Lady Bette, the 14-year-old heiress to the vast Northumberland estates, becomes the victim of a plot by her grandmother, the Countess Howard, to marry her to the dissident fortune-hunter Thomas Thynn, a man three times her age with an evil reputation. Revolted by her new husband, Lady Bette flees to Holland. Within weeks, Thynn is gunned down in the street by three hired assassins.
Who is behind the contract killing? Is it the Swedish Count Coningsmark, young and glamorous with blond hair down to his waist? Or is it a political assassination as the anti-Catholic press maintains? Thynn was, after all, a key player in the Protestant faction to exclude the Catholic James, Duke of York, as his brother Charles II's successor.
N.A. Pickford creates a world of tension and insecurity, of constant plotting and counter-plotting and of rabid anti-Catholicism, where massive street demonstrations and public Papal burnings are weekly events. The action moves from the great landed estates of Syon and Petworth to the cheap taverns and brothels of London, and finally to Newgate and the gallows - the sporting spectacle of the day. In the process, the book gives us a vivid and deeply researched portrait of Restoration society.
During a tour of Alnwick Castle in May this year, we saw the portrait of Lady Betty. The Guide told us briefly her tragic story.
I wanted to know more and found out about the book by contacting the Castle info services which were really helpful,
The story is quite long but seems well researched. I can recommend the Castle tour and the book / Audible highly.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The performance was great!! Katie Scarfe was VERY good - but that may be because she had such and intriguing and wonderful story to read!!!
The background research is very very good! Well done Mr Pickford!
The story not only tells you of the murder of Mr Thynn (pronounced Thin) and the poor little Bette (pronounced Betty), but also give you a HUGE incite into restoration England and the aristocracy of the time.
It was gripping! The story weaved a web of deceit, betrayal and life of the time.
A most enjoyable "read"!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful