dark Gothic style landscape, man walking in storm, long coat, winter trees
dark Gothic style landscape, man walking in storm, long coat, winter trees
dark Gothic style landscape, man walking in storm, long coat, winter trees
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Copyright © 2018 Robert Stephen Parry. All rights reserved. 
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A special page of reading notes to accompany this novel
(Warning: contains spoilers)
The Testament of Sophie Dawes - a Victorian novel

Queen of Chantilly, the 19th-century courtesan Madame de Feucheres

England, 1862 -

and the nation is in mourning for the death of the Prince Consort, when a newly appointed archivist arrives at the Queen’s island residence of Osborne, enticed by the prospect of long country walks as much as by his professional duties. But his plans are forced to change as he uncovers a complex web of intrigue and scandal that reaches from revolutionary France to the very heart of Victorian Society.
What is he to make of such an unwelcome discovery? And who is the mysterious woman he encounters again and again when walking by the sea?
A testament from the grave that reveals one of the most powerful yet maligned of 19th Century courtesans whose life has been almost erased from history. But it is knowledge that does not please everyone.
Sophie Dawes book-cover shows antique Chantilly lace with black poppy overlays
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Take a peep inside!
small antique keyhole linking to a sample of the first few pages of the book
“I recommend this book for anyone interested in Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Marie Antoinette, or Louis XVI. Or, for anyone just wanting to read a great book!”
Charla Wilson, Book Talk with Charla
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Fancy Text image linking to video trailer to The Hours Before novel
ISBN-10: 1514777878 Paperback: 282 pages en-gb
eBook available on Kindle, Nook and iTunes

Post Script

"Sophie Dawes is one of those figures from the past who often receive a bad press at the hands of historians. It is all too easy to see in her the adventuress and the opportunist, which she no doubt was; but she was also highly educated, intelligent and resourceful. Above all, in the person of Sophie we find a huge bundle of contradictions that cannot easily be dismissed, and a good many secrets, too, that she would have taken with her to the grave concerning the course of French history. All this makes her worthy of  closer scrutiny and deserving of far more respect than has hitherto been granted to her."

Additional Information

“With a fast-paced and naturally flowing storyline followed by a stunning ending, I found this to be a most satisfying read.”
Arleigh Johnson, historical-fiction.com
“Parry’s choice to present the narrative in diary form gives a strong and steady pace of daily activity that reads like an authentic Victorian journal. His research and grasp of the time period is impeccable.”
Stephanie Pina, The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood
“Vividly written and full of exquisite period detail … a novel that is as compelling as it is unexpected.” Kirsty Stonell Walker, author and biographer
●  Full-length, richly-dark neo-Victorian novel incorporating letters and an intimate journal - an epistolary novel.

●  From Regency England to post-revolutionary France, the real rags-to-riches story of Baronne de Feuchères or Sophie Dawes - the English mistress of  Louis Henri Prince de Condé.

●  Adult content with an authentic nineteenth-century English Gothic setting.

●  A junior archivist working at the royal residence of Osborne House is an observer of events following the death of Albert the Prince Consort.

●  Scandal involving the French Bourbon and d’Orleans families that reaches back to the English Regency, the French Revolution and a crime that once shook all of France.

●  Lavish settings and authentic period ‘victoriana’ - alternating between the seaside home of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight and the nearby fishing village of St Helens.

●  Extensive references to the lives of Louis XVI, XVII and XVIII; Marie Antoinette and others.

Where to Buy ...

Paperback worldwide
Barnes & Noble Nook
Apple iTunes
amazon in the UK
amazon in the US
A set of extra pages to accompany the novel can be found here. Featuring portraits and various images describing the characters and setting of the story.
small oval image of young Regency woman, Sophie Dawes
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