Girl on the Golden Coin: Book summary and reviews of Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson

Girl on the Golden Coin

A Novel of Frances Stuart

By Marci Jefferson

Girl on the Golden Coin
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2014,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

In 1660, the Restoration of the Stuart Monarchy in England returns Frances Stuart and her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and goes to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King's eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty - she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He sends her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and help him form an alliance with England. The Queen Mother likewise orders Frances to become her son's mistress, in the interest of luring him away from the Protestant mistress he currently keeps.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can't afford to stir a scandal, determined to keep her family from shame. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him and the two embark on a tenuous relationship. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. A startling discovery will leave her with no other choice but to break his heart, while the fate of England hangs in the balance.

In the tradition of Philippa Gregory, debut author Marci Jefferson brings to life a captivating woman whose beauty, compassion, and intellect impacted a king and a nation, in Girl on the Golden Coin.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Jefferson's intoxicating first novel superbly draws readers into the mischief and maneuverings, loyalties and treacheries, and lust and hostility of powerful 17th century kings and scheming court sycophants." - Publishers Weekly

"...the book fails to create any sense of urgency, turmoil, or tumult that courtiers of the time faced - and that historical fiction fans demand in their novels. Jefferson's work is good, but don't be surprised if readers lose interest after a while." - Library Journal

"Jefferson fictionalizes the life of a little-known - yet exceedingly familiar - historical figure in her authentically detailed debut...This small leap from the Tudors is a must-read for Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory fans." - Booklist

"A novel as rich and golden as the coin she graced. Frances Stuart's face was truly her fortune and left its mark on history, a rare achievement." - Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I: The Novel

"A delicious story of court intrigues, affairs and vibrant personalities, Jefferson's novel is sure to please fans of historical fiction of all kinds." - Madeline Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of The Counterfeit Mistress

"As vibrant and delightful as the woman it's based on, Girl on the Golden Coin is a jewel of a novel!" - Michelle Moran, national bestselling author of The Second Empress

"Frances makes an appealing heroine, by turns wary and passionate, sophisticated and innocent, as she matures from destitute young pawn to the majestic duchess whose figure would grace Britain's coins for centuries." - Kate Quinn, national bestselling author of Mistress of Rome

"A realistic view of court intrigue, this story of merry-making and mischief and the ultimate test of honor will delight readers and keep them turning pages long into the night." - Heather Webb, author of Becoming Josephine

"Girl on the Golden Coin is a fantastic novel. I couldn't put it down. The plot is fast-paced and compelling, with intriguing characters, lush settings and captivating narrative voice." - Susan Spann, author of Claws of the Cat

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by iread49
Not Familiar with Time Period .
I also love historical fiction. I admit I am not familiar with this time period. I have focused on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I . The start of this novel was slow but my interest increased as I read. Overall I would recommend this book for people interested in historical fiction. The political intrigue was fascinating !

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Laura M.
Not bad
For a first novel this was a good one. Some of my favorite authors have improved dramatically as they write. This was well written but I am not sure how believable some of it was, like a bedroom scene with Francis and Castlemaine. The author was very professional and included notes at the back to explain her point of view. That is a feature I much appreciate!

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Nancy
Girl on the Golden Coin
I called this book average because of all the time wasted in bedroom scenes. The author could have gotten to the important part of the story much sooner. I did not know the story of Frances Stuart and found this part of the book very interesting. So much is written about Henry VIII that the other Kings are overlooked.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by jane
More Fiction than History
I love historical fiction. What is more fun than reading about those scoundrel English kings! I do require a few things, however, in my fiction based on history. First, it needs to be historically accurate. Every piece of fiction has fictional characters but the majority should be real and the timeline should be as close to accurate as possible. Second, I need some background so I am not constantly looking up personnel on wiki. And please, no background from conversations between people that's not realistic. I don't mind some narrative. Lastly, I want to be so interested in the facts and the story that I am prompted to read more. This story of Frances Stuart had most of the requirements; true characters, a true timeline, a piece of history that I had never encountered before, a character I had never read about before. My one complaint was not enough background and too much conversation. But overall, an enjoyable read about lesser known English royalty

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Jeanne W. (Columbia, MD)
History is confusing
Marci Jefferson's first effort at historical fiction tells the story of Frances Stuart, a maid of honor to King Charles II's wife and his reputed mistress for a time. Deployed by Henri XIV to encourage peaceful relations between England and France, Frances tries to accomplish this without alienating her family from royal favor. Scandals abound along with details of jewels and clothes. The book is light on details of relationships and politics, but a "cast of characters" in the beginning helps. Researching Frances and Charles II on your own will help more. If you like historical fiction you will probably like this book. If you prefer your history straight up this book won't sway you.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Phyllis R. (Rochester Hills, MI)
La Belle Stuart and the Merry Monarch
If you like British historical fiction, "Girl on the Golden Coin' is highly recommended. The "girl" is Frances Stuart, one of many mistresses to King Charles II. (1661-1685) The "coin" is a copper farthing minted in 1673 in which "La Belle Stuart" is engraved on one side by Rottier and the "Merry Monarch" on the other.
The novel is set in Paris in the court of Louis XIV and moves to London where rumors of war, the Plague, Great Fire of 1666 and many trysts and intrigues are chronicled. The author gives a list of characters at the front of the book which is most helpful for the reader to decipher the royal relationship.
Frances Stuart kept her virtue and virginity above playing politics and eventually became Duchess of Richmond and Lennox. Each chapter begins with a poem or quotation exhorting her beauty and cunning.
Author Marcie Jefferson has done extensive research using letters, diaries, and memoirs so one learns about fashion, hairstyles, architecture, and food during the Restoration. And that is why I like historical fiction!

...8 more reader reviews

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Marci Jefferson graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College as a Registered Nurse. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. Jefferson lives in Indiana with her husband and children. Girl on the Golden Coin is her first novel. Visit her at marcijefferson.com

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