 4.5 stars or possibly even 5 as I was rapt in attention to it. But at the midway point the small points of botheration began to become bigger issues for me.
I'll begin with what I did love. I loved the overall tone. Hallie Rubenhold held well to her style and dialect. Consistency is important and she handled that well. I loved the setting and all the historical touches she added such as the details of the protagonist's
Jan 08, 2013 Patty rated it really liked it
Mistress of My Fate is written as a confessional memoir by Miss Henrietta (Ingerton) Lightfoot as she tries to set straight the rumors swirling about her and her actions. The book is written in the first person so you almost feel as if you are sitting with Ms. Lightfoot, sipping a cup of tea and listening to her tell you her sometimes sordid story. But what was a young girl to do? It was a time period when women had no rights, they had no way of making a place in the world without the protection ...more
Dec 25, 2014 BRNTerri rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2014 Beadyjan rated it really liked it
Pretty good romantic romp through 18th century London, I thought (hoped?) it might be a little more risque than it turned out to be, especially as Hallie Rubenhold is a renowned historian with a fondness for the seamier side of historical London and is the author of Harris's List of the Covent Garden Ladies a historical look at brothels.

Mistress of my fate tells the story of orphaned Henrietta brought up by an Aunt and uncle as companion to her cousin Lady Catherine who seems to be a nasty piec
Jan 16, 2013 Julia rated it it was amazing
Not your typical Georgette Heyer Regency romance, the author painstakingly writes historically accurate eighteenth century English life for a woman. A woman who had virtually no rights, no wealth, not even rights to her children. And so we meet Henrietta Ingerton,as she tells us in her memoirs,an impoverised relation to Lord Stavourley, raised along with his children, revealed to be his illegitimate daughter when Hetty is to be married off to a dull/smelly country pastor of a nearby parish.
Aug 08, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I was in the mood for a Downton Abbey-esque read, and while this is set over 100 years before Downton it did the trick.

It tells the tale of Henrietta Ingerton, who becomes a fallen woman in order to pursue the man she loves. It had enough doings of the rich and wanton to keep me entertained, and I read it in less than 2 days, so it certainly was a page-turner.

What surprises me is how much debauchery pervaded the upper classes over 200 years ago. However, despite the unreliability of the narrator
Written in the style of Jane Eyre, this book takes place about the time of the French Revolution but although the revolution takes Henrietta Lightfoot's lover from her, she is resolved to survive until she finds him. Orphaned but gently reared in England, Hetty runs away sooner than marry the cleric chosen for her.
This book shows how difficult it was for women of that time to have any liberty at all because much depended on the whims of men whom they called "keepers."
The tone for this book is so
Jo Barton
Mar 31, 2011 Jo Barton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of illicit love, and the emergence of a heroine, Henrietta, who is by her own admission, neither eloquent, nor desirous enough to attract the attention of her heart’s desire. Yet her very gaucheness catches the attention of an ill advised suitor, and a situation appears which utterly bewilders Henrietta. Described with vivacity and wit, Henrietta’s story emerges in a first person narrative, which captures the reader from the opening line. At times reminiscent of a risqué Jane Aus ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Kelley rated it it was ok
I wanted to LOVE this book, but I just didn't. Honestly I couldn't really get into the main character. She felt more like a child, whining about how she didn't really choose her fate, was so innocent, and just fell into this life, all the while the title is "mistress of my fate." No one, not even a 17 year old girl is as innocent as this girl tries to paint herself throughout the book. The way she beseeches the reader to understand, and "see it through my eyes," just gets plain annoying. And the ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Despanish rated it it was ok
Henrietta Lightfoot is that annoying person who starts telling you her sob story, and then goes on...and on...and on. After a while, you realize she's pretty much responsible for her own misery and you doubt that anything she's told you is actually true. She plays the victim card but is truly a manipulator. And she never learns, listens, nor behaves admirably.

But even an unlikable character can be intriguing if well written and with consistent motivation. Not so here. The writing of this book i
Mar 03, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
I could not put this book down. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and this one did not disappoint. The author is very knowledgeable with regard to this period in history and it was interesting to learn about medicines and "cures" I had not been aware of until now. The "letter to the reader" format was enjoyable and made me feel as though she really was telling me her secrets. :) I found myself anxiously racing to reach the end to find how our heroine fares only to be saddened that I had finis ...more
Jun 16, 2013 Knitme23 rated it did not like it
Actually, I abandoned this book, misled by the dashing cover into thinking it would be a lively, fun novel like Lauren Willig's versions of "historical" fiction. . . but it wasn't. Predictable plot arc and uninteresting character(s): it felt like getting stuck at a tightly packed party far away from the buffet next to a boring person who just looooooooves to tell you all about her life. So I dumped it! Yay!
Elizabeth Moffat
Dec 06, 2011 Elizabeth Moffat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! The story of Henrietta Lightfoot, written to a "dear reader," which made it more intimate and compelling. A story of love, betrayal, and angst which I thoroughly enjoyed. Apparently this is the first in a series and I look forward to the next installment.
Oct 13, 2012 Audrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not like this. The way it was written was all about telling not showing as in a well written novel. Despite a promising story the author let the story down with the bad writing to be honest. A big disappointment.
Aug 29, 2016 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
I registered a book at!
2.5/5 Not my cup of tea
Oct 20, 2012 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

"Mistress of My Fate" is a greatly enjoyable read and a solid debut, even if in the end it left me a little unsatisfied. This is because I absolutely loved the first part, but I found the rest of the book to be much slower, less interesting and even boring in some parts. I also think the summary of the book was a little misleading: I expected Henrietta's journey to be more adventurous, in a "Forever Amber" way, but (view spoiler)
Mike  Owens
May 02, 2013 Mike Owens rated it really liked it
The writer of historical fiction faces two tasks (at least): the main characters must be fully rounded and compelling, and the historical setting must be reasonably accurate. Both of these must then be blended into the "fictional dream." Rubenhold does this successfully.
The author, through her main character, Henrietta Lightfoot, depicts the plight of single women in 18th century England. If born into wealth and privilege, they lived quite well. If born into the lower classes things were much l
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 12, 2015 08:38AM  
Received 1 8 Jan 22, 2013 10:11AM  
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Other Books in the Series

The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot (2 books)
  • The French Lesson (The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot #2)

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