Mistress of my fate tells the story of Henrietta Lightfoot in 1789 who states on the cover – ” 22nd October 1789 – I shall never forget that day. I shall never forget the decision I made.”
Oooh I thought, tell me more….and so I started to read……and this novel I found very interesting indeed.
Henrietta Lightfoot is a innocent young girl who just wants to be accepted by her aunt and uncle and to be best friends with her cousin. Mistress of My Fate tells the story of her never-ending struggle to try and find her place in life. However, life is never a smooth path, least of all in the late 1700s and soon Henrietta finds herself drawn down a path she had no intention of following.
Henrietta herself opens the book with the phrase ‘My dear reader, how pleased I am that you have purchased this volume”…..”Now you may know the truth”.
The book carries on in this intimate and completely compelling first person style and I felt as if I was sitting next to Henrietta throughout her adventure and ordeals. Her wit and character reveal themselves more effectively using this style and it is a pleasure to read. We, the readers, go on the story with her – from the eloquent drawing rooms of the social elite, to the debauched world of the demi-mondaine in nineteenth century London.
And the start to Henrietta’s ordeals and troubled life? – She falls in love with the wrong man and even when she tells him she feels the same but that they cannot be together for he is intended for her cousin, he pursues her. And this is where her troubles begin as she has to make some difficult decisions in a world which is both hostile to single women and too quick to take advantage of someone so young and inexperienced with the ways of a changing society.
I really enjoyed this book with its intimate setting and style and found many interesting parallels to how life can be nowadays. One wrong turn in life can lead to another and situations can escalate horribly quickly out of our control. However, it also carries the message that perseverance and determination against all odds is perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the human spirit.