About the Book: (Blurb from Goodreads)
The incomparable Danielle Steel breaks new ground as she takes us to nineteenth-century England, where a high-born young woman is forced out into the world – and begins a journey of survival, sensuality and long-sought justice.
Angélique Latham has grown up at magnificent Belgrave Castle under the loving tutelage of her father, the Duke of Westerfield, after the death of her aristocratic French mother. At eighteen she is her father’s closest, most trusted child, schooled in managing their grand estate. But when he dies, her half-brothers brutally turn her out, denying her very existence. Angélique has a keen mind, remarkable beauty and an envelope of money her father pressed upon her. To survive, she will need all her resources – and one bold stroke of fortune.
Unable to secure employment without references or connections, Angélique desperately makes her way to Paris, where she rescues a young woman fleeing an abusive madam – and suddenly sees a possibility: open an elegant house of pleasure that will protect its women and serve only the best clients. With her upper-class breeding, her impeccable style and her father’s bequest, Angélique creates Le Boudoir, soon a sensational establishment where powerful men, secret desires and beautiful, sophisticated women come together. But living on the edge of scandal, can she ever make a life of her own – or regain her rightful place in the world?
From England to Paris and New York, Danielle Steel captures an age of upheaval and the struggles of women in a male-ruled society – and paints a captivating portrait of a woman of unquenchable spirit, who in houses great or humble is every ounce a duchess.
I have always been a fan of Danielle Steel’s writing and books growing up. After a long hiatus, I picked up this book at a book fair and was instantly intrigued. The setting of the book and plot teased in the blurb promised a scintillating read and I was not at all disappointed. The reader is taken on an unexpected journey along with Angélique as she navigates a world dominated by men, especially those who dislike her and want to see her gone.
Angélique, daughter of the Duke of Westerfield, disliked tremendously by her two half-brothers, is forced out of her home at the tender age of seventeen, upon the death of her father. Her brothers were always jealous of her and the attention their father gave her. Upon taking over the Dukedom, her older brother cast her out and sent her off to be a nanny in a trusted friends house. Following this is a story of struggle, adjustment and immense strength of person and character as she learns to work and earn money to take care of herself. Angélique’s story is one of heartbreak and sorrow and grief interspersed with some lighter moments, but what stayed with me is her will to live and show everyone what she can do.
Angélique’s journey is an amazing one to read about and I absolutely loved meeting all the characters along the way, especially her found family when she creates Le Boudoir. This is also a story of second chances and eventually happier endings through sheer strength of character and will power. The story takes us through different parts of England, to Paris and finally America following which she eventually finds her way back. Angélique as a character is indeed an inspiration and though her story is difficult to read and gets quite emotional, I believe that readers of historical fiction and romance would devour this book!
I strongly recommend this read and am definitely looking forward to reading all those books by the author that I have not yet come to. My reading journey is definitely a work in progress and books by Danielle Steel are on that every growing TBR pile of mine!