The Dressmaker’s Secret
It’s 1819, and young Englishwoman Emilia Barton is growing impatient of her unsettled life, traveling up and down Italy as an itinerant dressmaker—until her anxious and seemingly innocuous mother is murdered, leaving her orphaned, penniless and alone… or is she? In Pesaro, Emilia finds a place in the peculiar household of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, the Prince Regent’s estranged and eccentric wife, and falls in requited love with a handsome Italian tutor, but is haunted by her mother’s dying words about her birth. Entangled in Caroline’s predicament, and eager to discover her true origins, she travels to England, where a family awaits her, together with political intrigue, heartbreak and danger.
Around the fate of the unhappy Caroline of Brunswick, Charlotte Betts weaves her heroine’s tale, with plenty of pretty descriptions, elegant balls, Regency politics, a touch of the Gothic, and a couple of factual errors (no such things as a Duke of Mantova in 1819) in a pleasant, light read with enough twists to keep things interesting to the end.