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A Factory of Cunning

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  23 reviews
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"Mrs. Fox," a Frenchwoman with vague claims to a noble past that preceded unsavory scrapes with the authorities in two countries, arrives in 18th-century London with her maid in low style and immediately sets out to establish herself in society. What she lacks in money and connections she more than makes up for in wit and artful
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 11th 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Madison Reid
A Factory of Cunning was entertaining and clever (not to mention sufficiently scandalous). As a previous reviewer aptly noted, there is something decadent and enticing about journeying into the mind of characters who take such pleasure and relish in their own borderline-sociopathic quests to fulfill their narcissistic desires and agendas. Moreover, the epistolary format was pulled off rather more nicely than many authors manage. However, I must take issue with the fact that, despite the boundles ...more
this book really wanted to be dangerous liasons, but fell flat on pretty much every level.
it started out well enough. the characters had interesting premises and interesting circumstances and lots of creative ideas....but as the story progressed i wanted more depth from them. in dangerous liasons, the characters are bored nobles playing a strategy game in order to entertain themselves....and their feelings get in the way - that is interesting.
but in this book, the main character is not a noble w
I really wanted to like this book and delved in expectantly. Unfortunately it's written in the form of letters to and from the main character--a format I dislike because it seems overly edited. The author didn't create any sympathy for her characters, except maybe for the sidekick / maid but since she's not one of the letter writers or receivers she doesn't get much of a treatment. Also, I'm pretty decent at English colloquialisms and cultural references but this was so bogged down in them that ...more
Awet Moges
Solid sequel to one of the very greatest novels ever. I won't bother with the synopsis: only to justify the three star review:

The characterization and the plot are solid, but I can't help feel that this sequel was a missed opportunity.

Less of a true extension of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and closer to fan fiction quality where the author seems more excited to play with her favorite characters in a new setting (British aristocracy).
This reads like a classic, but is a fast read about a wily woman on the run. Some of the writing (because of its older style) could be hard to follow, or the action/connections weren't immediately obvious to me, but I was definitely hooked.
Feb 10, 2011 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if you liked Les Liaisons Dangereuses
It is smart and fast paced. The writing is wonderful. Feelsas though you are reading something written in the period. I had to reread the ending just to make certain I had understood everything. This would make an incredible film.
Jun 28, 2007 Rachelle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Dangerous Liasons
This wonderful book, written in the epistolary fashion, picks up where Dangerous Liasons left off. A slow start builds to a complex plot that will leave you reading into the night. I loved this book!
Dear Ms. Stockley , Im writing this review now that I have read your novel " A Factory of Cunning". First of all , I must confess that I am not very fond of epistolary novels but nevertheless I enjoyed it although I have some mixed feelings about your book. I must concede to you that you had a gift to make every voice in this novel distinct and I absolutely LOVED your wordplays and wit. I also loved the 18th century Georgian England trivia you scattered along the novel. Also, you managed brillia ...more
Jennifer de Guzman
A decadent diversion, a delicious bit of dessert.

There is something enticing about reading a book about someone who takes such pleasure in being evil, a way of the shadow self living vicariously.

The epistolary account started a bit slowly, but as it dawned on me who our fantastic Mrs. Fox is (something I must have known when I decided to read the book but had since forgotten), the story took on more dimensions and became more enjoyable.

I'd call Mrs. Fox a singular creation -- arch, intelligent,
"Mrs. Fox" arrives in late eighteenth-century London on the run from a scandalous French past. She has taken on a new identity and wishes to rehabilitate herself to her former class level. At the same time a dear friend from the Netherlands has asked her to destroy Earl Much. Earl Much is a British aristocrat who collects priceless objets d'art and ruins young maidens.

The reader is transported to a world of bawdy houses, debauchery, ruination of willful maidens and intrigue. The earl proves to b
Unfortunately, although the critics were smitten with it, this book is not only boring because of its prose written in letters, but because of the absolutely foreseeable plot. The protagonists get into foreseeable problems and story stats one dimensional from start to finish. I wish I hadn't bought and read this book.
Stephanie Simmons
Was kind of hard to get into because it is written in letters and journal entries.
Lisa James
Interesting historical fiction novel, comprised of letters back & forth between the principal characters, telling a WILD tale of betrayal, seduction, twisted lies, bizarre deceptions, etc. It was definitely a page turner, with enough plot twists & turns to make the reader dizzy :) Just at the end, when you thought the ending was indeed the ending, part 6 twists that ending on it's ear to the real ending, which ties everything up & makes you smile.
In a Vanity Fair tradition, and set in the late 1700s, this book is a series of letters following the intrigues of a powerful woman. She wants to take the world for all its worth, but it ends up nearly taking her. She is a procuress, with all that entails.
Not a bad read. Just happened to pick it up off the shelf at the library. Washington Post Book World Best Book of the Year--whatever that award is...
Really enjoyed this book- the format of using letters instead of typical prose was fun and different. Lot of witty writing, easy to miss if you don't read closely. I just wish the ending had been a little more complete- felt like a lot of buildup to a not 100%satisfying resolution.
Anne Marsh
This was a fun, light, quick read if you enjoy late 18th c. fiction. I'm not a huge fan of epistolary fiction, either then or now, but this was enjoyable. A little more character development would have been nice-- there didn't seem to be too many (if any) redeeming qualities to Mrs. Fox.
Hated it in the first 50 pages, but I stuck with it. It became quite a fun novel. Recommend for the determined reader who will wade through the muck to get to the gem.
Apparently this novel takes over where Dangerous Liasions left off. It's sort of Fanny Hill meets Tom Fielding. I'm not sure how much I like it so far.
yeah. so. read through page 45 or so and then just decided not to keep reading. it didn't pique my interest at all. bah.
Briefly: Beautifully written in a prose I could have read forever. Shame it tailed off at the end and lost me.
Dull. The blurb on the back made it look quite good but I couldn't even finish it
Rachel Zylstra
Loved it! A bit slow to catch onto the story, but a good read in the end.
Kelli Votel
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