Synopses & Reviews
London:1673. With her family ruined by war, penniless thirteen-year-old Sarah Jennings is overjoyed to be chosen as a maid of honor at the bawdy Restoration court of Charles II. She soon wins the trust of Lady Anne of York, a lonely princess who becomes one of her staunchest allies. And though Sarah’s beauty stirs the desires of jaded aristocrats, she wants a grander future for herself than that of a pampered mistress. Only one man possesses ambition and passions that match her own: John Churchill, a dashing young military hero. He would ask for her hand—and win her heart for a lifetime….
But Whitehall Palace is ripe with ever-shifting alliances and sexual scandal, and Sarah will need all her cleverness to succeed. Titles, power, and wealth are the prizes, while an idle whisper in the wrong ear can bring a cry of treason, and the executioner’s ax. Will Sarah’s loyalties––and her dreams––falter when a king is toppled from his throne and a new queen crowned? And will she dare risk everything when her one true love is tested by a passionate, dangerous obsession?
Brimming with the intrigue and sensuality of one of history’s most decadent courts, Duchess brings to vivid life the story of an unforgettable woman who determines her own destiny––outspoken, outrageous, but most of all true to herself.
"Sarah Jennings's ascent from poverty as a 13-year-old to the highest echelons of late 17th- and early 18th-century English society has all the trappings of supermarket tabloids: intrigue, treachery, deceit and sexual scandals. In this first-person telling, Scott takes a near-scholarly approach but maintains the thrills as Sarah and her equally ambitious husband, John Churchill, risk charges of treason (and thus, their necks) to ensure the crown for Anne Stuart. Sarah and John become the ultimate power couple: she gets her way, her riches and her title nearly without sacrificing her own principles, while John, despite his personal ambition, seeks the best for his family and country, becoming England's greatest military hero. If each is a bit too good to be true, that is a hazard of the first person and is easy to overlook with two such interesting and able characters. That Sarah is an ancestor of both Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Spencer gives this novel appeal to several generations of historical fiction readers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Richly researched and beautifully written.”
––Karen Harper, Author of The Last Boleyn
“As wickedly entertaining as Sarah Churchill herself.”
––Mary Jo Putney, author of The Marriage Spell
“A vivid portrait of an intriguing woman with all her flaws and strengths. Rich in period detail, the novel also has all the ingredients necessary for a compelling read: conflict, suspense, intrigue, and the romance between Sarah and John Churchill, one of history’s great love stories.”—Susan Carroll, Author of The Silver Rose
Sarah Jennings' ascent from poverty to the highest echelons of late 17th- and early 18th-century English society has all the trappings of supermarket tabloids: intrigue, treachery, deceit and sexual scandals. In this first-person telling, Scott takes a near-scholarly approach but maintains the thrills as Sarah and her equally ambitious husband, John Churchill, risk charges of treason to ensure the crown for Anne Stuart.
A historical novel based on the life of the lady-in-waiting who helped bring James II to the throne of England.
Brimming with the intrigue and sensuality of one of history's most decadent courts, Duchess brings to vivid life the story of an unforgettable woman who determines her own destiny-outspoken, outrageous, but most of all true to herself and her heart.
In 1673, as a penniless twelve-year-old, Sarah Jennings arrived at the bawdy Restoration Court of Charles II. Armed with a potent combination of charm, beauty, and intelligence, she prospered. Not only did Sarah win the trust of the future Queen Anne, but she managed to protect her virtue and reputation, marrying the one man as ambitious as she was: the dashing young soldier John Churchill. Over the next forty years, Sarah would amass an immense personal fortune, help make her husband a national hero, and help bring a new king to the throne.
About the Author
Susan Holloway Scott is the author of more than thirty historical novels and a graduate of Brown University.