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.
“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
“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
“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
“Vividly written and full of exquisite period detail … a novel that is as compelling as it is unexpected.” Kirsty Stonell Walker, author and biographer
"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."
When Alexander met the Queen. The ingenious Mr Bell.