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A Royal Likeness Paperback – December 28, 2010

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

Dear Reader,

     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...
     Happy Reading,
     Christine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758238584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758238580
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christine Trent's latest release, THE MOURNING BELLS, is the fourth book in the LADY OF ASHES historical mystery series featuring Violet Harper, a Victorian undertaker with a passion for her macabre work. The fifth book in the series, DEATH AT THE ABBEY, will be released in December 2015.

She has also written several historical novels about women in unusual professions, including THE QUEEN'S DOLLMAKER (a dollmaker to Marie Antoinette), A ROYAL LIKENESS (an apprentice to the great waxworker, Madame Tussaud), and BY THE KING'S DESIGN (a draper to the prince regent).

Christine writes historical fiction from her two-story home library. She lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, five precocious cats, a large doll collection, and nearly 4,000 fully cataloged books. She and her husband are active travelers and journey regularly to England to conduct book research at historic sites.

Learn more about Christine at www.christinetrent.com or follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ChristineTrentBooks.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy M. Bruno on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
In Christine Trent's sophomore release, A Royal Likeness, readers meet up again with Marguerite Ashby, niece to Claudette from Trent's first novel, The Queen's Dollmaker. Marguerite now owns the doll shop Claudette made famous, but when tragedy strikes she retreats to her aunt's home to nurse her wounds. To help Marguerite conquer her grief and move on with her life, Claudette suggests that Marguerite join her friend Marie Tussaud and become her apprentice in the wax modeling business.

During her time as Tussaud's assistant, Marguerite learns the intricate art of creating wax sculptures as they travel throughout Great Britain, running the exhibition and sculpting various members of the aristocracy. When her skills as a wax sculptor are in need to aid the English against the invading Napoleon, she accepts the assignment and ends up participating in what is known now as the Battle of Trafalgar.

All in all, A Royal Likeness is a fun read, complete with treacherous sea crossings, scheming businessmen and political intrigue, plus a dash of romance. It's about losing love and finding it again and the endurance of the human spirit after tragedy occurs. I highly recommend!
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Format: Paperback
"A Royal Likeness" by Christine Trent is a sequel to "The Queen's Dollmaker" and while I never read that prequel, I can tell you that it's not necessary for you to read the first in order to enjoy the second. Ms. Trent did an awesome job making sure that I enjoy this read as a standalone. She gave me plenty of explanation in regards to characters and events from the prequel and that made it very easy for me to follow this story all on its own. She also made me want to read the prequel as well.

Now, this novel starts off a bit slow, but if you, like I, stick with this read for about a hundred or so pages, you will discover a story that is fascinating, fast paced and very, very well written.

This is Marguerite du Georges' (Ashby) story, a character that was first introduced in the prequel, and a woman that now owns Claudette's doll shop. As her story opens, she is struck with a tragedy and now must fend for herself, away from London. She finds herself working with Madame Tussaud, who is now in a need of an apprentice. As she enjoys her work and lets Madame Tussaud guide her while she applies her old and develops new skills, she gets commissioned by the Prime Minister on a secret project which will take her on an unexpected adventure of a lifetime.

And that is where the book takes off. Real historical figures and events add a wonderful and exciting pace to this story. Our heroine might be `addled' at times and she might get into some scrapes, but the woman was strong and courage's. It was a pleasure to watch her grow and come into her own while she lives through some tragedies life throws her way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura Fabiani on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
After reading Christine Trent's The Queen's Dollmaker, I was eager to read her second book, A Royal Likeness, whose main character, Marguerite, was first introduced in The Queen's Dollmaker. Marguerite now owns Claudette's doll shop (Claudette was the main character in the first book), but when tragedy strikes she leaves the shop and London. Then, through Claudette's connections, she receives the opportunity to work as Madame Tussaud's apprentice. She learns the trade of making life-size wax models of famous people and helps Madame Tussaud with her exhibitions in London, Edinburgh and Dublin. Later, because of her skill, she gets involved with the British government and the Battle of Trafalgar.

Many real historical figures play characters in this fictitious tale, and I really liked this aspect of the book. Madame Tussaud and Captain Nelson were the most interesting. The first half of the book is concentrated on Marguerite's work with Mme Tussaud. Although some readers may find the details of waxwork a little tedious, I enjoyed it and thought it quite fascinating.

Marguerite's character, on the other hand, took a while for me to like. Let me explain. Right from the onset of the story, I thought she could have better discerned the situation that led to tragedy. After they break her shop window, Marguerite flings open the door and brashly demands "a group of about twenty men, mostly drunk and on the brink of irrationality" who are carrying clubs and pitchforks what they wanted with her and her shop. Didn't she sense the danger? She should have closed the door and gone to get her husband.

Secondly, she once again acted foolishly when it came to Mr. Philipsthal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura Mae Baker on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is my first review on Amazon, but I just wanted to say how much I loved, loved, loved this book!

I had not read The Queens Dollmaker (although now I want to). While I quickly caught on that this was a sequel it did not hinder my reading of this book on it's own. Charcters mentioned from the previous book are given enough explanation that I was never lost on past plot points that affect the story, which are minor.

The first 200 pages set the backround of the story and focus mostly on the heroine's waxwork with M.Tusaud and her odious busines partner. I had never read about waxworking, but found it very interesting.

The book really picks up the when Marguerite gets involved with the Battle of Trafalgar.

There wasn't much debate in my mind which man Marguerite was going to choose, however I delighted in the hero and rooted for him to win over the fair and brave lady.

All in all I really liked this story.
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