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The Merest Loss

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker mee
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 28th 2017 by Matador
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  35 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, engaging, and insightful!

The Merest Loss is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Harriet Howard, a young, impulsive, British girl who aspired early in life to become a distinguished actress but who ultimately became most infamous as the benefactor and mistress to Louis Napoleon.

The prose is descriptive and smooth. The characters are vulnerable, independent, and well drawn. And the story sweeps you back and forth between London and Paris during the mid-1800s and into a worl
Karen Mace
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a thoroughly fascinating and engaging story that has a great mix of characters and backgrounds and just made me want to research more about the woman behind the story - Harriet Howard.

She was a young actress in the 1840's who was 'encouraged' by the British Government to strike up a relationship with Louis Napolean so he can be kept an eye on as it was such a tumultuous time historically and politically for both countries. But her rise to the top was questioned by so many cons
Helen Hollick
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs
"The majority of the book is written in the present tense, which I often find off-putting. However, in the hands Mr Neil it is easy to overcome such prejudice, for I found myself imagining that I was in a theatre, listening to an unseen narrator setting the scenes for the audience, whilst the players made their entrances to present the dialogue."
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
To does that follow my reviews, you know ho much I love Historical books, especially those that have romance because they just make the experience of reading much more dreamy. This book is a Historical fiction with romance and some political aspects. Plus it's based on a true story, so facts and fiction are intertwine in an amazingly written and interesting novel.

I must say that I knew nothing about Harriet Howard before I read this book, I did some light research just to know some basic things
Diana Febry
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating story, well-researched and well-told.
The story is set around the life of Harriet Howard, a young actress coerced by the British government into forming a relationship with Napolean III.
Full credit to the author for including an incredible amount of historical fact while maintaining a credible, flowing and intriguing storyline. While enjoying the story I learnt a great deal about the politics of the day. There was the odd occasion where small sections read a little like a history te
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a historical fiction set in the mid-1800’s. Harriet Howard was a bit of a handful growing up, something that definitely continued into adulthood, to say the least. A woman who finds herself in an impossible situation working for the British Government.

This for me came across as a very well researched story that mixes backroom deals that have implications both in Britain and France, with the corruption and “Gentlemen’s Agreements” of those in a position of authority and power. Ha
Zoé-lee O'farrell
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tf
I have said this many times before and I will say it again, I am a book cover hoe! I saw this cover and I had to read this book, just look at it! To me, it looks like Scarlett Johannson on the cover!! So, of course, reading this, that is who I imagined! So you know Hollywood if Scarlett needs a job this is the book for her!

I am beginning to reignite a passion for historical fiction and this book helps me along the way. Before Napoleon came along, Harriet’s personality shone through the book, th
Donna Maguire

I love this period of history and after reading the blurb for this one and seeing the cover I knew it would be a book for me.

I really enjoyed the story and I thought that the author did really well bringing this era to life. There was plenty of detail and I was drawn in, it was clearly well researched.

The characterisation was excellent and the plot line was really strong it was a very enjoyable read for me. Will definitely be looking out for me from this a
D.K. Marley
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In one day, I started and finished this novel because I just could not put it down! I loved everything about it - the story, the writing style, simply everything! It was if I was reading a classic novel like Bronte or Hugo - so many elements weaved into the writing with nods to Thackerays' Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair or Hugo's French history in Les Miserables or the political intrigue in Tolstoy's War and Peace. I am a fan of the stories of behind the scenes maneuvering of spies in English Govern ...more
Olive Sparrow
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Merest Loss is a fictionalized account of the life of Harriet Howard and the people she was involved with throughout her life. While the author adheres to historical accuracy, there's a reason why this is a work of fiction rather than a stylized biography. Rather than restructure and create an altered history to accommodate the plot, the author has modeled his story of difficult romance and murky Victorian politics around historical fact.

It's evident from the start that a huge amount of rese
Lynn (Ellesea Loves Reading)
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
The Merest Loss is a fascinating fictional portrayal of several equally captivating characters who lived in Victorian times. The focus is on Elizabeth 'Eliza' Ann Harryet, a headstrong young girl from Norfolk and how she became known as the actress Harriet Howard, mistress to Louis Napoleon and later Comtesse de Beauregard.

I enjoyed the contrast between Harriet Howard's life and Jem Mason's racing world. I respect how the author wove their lives together to create an enthralling narrative and I
Jo Barton
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Harriet Howard is feisty and ambitious and, from the very beginning of the novel, it would appear that she lived her complicated life in a way that very few women in the mid- nineteenth century could ever have imagined. Born into a fairly nondescript country family, Harriet is determined to make her mark on society and in doing so gets embroiled in the social and political turmoil of nineteenth century polite society.

Based on the true story of the red-haired beauty, Harriet Howard, who became th
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy books with fierce female leads & The Merest Loss was no exception - Harriet Howard was a real woman that worked her way up through society using only her wits, & who died a very wealthy lady. This uniquely written story tells a version of her life that relies a lot on fiction, but is based upon fact, that left me hungry for more details about her life - so much so that I spent hours researching her. Anyone who loves female-lead historical fiction will adore Steven Neil’s T ...more
 Bookish Reviews
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
While this book took much longer for me to finish reading than most, I did enjoy the story as a whole. Steven Neil's attention to details throughout the story was meticulous. The Merest Loss flows between Harriet's struggles through entrampment by the British Government and the life of jockey racers. Each chapter brings new struggles for Harriet and the love her life. Through riches to rags, marriages and estrangements Steven Neil does a great job keeping true to the historical era and keeping t ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well researched book with fascinating main characters set in an intriguing period of European history. A great read.
ChillwithabookAWARD With
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Merest Loss by Steven Neil has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award

"Very well written & researched."

Pauline Barclay - Founder of Chill with a Book Awards
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I really liked this story, even though the latter parts could've been better. Ordinarily, historical fiction is a genre I try to keep at bay, so much for reading two historical fics in one week merely because history doesn't interest me as much. However, I found this one so much more than I'd anticipated. I'd dived into The Merest Loss thinking about a romance set in the times when political circumstances were taking over the world, but I was both pleasantly and not-so-pleasantly surprised
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Marshall has wanted to know who his father is from the time he was very young. His mother would not tell him. Eventually she gives him a list of men in her life and tells him to go out and find the facts for himself. Along the way he not only learns about the men on the list but becomes great friends with some of them. Harriet Howard became a great actress who the government takes her life away to get her to do what they want. They are wanting to have an alliance between Queen Victoria's England ...more
Amanda Brown
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-2018
Finally finished this. Not my normal genre, enjoyed when I finally got into it.
Maria Sinclair
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The Merest Loss is a book to be enjoyed by fans of historic fiction and historians alike, finding, as it does, a delicate balance between the facts of a tempestuous period of European history and a fictionalised account of the life of one of the women caught up in the political negotiations of the time.

Reading at times a little more like a history book than a novel (albeit a far more interesting history book than any I read at school), the facts behind The Merest Loss are interspersed with splas
Charlotte King
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Jaquez
Jun 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
I got this book from NetGalley for free to review. I was really intrigued by the synopsis and was excited to start reading it but quickly became disappointed. I stand by my first thought that this could have been a very interesting and compelling book and while I know the version I got was not a finished copy, it needed a lot of editing to become a story.
This book was choppy, was basically ALL tell and no show, and I was trying desperately to make it work. I finished this so that I could give it
Carol Wilshire
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Jun 05, 2018
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Elizabeth C. Noke
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Caroline Fennell
rated it it was ok
Jul 28, 2018
Rosemarie West
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Jan 08, 2018
Mrs C Palot-Watts
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Jul 09, 2018
Tom James
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Dec 04, 2017
Jo Isherwood
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2018
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