Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 ushered in a new era for women and their place at all levels of British society. Our three heroines, Diana Sommerville, the Honorable Fenella Grantley, and Petra Rutherford, privileged young women in their early twenties, emerge from the constraints of the previous era already benefitting from the many small political reforms that had been made by Parliament during Victoria’s reign.
The question of women’s suffrage was the dominant political issue of the time. Despite the fact that many aristocratic gentlemen relied on their wives to stand at their sides while they canvassed for parliamentary votes, to support and fight for their candidacies, to court the people of influence to advance a political position and to remain the smiling hostess at endless political dinners, the idea of their helpmeet actually voting herself remained unthinkable.
Diana, Fenella and Petra’s close friendship grew from the tedious years they spent at an academy for young ladies in Hampstead. The curriculum was designed to turn the daughters of the gentry into debutantes with one ambition, to find a suitable husband during their first Season after their presentation at court. But the three young women share a streak of rebellion that their friendship fosters. They are sufficiently unconventional to draw a degree of disapproval from society’s matrons, but they’re also skilled at skating on thin ice and manage, with each other’s help, to avoid causing any out and out scandals.
The men who come into their lives are as unconventional as the women who attract them and as is so often the case, opposites attract even as they oppose. Complicated backgrounds, fiery temperaments and the ultimate ability to empathise, to forgive, and most of all to laugh at themselves keeps these relationships teetering on an edge.
The three Jewels of London are creative, theatrical, passionate. They don’t always follow their better angels, but they’re also capable of humility and self-knowledge. I loved watching them start down one path, then decide to take another without much input from me. I find it one of the most satisfying aspects of writing, when the book, as it always does eventually, starts to write itself, or rather the characters as they grow start directing the action.
Strange and dramatic things happen sometimes…a baby gets born…someone dies…and the whole story as I imagined it goes off at a tangent. I’ve learned it’s best to follow where it leads. Whenever I’ve tried to pull it back onto my track, it rings false. Such are the joys of writing fiction.
The three heroines of this trilogy are all poised on the brink of one of the most devastating periods in history, but also one of the most exciting for women as they seize the opportunities to break free from the social and political constaints of the past. Sex is no longer a shameful secret, no more piano legs covered in lacy pantaloons, and women are at last able to acknowledge their sexuality openly, within certain societal bounds, of course. Brothels still exist and there are still prostitutes on street corners, but women are no longer expected to pretend they don’t see them.
Diana, Fenella and Petra strike out for themselves in this changing society. They’re all blessed with ample resources and social status to pursue their own ambitions, but they are still aware of the residual social chains that remain. They’re not ready to break the chains completely, that needed a World War to achieve, but they are in the vanguard of the massive social upheavals of the 20th century, giving their stories, for me at least, a dynamic sense of anticipation. I hope readers feel it too.
Three friends who met at an elite English boarding school take on the town—and the ton—one by one, in this sparkling new series about love, loss, and lustrous gemstones, from New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather . . .
A Fine Romance . . .
Diana Sommerville seems to have it all—beauty, brains, and vast wealth, thanks to her family’s ownership of a diamond mine abroad. But when her beloved brother dies in battle and leaves a lion’s share of his estate to his best friend, Diana finds herself in a situation that seems scripted for the stage: Sharing her family home with the man she used to love—and now loathes. Worse, her unfaithful former fiancé has already moved in . . .
Or An Excellent Fake?
Rupert Lacey didn’t expect Diana to take the news without a fight. Still, he didn’t expect her to bring the battle directly to their newly shared doorstep—complete with a full set of trunks, and a full set of orders to the staff. Yet there she is, bold, regal . . . magnificent as ever. Now they would face a formidable challenge: to ignore each other—and the unanswered questions that stood between them. The only sure thing is their still blazing desire. But with a woman like Diana, it will take nothing less than a momentous misunderstanding, a missing prized mare, and a shocking revelation to restore a love that hasn’t lost its shine . . .
Praise For Jane Feather’s Novels
“Historical romance doesn’t get much better than this.” —All About Romance “First-class . . . wonderfully entertaining.” –Kirkus Reviews
Praise For Jane Feather’s Novels
“Great fun” –Publishers Weekly
“A charming, fast read.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Delicious . . . Comes much closer to the Austen spirit than any of the pseudo-sequels.” —Detroit Free Press
“An author to treasure.” —RT Book Reviews