Henrietta Lightfoot was raised as a ward in the home of a gentleman, taught to be an accomplished and well-mannered young lady in 18th century England. When she and the young mistress of the house reach marriageable age, things start to get a little difficult-unwanted suitors pile up around the ladies, and one suitor is desirable to both Henrietta and her “cousin”. Henrietta knows that her love will never come to fruition, for she has no birth status, no dowry, nothing an aristocratic young man could want in marriage. But the young lord seems drawn to her, and things begin to spiral out of control.
Soon Henrietta finds herself on the streets, forced to fend for herself and find a way to survive. She goes to her lover for a brief period, but she always knew that they were not to be together as man and wife, and she would always be his hidden secret. His secret doings take him from her and she must examine her future plans or die in the streets of London. She decides to use the resources that she possesses, her beauty, her charm, her body, and find a gentleman who will keep her safe, for a small price…
A proper young lady quickly becomes a harlot, a kept woman among scandalous libertines and the most despicable of human beings, people she wouldn’t have been allowed to speak with in the streets in her prior life.
This is a novel about surviving, using your wits and doing the best you can in harsh, unforgiving times. At times cynical, at times vulgar, this novel is not sweet and flowery. Readers who like Philippa Gregory’s novels of historical romance and intrigue (The Other Boleyn Girl) will enjoy Mistress of My Fate, by Hallie Rubenhold, which is, apparently, the first in a series about Henrietta Lightfoot. The audiobook version of this novel, by Hachette Audio, comes highly recommended, so if you like audiobooks be sure to give it a try.