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Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant
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Started this book last night ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 6, 2016 |
Started this book last night ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 2, 2016 |
Rich, handsome and respected, Charles Fraser survived the Napoleonic Wars and now has it all: two healthy children, the love of his beautiful and intelligent wife Melanie, and a burgeoning political career. But then his son is kidnapped, and Charles can only save him by plunging into society's underbelly and the bloody past he tried to repress.

Only a few chapters in, a Huge Secret is revealed. Most of the time, Huge Secrets are either the end of a novel or are forgiven/forgotten after a single touching scene. But here, the characters deal with the repercussions for the rest of the novel. I really enjoyed watching them work through the consequences and renegotiate their relationships. Charles and Melanie are a little too anachronistically enlightened to be believable, but I'm glad Grant made the attempt.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!
Melanie was a French spy and for the first few years of their marriage, stole papers and info from Charles and their English friends. Moreover, their son is actually Melanie's with her spy master, Raol. AND Raol in in fact Charles's father as well. AND Charles's younger half-brother Edgar is the villain. Why make Raol father Charles? Why have Edgar be evil? Half the twists are unnecessary. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Tracy Grant changed publishers and began to write prequels to this book under the name Teresa Grant. She used the same characters, but at the behest of her publisher renamed them Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch. I enjoyed the first book, Vienna Waltz and most of Imperial Scandal. I had read those books before reading this one, and it undoubtedly colors my opinion of this one.

I came to hate this book, not for any lack of writing ability or skill in portraying the period, but for how she changed Melanie/Suzanne (M/S) in this book and the end of Imperial Scandal. I don't want to create a spoiler, although this is pretty early in the plot of this book. by M/S's motives for the behavior that she had concealed from Charles/Malcolm (C/M) destroyed virtually all my sympathy for her. This issue is never really dealt with in this plot. They discuss what they did, but never how they come to terms with it. C/M, the least guilty, feels the worst, while M/S, constantly saying how guilty she is, never seems to feel any real remorse. C/M has done so much for his wife, and he is so endlessly forgiving (apparently), and she is never grateful. For someone who has espoused radical ideas, she is certainly happy to enjoy her wealth. They plan to discuss all this, but never do; it just sort of fades out of the picture. Presumably we are supposed to be so distracted by the frenetic plot that we forget it.

After reading this, I probably won't continue with the sequel, and I'm not sure that I can face the prequels, either.

Again, if I had not read the prequels, I might not have felt so strongly about this book. ( )
  juglicerr | Feb 8, 2015 |
Intrigue, sharply-drawn characters, unanticipated motivations -- this is a very nice first novel and I look forward to future works by this author. ( )
  wareagle78 | Feb 17, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Daughters of the game. - Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida ...Truth is truth To the end of reckoning - Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Dedication
For Penny with thanks for believing in the book and in me, and not letting me give up on either one.
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It was the sort of night that cloaks a multitude of sins.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A London night in November 1819. Outside, a mist hovers over the cobblestones and yellow pools of lamplight glow with murky radiance. And inside the glittering mansions of society's finest families lushly dressed ladies dance the night away with coolly elegant gentlemen...and the latest gossip is exchanged with a tilt of a fan. Surely in a world of such supreme confidence, no evil could touch those charmed lives. On this cloud-shrouded evening the unthinkable comes to pass: six-year-old Colin Fraser vanishes from the cocoon of his family's Berkeley Square home. His disappearance plunges his socially-and politically-prominent parents, Charles and Melanie Fraser, into a maze of intrigue, one that stretches back to the Napoleonic Wars. Charles is a former intelligence agent and the grandson of a duke who is now a member of Parliment. He possesses a cool Intellect and a burning sense of justice. Driven by the devastation he saw during the war and by his won family's sordid history, he is a man who will not rest until he discovers the truth. Melanie is a war refugee who charms London's beau monde at routs and receptions, all the while writing pamphlets on child labor and women's education. In a world where marriage is a matter of convenience and love is a game, their union is a model of constancy. As Colin's rasom, his captor's demand a ring...not just any ring, but the legendary Carevalo Ring. Many people, it seems are enticed by the gold and ruby ornaments, but are they lured by its beauty or by the promise of power that surrounds it? And there are those, perhaps even elements in the British governemnt, who would kill to possess it. Charles and Melanie's race against time to recover the ring and save their son becomes a dark and perilous game, where plot plays upon counterplot. Their hunt takes them to the Drury Lane Theatre and the debtors' prison in the Marshalsea, a London gaming hell and a Brighton racing stable, gin-soaked brothel and a Thames-side villa. They uncover a chilling labyrinth of secrets, both personal and political, that binds them together in unexpected ways and threatens to destroy them. As layers of deception are stripped away, Charles and Melanie begin to question all that they believe in. In a world of spies, blackmail, and murder, no one is quite who they seem to be. Deception and betrayal-of a country, an ideal, a lover, a spouse - come far more easily than truth and fidelity... (0-06-021133-6)
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When their child vanishes, Charles and Melanie Fraser plunge into the dark heart of 1819 London and into a nightmare of intrigue, betrayal, and deception that reaches back to the Napoleonic War to recover the kidnapped child.

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