Miss Sarah Tolerance ran away with her brother’s fencing master when she was sixteen. Now he’s dead and she’s back in England, and a Fallen Woman. But she refuses to follow the Fallen Women who have gone before her and become a courtesan. Sarah is a straight shooter, with her pistol as well as her wit, and her mind is as sharp as the blade of her sword. She’s clever and discreet—she has reinvented herself as a private investigator.
Miss Tolerance is an Agent of Inquiry, the sole one of her kind in London in this year of 1810, with mad King George III on the throne and Queen Charlotte acting as Regent. Sarah’s position in society allows her to float between social layers, unearth secrets, find things that were lost, and lose things too dangerous to be kept.
An agent of the Earl of Versellion has asked her to find a fan that the Earl’s father gifted to a lady with brown eyes. When Sarah discovers the secret of the fan, both she and the Earl are targeted by ruthless killers. They realize the fan has a second secret, one that will affect the fate of England itself, and they must decipher it.
Sarah’s life is getting more and more complicated-and she’s growing closer and closer to the Earl. To save England and herself, she must decide whether to be guided by her heart… or her conscience.
Early Christmas gift from a friend.
Paris. 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventy francs a month, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work—and the love of a dangerous
young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Antoinette, meanwhile, descends
lower and lower in society, and must make the choice between a life of honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde—that is, unless her love affair derails her completely.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.”
From Penguin via Edelweiss. Release date: January 10th.