Precarious Fortunes, Ian Townsend

2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5, rated)

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0Set in 1838, Precarious Fortunes brilliantly exposes life in Europe’s leading spa town of Harrogate, where many conventions of the period were being audaciously replaced by a more liberal and risqué attitude. Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts, a young heiress reputed to be the richest woman in England, is heading for Harrogate to seek respite from the unwelcome attention of dishonourable suitors and scroungers in London. At the same time, a captain in the 11th Light Dragoons is despatched to the northern spa town on a secret government mission. A chance meeting between the captain and Miss Coutts sparks the beginning of an intriguing adventure as the pair weave their way through a perilous web of deception, abduction and extortion.

Publisher:  Mandy Townsend, June 2016

Reviewer:  Jen

What a great idea it was to merge fact and fiction in this story. I really enjoyed it.

Fascinating to learn how people went to Harrogate not only for the waters but the nightlife as well. Captain Townsend was a great character who served his country well and Miss Angela Burdett – Coutts would surely be always grateful to him.

The Author Ian Townsend.    An excellent first novel from someone who obviously did a lot of research for the story. I hope he has started the next one.

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3 Responses to Precarious Fortunes, Ian Townsend

  1. Caroline B says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book 🙂 I’d been waiting for a period novel that was set in Harrogate, and finally, here it is!

    Harrogate has always had the potential to be a great backdrop for a great story and this one blends fact and fiction brilliantly. The locals and visitors alike know all the ‘nooks and crannies’ of this little town, but to imagine the characters of Ian Townsend’s book walking those streets in days gone by, truly helps us relive that fascinating era…Harrogate was soon to have a railway, it was a haven from the smog filled industrial cities, and it attracted the most prominent of visitors, not only for the waters, but for it’s nightlife and diversions…one of which I’d never heard of – Angela Coutts. She was the richest heiress in England and stayed at the Queen hotel, now the Cedar Court Hotel.

    Cue a heroic Light Dragoon Officer investigating a conspiracy threating the nation, a bit of romance, and let the action commence!

  2. I was gripped from start to finish with this superb, fast-paced historical crime fiction set primarily in Harrogate, North Yorkshire – a town I know very well. You are transported back to the early Victorian age when the spa town was famed for its healing sulphurous waters and our dashing hero, the glorious Captain Townsend coincidentally comes to the aid of the richest woman in England, Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts of the Coutts banking empire. But all is not as it seems and together the reader & the Captain follow plots and sub-plots of intrigue to finally seek out the truth in a brilliant series of twists and turns. I loved how the fiction vs reality was explained in the Historical Note at the end – amazing facts! This novel demands a sequel, please!

  3. Bob Beaumont says:

    A great book that explores the history of a period in Harrogate that is little celebrated. A vibrant period of railways soon to come, but becoming extremely popular for Victorian people who sought relief from the cities and to find holistic answers to their illnesses.
    The story builds on the facts of the regular visits of Miss Coutts, a remarkable woman, and the hero, Mr George Townsend as they fight the skullduggery of national enemies of the time.
    An excellent read.

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