Author(s): Barbara Ewing
The Victorian gossipmongers called them The Petticoat Men. But to young widow Mattie Stacey, they are Freddie and Ernest, her gentlemen lodgers. It is Mattie who admires their sparkling gowns, makes their extravagant hats and laughs at their stories of attending society balls dressed up as the glamorous 'Fanny' and 'Stella'. But one fateful night Fanny and Stella are arrested, and Mattie and her family are dragged into a shocking court trial, described in newspapers all over England as 'The Scandal of the Century'. Outraged, Mattie is determined to save her family from ruin, and her friends from shame and penury. She embarks on a brave journey to expose the establishment's hypocrisy - including the involvement of Mr Gladstone the Prime Minister, and the Prince of Wales. For Fanny and Stella are dangerous ladies, and these are dangerous times...
'This is a generous and spirited reconstruction of a 19th-century cause celebre' The Sunday Times. 'Ewing's strange and fascinating novel zooms in on one of the greatest scandals of the Victorian age and manages to shed new light on it ... Terrific' The Times. 'A well-told account of a scandal' Independent. 'Ewing's enormously readable novel reconstructs this 19th-century cause celebre in vivid detail ... This is a rich, warm-hearted novel which champions ordinary human decency against the corruption of the powerful ... a moving and compelling narrative' BBC History.
Barbara Ewing is a New Zealand-born actress and author who lives in London. She is the author of six historical novels, one of which, A Dangerous Vine, was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Visit www.barbaraewing.com