Jan 08, 13
Read from December 30, 2012 to January 01, 2013
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 of a family name or a husband. Miss Lightfoot was brought up in a noble household but as the child of a second son, long dead she had no prospects for a good marriage and is being groomed to be a lady in waiting to her cousin. Her cousin is a rather spoiled, unpleasant woman and used people only when she thinks they can serve her needs.
While on vacation in Bath both girls meet a young man and unfortunately they both fall in love. He too falls in love but societal demands and the needs of his estate cause him to pursue Henrietta's cousin while making plans to have all three of them live together. They think that this is better than never seeing each other again. But alas, it is not to be and a series of revelations and circumstances cause Henrietta to feel she must flee the only home she has ever known.
But as she writes in her book - there are no instructions for a young girl out on her own. She barely knows how to dress herself let alone how to get along in the world. She soon finds out that nothing is free and it takes her many hard lessons to effectively learn how to survive.
This is the first of three books detailing Ms. Lightfoot's life and loves and I can say that I'll be very much looking forward to the next installments. I found myself drawn into this very sad tale of a young girl who was quite wronged by people who should have cared for her. She was very naive as she ran away from home and despite many chances for her to learn from mistakes or from people trying to help her she, like most young people, thought she knew best. It was hard at times to read of her stupidity and not want to slap her face to wake her up! As I have written - I love a book that engenders that kind of emotion. (So far this year has been a good one for books - I hope it continues!) It takes Henrietta a while to figure out that she has to start thinking for herself and that sometimes she does need to listen to those that have come before and once she does a stronger woman emerges.
The book ends with lots and lots of questions that need answering. That bodes well for the next installment. Ms. Rubenhold brings the time period to life with all the grit and danger of a woman with nowhere to turn and nothing to use but her wits and her body to survive. France is about to explode into war and it is impacting the lives of the people in Henrietta's life and that sense of impending trouble underlies the story. The characters so far introduced are well developed and with our heroine you know that there is a lot more to know about her and her love to come in the next volumes. It's not going to be all sunshine and roses for these two, not at all. But I can't wait to see how it all plays out.