Monday, 17 April 2017
Angela Burdett-Coutts was the daughter of Thomas Coutts. She was a described, in glowing terms, by King Edward VII as "the most remarkable woman in the kingdom, after my mother."
At the age of 23 she inherited a vast fortune of £2M from her grandfather in 1837. The equivalent of £210M in today's money.
Being an attractive young woman who was so wealthy she could have been described as making Croesus look like a piker. But along with this vast wealth came a very large number of suitors who were all, by and large, dishonourable scrounging rogues.
She was also a stunningly generous benefactor having a wide range of eclectic interests from bee keeping to goats, from social housing to fallen women and many other things in between.
This much is true. Ian Townsend has taken this historical character and her visits to the West Riding spa town of Harrogate, where she is to seek respite from the unwanted attentions of the unworthy suitors.
But at the same time an honourable member of the 11th Light Dragoons has been despatched to Harrogate on a vitally important and highly secretive government mission.
The two meet, entirely by chance, and this encounter propels them both into a dramatic adventure which contains deceitfulness, corruption, kidnapping extortion and revenge.
Written from the point of view of cavalry officer Captain George Townsend, the book is meticulously researched and is a combination of Victorian romance and thriller, rolled into one.
It's a refreshingly interesting and exciting read and at 344 pages is well worth every penny of the £9.99 price.
It is published by Mandy Townsend Publishing and is available from the That's Books Bookshop, https://goo.gl/Ltov34.