Maeve Haran’s THE PAINTED LADY is a gripping romantic tale set in 1660s London, following the restoration of King Charles II to the throne after the English Civil War. It tells the story of Frances, a young aristocrat, beautiful and idealistic. She has captured the king’s heart, but – unlike scores of other women around him – refuses to be his lover because she is deeply in love with another man, Charles Stuart, the Duke of Richmond. The Duke returns her love, but is married, and too honourable to betray his wife, locking all three characters into a tragic love triangle. It seems that Frances and her beloved are doomed to remain apart, until the Duke’s wife dies – and then all that stands between them is the obsessed king.
The story takes place against the dramatic backdrop of the Great Plague, the Dutch wars and the Great Fire of London, and it’s full of the atmospheric sense of place and history that Haran is known for evoking. Rich in period detail, vivid in description and character, THE PAINTED LADY is an utterly irresistible, compelling historical novel.
"There is something charmingly old-fashioned about this account of intrigue and romance in Restoration London...This is an undemanding and highly enjoyable account of the court beauty who was allegedly the model for Britannia on the coinage, and who eventually, one is glad to learn, got her man."
- Literary Review, Joanna Hines
"Maeve Haran presents a vivid picture of life at the royal court - a mixture of courtesy and coarseness, laxity and loyalty - which makes an easy read." - Leicester Mercury
"It's evocative, colourful and exciting, but while there are lots of heaving bodices, it's a tad restrained on the ripping front." - Daily Mail, Wendy Holden
"Haran has created a pacy tale of court intrigue , daring and romance set against a time of war, plague and the Great Fire of London....Overall, an entertaining read that should amuse history buffs almost ( but not quite) as much as die-hard romantics." - Sussex Life, Anne Hill