Saturday, May 14, 2022

Review: The Fugitive Colours

Title: The Fugitive Colours

Genevieve Planché Book 2

Author: Nancy Bilyeau

Publisher: 12th May 2022 by Lume Books

Pages: 224 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: historical fiction

My Rating: 4 cups


The highly anticipated follow-up to the sweeping historical thriller The Blue is a story of silkweavers, painters...and spies.

As Genevieve Sturbridge struggles to keep her silk design business afloat, she must face the fact that London in 1764 is very much a man’s world. Men control the arts and sciences, men control politics and law. And men definitely control women.

A Huguenot living in Spitalfields, Genevieve one day receives a surprise invitation from an important artist. Grasping at the promise of a better life, she dares to hope her luck is about to change and readies herself for an entry into the world of serious art.

She soon learns that for the portrait painters ruling over the wealthy in London society, fame and fortune are there for the taking. But such high stakes spur rivalries that darken to sabotage and blackmail—and even murder. 

Genevieve begins to suspect that her own secret past, when she was caught up in conspiracy and betrayal, has more to do with her entrée into London society than her talent. One wrong move could cost her not just her artistic dreams but the love of those she holds dear.

It’s a delicate dance, and a dangerous situation. And not just for Genevieve and her loved ones. . . because all the while there are ruthless spies who wish harm to England itself watching from the shadows.

A sequel to Nancy Bilyeau’s The Blue, The Fugitive Colours again reveals a dazzling world of glamour and treachery in Georgian England, when beauty held more value than human life. She immerses readers in a fictionalized account of real lives and events whilst staying faithful to the historical and social context.

My Thoughts

A Nancy Bilyeau book is always something to get excited about. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed so many of her books - from Tudor England to Dreamland on Coney Island. I recently read The Blue, a historical thriller involving spies, art and the race to create a new shade of blue. The Fugitive Colours is its sequel and is another great read by Nancy. This time the focus remains in eighteenth century London still involving art, spies and the central character Genevieve. 

“What is it that you want, Mrs. Sturbridge?” Jean’s question from this morning torments me. In the most private part of my soul, I want what I’ve always wanted. I thought I’d stamped out this ambition, but … here, on this cold and dreary Spitalfields street, I must face the truth that my dream of success as a true artist still lives.’

I found The Blue so very interesting and I enjoyed learning about the world of painting fine porcelain and how important the color blue came to be. The Fugitive Colours centres around Covent Garden, the world of art looking for new colours and the cutthroat world of harlots with the backstabbing ton. 

“… my aim is to try to paint moments of everyday life in London. By doing that, I want to show the truth of their existence in difficult times.”

Whilst this book started out a bit slow, the pace increased and Nancy brought the story together well. Although touted as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading The Blue first. With a focus this time around on the silk industry and the world of art in London during the late 1700s both place and people are brought very much to life. If you have not read a Nancy Bilyeau book I highly recommend you choose one from her wide range of time periods. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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