This is a book I finished a couple of days ago but one which is not going to be easy to review.
From the very onset of the story you know that Amber is trouble. She is the very young girl who will take the first step to approach an absolute stranger - a gentleman of the Court who has stopped at her village to shoe a horse and flirt with him lightly, follow it up with a planned meeting of him and then seduce this man to take her with him to London. Bruce Carlton does this knowing full well that it is trouble he is asking but he does not seem to be able to help himself and Bruce and Amber's love affair persists through the story - through three marriages of Ambers and one of his and despite him wanting to end it with Amber. Amber's influence and sway over him seems so strong that he just cannot get out of her clutches!
With Amber's arrival in London the story then goes on to the ups and downs for a country bumpkin who aspires to the highest position in the land. Amber is no shrinking violet and neither does she think it not within her reach to try to attract even the Stuart king Charles to her bed. Beginning as an actress and working as a partner for a thief she is very successful at her chosen career and this makes her confident that she will be successful in whatever she does.
Amber is a woman with only one thought in her head. Herself. It is always about herself and her position and hang everyone else. Going through three marriages, each one adding to her wealth and for her convenience only, she has scant respect for any of her husbands and uses them only to reach another position on the ladder upwards.
For sheer determination and grit Amber is unsurpassed but at the same time a rather unlikeable girl! Her determination to hold on to and marry the one man she cannot get runs through the entire story and you are sad that she cannot see it for herself - that the one man whom she passionately loves is never ever going to marry her.
Set in Stuart England the story is full of court detail and the history of the period though mainly it deals with the actual court of King Charles and his courtiers. History is just part of the novel due to its setting and it is more to do with the morals, enjoyment and description of court life than anything else.
Despite my not liking Amber, I did like the novel!