Brilliant and sassy Elizabeth Trumpet fantasizes starring on the London stage, but to become an actress in 1803 is tantamount to losing her virginity in the most debasing way.
After watching her mother die and her father lose his mind, the courageous sixteen-year-old must find a way to save her family. She scores her first acting job as a fencer—the deadly skill she learned from her brother training for the military. Blessed with talent and a rare singing voice, Lizzie pursues her career, learning from theatrical characters high and low.
When reckless actor Jonathan Faversham sets eyes on Miss Trumpet, he knows he’s found the partner of his life. But Faversham carries ruinous baggage from a dark past. Entangled in lust and ambition, Lizzie gives him her heart and they reach the heights together. Until Lizzie gets more applause than he…
From the magnificence of Regency palaces and the Theatre Royal Covent Garden to the sun-baked pyramids of Egypt and the arms of a real-life Samson, Lizzie is never far from trouble. As her brother rides to glory with Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars, great events threaten her survival. Danger lurks behind stage curtains, when a madman sets fire to take her life and she lifts a sword in revenge.
Will this once innocent girl, with her rise to stardom, be remembered for her art? Or for her shame?
With all their years spent in the emotional and melodramatic world of soap operas, the Hayes' have created a work that brings the soap opera to life in this vast and sweeping epic full of emotional highs and lows set amongst real-life historical events. For a young woman full of hopes and dreams the travails of life drastically change her and create a memorable journey for us readers that doesn't end after the final page is turned.
Elizabeth Trumpet has always been full of life with dreams to follow in her father's theatrical footsteps. Due to a sad string of unfortunate events, she finally gets her chance to be on stage and under the tutelage of numerous larger than life characters she becomes the toast of the town. When she reaches this pinnacle though, things are not as perfect as she thought they'd be and girlish dreams morph into harsh reality. Events soon spiral out of control and take the reader on a journey spanning the globe that leaves you breathless with anticipation.
For the most part, I found Elizabeth a likable character and rooted for her to succeed every moment. Because of my jaded maturity, I did find her early naivete a bit annoying and feared for her future because of her caring and overly generous heart. As fate dealt her some heavy blows, a more mature Lizzie emerged that I found much easier to relate to and admire. In fact many of the women in this book were admirable in their strength in adversity and their ability to rise above hardships. Too bad many of the men didn't fare as well. Many of the male characters were weak willed, petty, with overly tender egos. More often than not, these men were wrapped in pretty packages, so determining hero from villain wasn't always easy. This is where Lizzie's heart gets her in the most trouble. Her girlish fantasies and heroic dreams caused her to be blind to many apparent truths and led to great heartache.
I found myself sucked into this world early on with its vivid scenic descriptions and varied and larger than life characters. Real-life historical events were seamlessly incorporated into this story to cause even more nail biting moments on this emotional rollercoaster ride. There's a nice bit of romance too woven into this epic, but nothing overly blatant. Emotions run high from page one and just when you think Lizzie has found her HEA new truths arise that lead to even more turmoil. With a cliffhanger at the very end I'm on pins and needles waiting for the next chapter in Lizzie's life and hope that the Hayes' bring us back to this world soon.
My rating for this is an A.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.