Review: By The King’s Design by Christine Trent

Title: By the King's Design
Author: Christine Trent
Release Date: January 2012
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 3 Hoots
Reviewer: Lexi

Thanks to her patron and great architect, John Nash, Belle Stirling is a rising star in the homes of London’s fashionable elite. Even the prince regent wants her elegant, high quality fabrics used in the decoration of his new palace, Brighton Pavilion. But when those closest to her conspire against Parliament, she risks losing her reputation, her business. . .and even her life. (Goodreads)

By The King’s Design will take you back to a time when a woman was expected to marry, have children, and have no opinion. Belle is a feisty woman that contradicts nearly everything she can and finds herself in favor of the Prince because of it.

Belle is a smart business woman. After being betrayed by those closest to her she goes to London to start over. With her talent and sharp mind, she finds herself in the presence of the prince- which turns out to be both a blessing and a curse. This prince is an overweight spoiled rich boy in every sense; he made it easy for authors to write about his life.

There are a handful of well written characters. Belle’s brother Wesley is a drug addict trying to function and take control of his life. Haunted by his choices he tries to make better ones, only to find himself at the losing end of every single one of them. Mr. Nash is the man who guides and introduces Belle to the upper society, including the prince. Put is a cabinetmaker who captures Belle’s interest, and if she can learn to trust someone, who better to place that trust in than a man good with his hands.

Trent paints a very real picture of life in London during turbulent times. You feel the fear and anxiety over change that is coming; earning favor can mean the difference between starving or living lavishly. As for Belle, it is a time to test her creative limits as well as her emotional ones. The first half of the book is a slower pace, a lot of drawing rooms and shop talk. Once you reach the half-way point the action picks up with conspiracy and emotions. Christine Trent has crafted a well written historical fiction.

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