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The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  375 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Of all the dangers she faced, the greatest was discovery...

When Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh's husband is taken for a soldier, Kit enlists in the Duke of Marlborough's regiment, disguised as a man, to follow him across war-torn Italy. Risking her life in battle, she forms a close bond with her wry and handsome commanding officer, Captain Ross.

But even when she dresses once mo
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 11th 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published July 16th 2015)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Cora Tea Party Princess
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5 Words: Love, war, family, deception, strength.


This book was absolutely amazing. I loved it in every way and at the end I was heartbroken and speechless.

Inspired by Mother Ross, this is a whirlwind of an adventure. Kit has so many identities, and she almost became a different character as her life turned from publican to soldier to spy and her name changed from Kit to Christian to Christiane. But right there, at the very heart of the narrative, she was still the same astoundi
Joey Woolfardis
Dublin 1702. Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh has everything she could want in life. Newly married, she runs a successful alehouse with her beloved husband Richard. The wars that rage in Europe over the Spanish throne seem a world away.

But everything changes on the night that Richard simply disappears. Finding the Queen's shilling at the bottom of Richard's tankard, Kit realises that her husband has been taken for a soldier.

[I reviewed another of Fiorato's books, Beatrice & Benedick, earlier in the yea
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The War of the Spanish Succession?

I must confess that, for al the historical novels I’ve read over the years, I knew nothing of that particular conflict but the name. I know now; I learned a lot in the course of a wonderful adventure with a remarkable heroine.

In 1700 Charles II, king of Spain, died without an heir. He willed his throne to Philip of Anjou, and Philip’s grandfather, Louis XIV of France, was quick to declare him king of Spain, and to declare that France and Spain would be united.

Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Easiest five stars I've ever given! My love affair with Kit began the second I first saw the cover, it's just stunning! Then I read the blurb - it sounded like some kind of Irish Mulan and I was immediately intrigued. It's been a while since I've had time to read a book that I can fully immerse myself in, and this fitted the bill nicely. I don't know what it is about the book that grabbed me so - the plot, the settings and the characters all just had me hooked. The attention to detail is perfect ...more
Jessica O'Toole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Veronica Barbara
Fantastic book! I loved everything about it. The story is amazing and the way it is narrated really engaging. The descriptions are perfect, it's as if the reader is truly embarking on all Kit's adventures. To top it all the story revolves around a woman who kicks ass - one might think that her adventures are impossible but she is actually a historical figure and hers is a true story. Would give it 10 stars if I could! :D I read almost all of Marina Fiorato's books and I have to admit that this i ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a novelised version of the life of an Irish woman who disguised herself as a man in order to join the army and follow her husband to war. I'd read bits about 'Mother Ross' in several non-fiction books so was quite excited to come across this novel in the library. It's a fantastic tale and Fiorato is a wonderful storyteller. Kit and her life came right off the page to absorb me in her adventures. Even without the fictional parts, this was one remarkable woman.
Helen White
Thoroughly enjoyed this gender bending solder and spy caper. Kit disguises herself and enlists in the English army in order to find her husband who's gone off to war. Instead she finds comraderie and adventure.
Based loosely on historical truth this is a fascinating travel through battle history. Kit is a resourceful heroine and extremely likeable, it's easy to follow her around Europe on her campaign. Well worth a read.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh was an interesting read for me. I can see why the story appeals to many people who have read this. Intrigued by the premise, I thought it was going to be a tale about an Irish Mulan figure. I had no idea that Kit Kavanagh was a real woman and just as badass as she was described as in the story. It was clear to me that Marina Fiorato had done her research and I found the history of the wars and the ways that Kit disguised herself as a man (including having ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit, I was a bit dubious about reading this book to start with. The idea of a woman dressing as a man is a trope that I don't usually gravitate towards. I always find it hard to believe that anyone could get away with it. Then I found out that Kit was actually based on a real woman who did in fact dress as a man in search of her husband for a whopping 13 years, wow!

I enjoyed part one of the book, titled Sword, in which Kit Kavanagh a bar owner joins the Grey Dragoons as a way to find
Victoria Welter
There are some interesting things going on in this novel. I found the exploration of gender and sex interesting, especially with the juxtaposition Fiorato creates within Kit and the people Kit comes across. However, I wished that this would have been addressed more throughout the story. Fiorato did not explore the emotional consequences of being "gender-less" or switching genders, especially in a 18th century society.

I liked the inclusion of Arthur McBride was a clever touch and I liked how the
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now that is more like the other a Marina Fiorato books I have enjoyed. What a great story, gripping to the very end. One of those characters you would rather not leave behind.
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Hodder via BookBridgr in return for an honest review.

I have to say I loved this book. It follows the story of Kit Kavanagh, an Irish woman, who dresses up as a man to try and find her husband who has been "press ganged" into being a soldier. She embarks on a tremendous journey across Europe, fighting on the battlefields during the Spanish War of Succession. When she unearths the truth about what's happened to her husband, she is placed in even more danger by b
Lesia Joukova
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Ladies and gentlemen! We have a newcomer for my "favorites" shelf! This book definitely needs more reviews so I fervently recommend to all historical fiction fans to bookmark this one.

I loved this book <3 I haven't heard of Marina Fiorato at all until I saw this book tucked away on a bookstore shelf and the cover and the title drew me to it. It didn't disappoint in the least, it even over-delivered, I believe!

The story follows Kit, an Irish newly-married barmaid in the 1700's who jumps on a shi
Tasha Williams
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

[I was very kindly sent this book by Hodder & Stoughton in return for an honest review, thank you!]

Historial fiction is not a genre that I read often. I usually mix my history with the element of fantasy so that the everyday world can become extraordinary. So when I was offered Marina Fiorato's newest novel, Kit, for review, I was slightly unsure. What was historical fiction exactly? Was it like a non-fiction book at the Library with a hint of elaboration? The premise seemed interesting enough -
Rachel (Confessions of a Book Geek)
Check out my full review here:

5* Read, and definitely one of my favourites of 2016!

The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh is a fascinating story about a kick-ass woman in the 1700’s, who had amazing strength of character. Fiorato has written a fast-paced, and action-packed novel, that kept me hooked until the very last page. There are themes of friendship, romance, betrayal, LGBT, and what could be considered to be early-feminism within these pages. The
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and based on an amazing true story. Green-eyed protagonist married to green-eyed man!
Bronwyn Mcloughlin
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I was thinking about what I would write in my review, before I had finished the book, it occurred to me that the story really was a bit improbable and stretched the limits of credulity. And then I finished it, and read the notes, and found that the story in its essentials is based on the amazing life of Mrs Ross, who fought with Marlborough in Italy and lots of other places and was the first female pensioner in Chelsea Old Soldiers home. It's a great rollocking read - adventurous historical f ...more
Arosha Rathnayaka
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OMG I loved this book! Kit Kavanagh, you are amazing! And Captain Ross...omg..makes me swoon!
Inspired by a true story, Kit sets off into the sunset, masquerading herself as a boy and joins the dragoons, in search of her husband ( who supposedly left for the war too ), which I don't understand why he didn't say his goodbyes in the first place. Anyways, she earns the nickname of the 'pretty dragoon' because of her small build and femminine androgenous looks, but also becomes a fearless and honorab
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Kit's husband Richard joins the regiment, Kit takes drastic steps to try to bring him safely back home to Ireland; thus setting out on her own adventure as she poses as a soldier to follow his trail. Joining the Scots Royal Dragoons and under the command of Captain Ross, Kit forges strong friendships and risks her life in battle. However, when she is forced to flee she finds herself acting another role, one no less dangerous, as recruited by the scheming Duke of Ormonde she plays the part o ...more
Marina Fiorato never disappoints! I really enjoyed this book and I could tell that the author researched diligently on the subject from the military jargon used in the book and knowledge of the campaigns, which I must admit I knew nothing about. Loved the way the book was written and the main character was totally likeable. There was a part of it in the beginning where I felt it slowed down a bit but it gained momentum in the latter half of the book (and it was slightly rushed in the end in my o ...more
Linda Amos
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is as good as other books by this author. Based on a true story of a young girl who joined the British Army.
An Irish girl follows her husband of a few months who has been pressed into the British Army. She leaves behind everything she knows and develops the knack of camouflage under various guises. She gains an education at the hands of patient men, some of whom use her for their own means.
Very good writing and the carnage of battle is covered but is not blatant. It's also a bit of a trave
This was a nice surprise. Such a fun ride! Very fast paced, with a great heroine. A lot of convenient fateful incidents that can come off trope-y but considering the unbelievable life of the original actual Kit Kavanaugh and the immersive world that Fiorato managed to convey, it is still a really good book.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much. Definitely recommend! Kit was such a amazingly written character and her arc truly drew me in. I could barely put the book down. This story was in no way predictable and took on so many twists that I had no idea where it was headed next.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiorato-marina
Marina Fiorato based her exciting story on the real Kit Kavanaugh - aka Christian Walsh - who, disguised as a man, enlisted in the British Army in 1702.

Sold in the United States under the title "The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanaugh."
Marsha Thalin
Even though this is based on a factual figure it just seemed like an attempt to a romance novel.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. A little slow towards the end but still good
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
My copy of The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh was sent to me by The BookBag and my review was originally published on their website.

In early eighteenth century Ireland, young Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh lives a quiet, settled life in a Dublin alehouse with her husband, Richard. When Richard is suddenly whisked away to join the British army, Kit disguises herself as a man and enlists as a soldier, determined to follow and find her husband across war-torn Europe.

The premise alone sets up The D
Joanna Lambert
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction and this book’s wonderful cover drew me in even before I had read the back page synopsis.
This is an amazing story about a young eighteenth century Irish woman, Kit Kavanagh, whose husband is taken one night and pressed into army service. Kit has always dreamed of adventure away from the day to day work in her family’s bar so when her Aunt Maura suggests she leaves to find him, Kit has no qualms about setting off on this great journey. She enlists in the army, disguised
Jo Barton
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a rowdy night in Kavanagh’s alehouse in Dublin, Kit Kavanagh discovers that her husband, Richard, has disappeared, and the only clue to his leaving is Kit’s discovery of the ‘Queen’s Shilling' in Richard's ale tankard. From this it is assumed that Richard has been taken by the army. Three months later, and with no further news of Richard, Kit decides to risk everything to in order to find out what has happened to him. However, this decision to leave Dublin is fraught with danger and Kit ha ...more
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Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales.

She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as an historical source.

After University she studied art and since worked as an illustrator, actress and film reviewer.

She also designed tour visuals for rock bands includ

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“With a paring knife she hacked off her waist-length hair just below the chin. Kit felt a shiver of misgiving. How would she net a talking fish now, or tether a dragon? How would she escape from her tower?” 0 likes
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