As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath’s Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.
His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.
Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he’d find her standing on a table in one of Bath’s bawdiest pubs.
Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?
The second in Rachel Brimble’s thrilling new Victorian saga series, Trouble for the Leading Lady will whisk you away to the riotous, thriving underbelly of Victorian Bath.
I received a copy of this book from the author and Aria in return for an honest review.
Nancy’s story is the second book in this challenging and compelling Victorian saga. Nancy dreams of being on the stage end in ruin until Louisa ( A Widow’s Vow) saves her. Nancy’s life is not what she wants, but her close friendship with Louisa and Octavia keeps her positive. Limited by her gender and social class, Nancy’s life choices are few. This poignant theme is explored well in this insightful story.
Francis’life in the workhouse still haunts him. He hopes to let go of the horrors through the play he is writing. There is strong attraction when Francis and Nancy meet, but can they fulfil each other’s dreams?
The conflicted romance is passionate, but both driven characters are wary of being hurt. They are easy to empathise with, and you want them to find lasting happiness. The dynamic between Louisa, Nancy and Octavia is relatable and provides humour and realism, adding authenticity.
The setting and historical detail are well researched and give the story its ethos and immersive quality.
This is an engaging Victorian romantic saga with a strong theme of social injustice that resonates.
Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 20 published novels including the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).
In 2019 she signed a new three book contract with Aria Fiction for a Victorian trilogy set in a Bath brothel. The first book, A Widow’s Vow was released in September 2020 followed by book 2 Trouble For The Leading Lady in March 2021 – it is expected that the final instalment will be released in the Autumn 2021. Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.