Monday, August 26, 2013

His Last Mistress by Andrea Zuvich

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Read: August 23, 2013

Set in the tumultuous late 17th Century, His Last Mistress tells the true story of the final years of James Scott, the handsome Duke of Monmouth, and his lover Lady Henrietta Wentworth. As the illegitimate eldest son of King Charles II, the Duke is a spoiled, lecherous man with both a wife and a mistress. However, this rakish libertine is soon captivated by the innocence of young Lady Henrietta Wentworth, who has been raised to covet her virtue. She is determined to spurn his advances, yet she cannot deny the chemistry between them. Will she succumb? At the same time, the Duke begins to harbour risky political ambitions which may threaten not only his life but also that of those around him. His Last Mistress is a passionate, sometimes explicit, carefully researched and ultimately moving story of love and loss, set against a backdrop of dangerous political unrest, brutal religious tensions, and the looming question of who will be the next King.

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A veritable casanova, James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth was a notorious ladies man. That is, until he crossed paths with young Henrietta Wentworth. Their subsequent affair scandalized the court, but his final declaration of love and affection made it a legend. Largely overlooked in the realm of fiction, their story is brought to life in Andrea Zuvich's debut, His Last Mistress.

By and large I liked this one, but the story has a lot going for it so that isn't much of a surprise. Zuvich does an excellent job depicting the politics of the day without overburdening her story with unnecessary details, but she also doesn't shy away from the complexities of her subject matter. Monmouth's position made it difficult for him to rest easy, but his affair with Henrietta was also challenging and I think Zuvich's treatment of both demonstrated those difficulties very well. 

In point of fact I think my only disappointment lay in that this book was written as a novella. Don't get me wrong, I loved the story. I just think it might have been more compelling if Zuvich had given her readers a little more time to get to know James and Henrietta before getting caught up in the momentum of their story. Maybe it's just me, but I think it might have been easier to accept how profoundly this relationship affected Monmouth if I'd been allowed to really explore the man he was before meeting Henrietta and would like to see what Zuvich would do given freedom to work in longer format. 

His Last Mistress is a tragically beautiful romance that offers a wonderfully unique glimpse into an oft overlooked chapter of Stuart history. Not to be missed. 

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"I have lived recklessly, gambled my income away at the horse races, gone whoring, have been more drunk than sober, beaten men to a pulp with my hands, have had a man’s nose cut off for insulting my father and have been indebted to villains more times than I care to say. But, I do not want to live like this anymore. I want a quiet life with a good woman who will care and love me..."
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Check out all the stops on Andrea Zuvich's His Last Mistress Virtual Book Tour

Monday, August 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 27
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, August 28
Review at The Happy Booker
Thursday, August 29
Guest Post at The Happy Booker
Friday, August 30
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, September 2
Review at West Metro Mommy
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, September 3
Review at One Book at a Time
Review & Guest Post at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, September 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, September 5
Review at Historical Tapestry & The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Interview at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, September 6
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

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