Lady Bette grew up in the explosively experimental world of Restoration London amidst a ferment of new scientific thinking and new ideas about how to live. Shopping and sex, theatre and travel were all on the agenda. But the recent troubles of the Civil War and the harsh Puritan regime imposed during the rule of Oliver Cromwell remained a near memory and the Catholic-Protestant divide was still a great cause of dissension and distrust.
This is the true story of fourteen year old heiress Lady Bette, who was tricked into marrying Thynn, a dissolute and sinister fortune hunter. Weeks later Thynn was killed in the street by hired hit-men. But who was behind the murder?
Was it the glamorous Count Konigsmark, who was rumoured to be Bette’s lover? Was it a plot by Catholics intent on destroying a key player in the Protestant faction? Or was it Bette herself?
The reader is led through the turmoil of the streets, taverns, coffee houses and brothels of London into the Court at Whitehall, the stately homes of England – Syon, Petworth, Longleat and Althorp – and the palaces of Paris, Rome and The Hague.
The rich and famous rub shoulders with obscure foot-soldiers, watermen and newspaper hacks. Lives criss-cross and collide in the atmosphere of violence and insecurity engendered by religious fanaticism and political conspiracy.
Meticulously researched, the narrative unfolds to reveal a vivid and accurate portrayal of Restoration society.
Henry Purcell was the rave musician of his day writing operas, incidental music for the theatre, songs, anthems, chamber music and much more. Like Mozart he was a youthful genius composing from the age of nine and also like Mozart he died young, in his mid thirties.
He was brilliantly original, handsome and charismatic. Ecstatic audiences used to shower him with gold at the end of his performances. He was in his early twenties when Bette was in her teens and there is no way she wouldn’t have been a devoted fan.