From Publishers Weekly
Trent's newest is a complicated historical that covers too much territory. When French-born Marguerite Ashby, a famous doll maker, loses her husband in turn of the 19th-century London in an attack on her London shop by an angry mob seething with anti-French sentiments, she flees to the country but returns to work for Madame Tussaud, who runs a waxworks exhibit. Tussaud is brilliant, but at the mercy of her predatory financial partner, Philipsthal, who schemes to make Marguerite his wife. When he dies, Marguerite opens a new waxworks and is enlisted by the crown for a crucial bit of espionage, creating decoys for the battle of Trafalgar. Marguerite is also torn between two men, Brax and Hastings, one of whom harbors a dangerous secret. Marguerite is a strong heroine, and following her adventures is enjoyable, but the overload of background before the actual tale begins slows the pace and compromises the tension. While Marguerite's rival wooers make for fairly decent candidates for her affections, there is no heat in their courtships. Readers interested n the battle of Trafalgar will find this retelling compelling, but the rest is run of the mill. (Jan.)
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From the Author
Welcome to the world of Madame Tussaud's early days! Until I started researching the famous lady, I had no idea that she not only survived the French Revolution, but that she had a traveling show in England for more than 30 years before settling down in London's Baker Street, not far from where today's permanent exhibition resides.
Tussaud was a remarkable businesswoman in creating the fantastic wax displays of the famous and infamous that thrilled audiences across Great Britain. She changed and re-created her displays--or tableaux--constantly, so that patrons might stop by several times during Tussaud's temporary visit. Every visit meant more admissions fees.
She was also tireless, running the entire show for many years with just her son, Joseph, to help her. It is a testament to her greatness that the exhibition today still bears her name, and it still adheres to her basic concept of constantly revolving displays. There were many waxworks in the 19th century, but only Madame Tussaud's became synonymous with the craft. After all, who has ever heard of Patience Wright's Waxworks? Or Mrs. Salmon's Waxworks Shop?
I hope you enjoy Marguerite Ashby's dangerous escapades, as my fictional heroine joins up with Madame Tussaud and embarks on an unplanned adventure to supply wax figures to the English government in order to trick the volatile Napoleon into believing one thing is happening, when it is actually something else entirely...
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