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The Adventuress: A Novel Hardcover – May 28, 2013
From Publishers Weekly
An English woman from a poor neighborhood learns how to manipulate rich men and the financial market, moving herself up the impossible ranks of the UK class system in Coleridge's latest novel (after Pride and Avarice). Cath Fox is a striking chameleon, seen first as a teenaged matron at a prestigious women's college who sleeps with teachers and steals from students. She begins an affair with a student's handsome father, which ends with him returning to his wife. Cath finds work in an erotic massage parlor for men where she serves octogenarian Lord Blaydon, becoming his personal nurse and eventually his fiancée. But when the Lord dies moments after his proposal, Cath finds herself on the streets again only to begin the greatest adventure of her life, involving high paying careers and multiple marriages to wealthy/powerful men that land her in royal courts. Her story is intertwined with the lives of those she's touched but barely acknowledged, including a daughter she gave birth to and abandoned before her time as a matron. Coleridge's narrative moves with ease but lacks both linguistic vitality and character depth. It's an entertaining read, and she sets the stage for an absorbing literary venture but disappointingly manages only to skim the surface. (June)
Sassy, ribald, and deliciously fun, Coleridge’s latest social-commentary send-up puts a modern spin on Vanity Fair with the scheming yet quite practical and even likable Cath Fox. Beginning as an assistant matron at an English girls’ school, Cath starts her rise to the top with a besotted married man and continues up and up the food chain. Inked with some daring tattoos and boasting exceedingly humble origins stuffed into the hidden closets of memory, Cath shapes and reshapes herself, learning quickly the nuances of culture far above her own background and relying on the timeless knowledge that most men become putty in the hands of a beautiful woman. Succulent in its revelry in the baser instincts of humanity and as unabashedly enticing as the juiciest soap opera, this novel chronicles the fallout from the path of the calculating Cath, making for great beach reading à la Jackie Collins, Danielle Steele, and Michael Korda. --Julie Trevelyan