Opened in a flashback style, beautiful and tempting, the biography of Mary Anne Clarke, the notorious heroine, unfolded. Based on her great-great-grandmother, Ms. Du Maurier weaved a story of a woman's power struggle and web of intrique played in society dominated by men. Set in London at the time when Paris was being ruled in Terror regime, London was in parliamentary turmoil and both countries are in war at the end of 18th century.
Mary Anne, with her cunning wit and unbeatable Irish blood, was born in London slum neighbourhood. With her resourceful mind, she determined to be a success in men's world by playing the same game, with the same rules. She first tried to find a wealthy husband but got a big-mouthed, good-for-nothing one instead. Not to be beaten by circumstances, she left her husband and started to use her unique beauty to make connection, to be a 'social climber', in order to provide food and shelter for her 3 children, a mother, a half-sister and a brother. As time would have it, she was introduced to The Duke of York, became his mistress and the scandalous dealings began.
Being a mistress to a prince didn't mean she would have unlimited income. On the contrary, to maintain the house, lifestyle and servants, she must do 'side job' by promoting soldiers to the Duke with some amount of fee. This would lead to the most scandalous trial(s) in England concerning royal family.
The dialogs and the statements were beautifully written (but no ramblings) while the characters each had their own strength and weakness. It was said that there are some resemblances between the author's life with the main character which added to the substance of the story. All I can say is I admire her wit and I see the reasons behind her every move.
Feel the spirit, see the dreams and understand the love of life which came from a woman named Mary Anne.