Book review: Rachel Brimble, Trouble for the Leading Lady

Trouble For The Leading Lady

Bath, 1852.

As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath’s Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.

His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.

Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he’d find her standing on a table in one of Bath’s bawdiest pubs.

Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?

The second in Rachel Brimble’s thrilling new Victorian saga series, Trouble for the Leading Lady will whisk you away to the riotous, thriving underbelly of Victorian Bath.

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I absolutely adored the first in this series, A Widow’s Vow, following Louisa and the setting up of the brothel on Carson Street, Bath, and couldn’t wait to hear Nancy’s story. This certainly lived up to expectations. Nancy came across as such a confident woman, so finding out about her damaged past with the world that she adored, the theatre, gave a real insight into her character. As a result, she’s closed off to that world, and to trusting, so when Francis arrives on the scene so unexpectedly, it’s no surprise she refuses to fall straight into his plans.

The story is full of light and shade, with both characters having suffered unhappy times in their youth, and now coming to deal with that, and I found these aspects were thoroughly fleshed-out, making us truly care about them. Having read the first in the series before this, I was aware of how they came to be in Carson Street, and although I would definitely recommend reading A Widow’s Vow first, it isn’t necessary; this can certainly hold its own as a standalone novel.

As with the last novel, the world of Victorian Bath, with all its levels of society, and how these interact across the board, are brilliantly brought to life in great detail, this time focused on the theatre, which I really enjoyed. I can’t wait to read Octavia’s story now! Highly recommended.

About Rachel

Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 20 published novels including the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).

In 2019 she signed a new three book contract with Aria Fiction for a Victorian trilogy set in a Bath brothel. The first book, A Widow’s Vow was released in September 2020 followed by book 2 Trouble For The Leading Lady in March 2021 – it is expected that the final instalment will be released in the Autumn 2021.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.

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