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Mistress of My Fate

(The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot #1)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,072 ratings  ·  201 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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3.55  · 
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 ·  1,072 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Jan 14, 2016 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
Sarah Mac
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
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
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
Mar 22, 2013 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 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
Sep 22, 2012 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 09, 2016 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
I devoured this book. There is nothing I like more than historical fiction, especially a noble woman brought low, mistresses and scandal. This book had all of that.

Its shocking how little power women used to have. We were just objects, either to be good wives to our husbands or whores to other men. If Henrietta had done what she was told and married that man, she would have ended up just as unhappy. Always at the mercy of a man!

Things just kept going wrong for her and I just wanted her to catch
Margo Tanenbaum
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved loved this faux-18th century memoir of a well bred young lady who falls from grace and winds up a courtesan in the demi-monde of late 18th century London. Told in the first person, the main character, her family and her true love are fictional, but most of the other characters are actual historical figures. Rubenhold is a historian and does a pitch-perfect job capturing this period.l Highly entertaining yet with a real core of women's history of the period.
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The raunchy side of Regency life that dear Aunt Jane never mentioned. If you enjoyed 'The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock', you should enjoy this (and vice versa). A rollicking good read.
Jennifer Mccann
Jul 14, 2013 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
Aug 12, 2015 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
Dec 30, 2012 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
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2014 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 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.
Jan 23, 2013 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
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I picked this book up on the suggested reads shelf. It is extremely intriguing from the beginning, but it is long and kind of drawn out in the middle. There is a lot of detail in the writing, which is nice to set the tone and introduce the characters. It is romantic and reminds me of Austen, but it is definitely a contemporary author because there are some risque scenes. I wouldn't call them offensive, but not what a believable character from this time period would actually write when telling he ...more
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 12, 2011 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 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 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 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 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!
Oct 13, 2012 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.
Crystal Falconer
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This novel started out feeling very "Jane Austen" but about halfway through became much more cynical and scandalous, which was a surprise but made it very interesting.
Check out my review here:
Beth (bibliobeth)
Nov 18, 2011 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.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 12, 2015 08:38AM  
Received 1 9 Jan 22, 2013 10:11AM  

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