MISTRESS OF MY FATE, by Hallie Rubenhold

1/series. This beautifully-detailed debut historical romance chronicles, in autobiographical form, the life of beautiful, impetuous, often not-terribly-bright (love does that) Henrietta Lightfoot, the usually ignored illegitimate daughter of a nobleman who is raised as companion (forever, is implied) to her flighty half-sister Lady Catherine. As Lady Catherine's nuptuals to the man who loves Henrietta approaches, disaster strikes. Henrietta flees and the first of many unexpected twists occur. The plot bubbles, centered on the decadent world of kept women, rakes, and the perils of being naive in 18th century England. The surprising twist at the end of this first volume saves this romance from being tedious at times. The historian/author knows this age well, and has employed several of the habits of writing then popular. A great fictional debut: it's a 4.