Troubador The Merest Loss

Released: 28/11/2017

ISBN: 9781788039710

eISBN: 9781788032483

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Merest Loss


When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet? 

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father? 

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.

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The paperback and ebook versions of The Merest Loss are available now. 21.11.2017

Discovering Diamonds

Historical fiction with a different twist to it. I enjoyed the book and found the characters well developed. I found the differences between the country live of horse racing and the intrigue of the city to be an enjoyable contrast. I would recommend this book to friends.

by Sharlene Moore

I really liked this story, even though the latter parts could've been better. Ordinarily, historical fiction is a genre I try to keep at bay, so much for reading two historical fics in one week merely because history doesn't interest me as much. However, I found this one so much more than I'd anticipated. I'd dived into The Merest Loss thinking about a romance set in the times when political circumstances were taking over the world, but I was both pleasantly and not-so-pleasantly surprised to find the historical setting given as much so much more limelight.

The story starts off centered around Harriet and her life before she came in contact with Louis Napoleon. I loved that first part of the book! She is this defiant, uncontrollable and rebellious child who loves running away from the mainstream goals set for her as a woman n 1836. Her dialogues, tactics and uncaring attitude is perfectly drawn to give a gist of her personality. Not to mention the letters exchanged during that period, between her poor parents and school or between her and her parents. Since I'm already brushing through the pros of this story, let me appreciate the research that has gone into this work. Right from the words used to the mannerisms and reactions, given or received, give me the essence of the time it has all been set in. Furthermore, it isn't simply giving away facts, instead the romance and instances are beautifully woven within the historical backdrops.

Having said that, the latter parts of the story, when the spotlight shifts from Harriet to the more serious plot line about bigger names and bigger conflicts...I didn't prefer it over the character development that was kept at stake for this. Yes, it was intriguing but I'd mentioned when I picked up the book that I was more for a developed romance than the fictional historical recounts. Perhaps, this might be a it's-not-you-it's-me situation, and am pretty sure the book would be a 10 on 10 for for some readers out there.

All in all, this was definitely a good read and I would recommend it to all those who love a fictional story set in a factual historical setting and a character you would genuinely like, given the times.

by Faguni Sharma

Steven Neil

Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

Steven Neil

The Merest Loss
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