books that make you go hmmm...

by Sarah Bakewell

Release Date:  April 30, 2010

SYNOPSIS: The Smart is a true drama of eighteenth-century life with a mercurial, charismatic heroine. Margaret Caroline Rudd was a young Irishwoman who ran off to marry a soldier, came to London, and slid into a glamorous life as a high-class prostitute. She was a risk-taker, and a seductress possessing mesmerizing appeal.

In the early 1770s, she became involved with the Perreau twins, identical in looks but opposite in character.  One was a sober pharmacist, the other a raffish gambler and dandy – a “macaroni”, in the slang of the time.  The trio began forging promissory bonds or credit notes, living in luxury on the proceeds until the bubble burst and they were caught.  And forgery was a capital offence.

The Smart uses this incident to explore the world of eighteenth-century London. The  story of Margaret Caroline Rudd and the Perreau brothers is both a story profoundly of its period, and a wild ride through the universal themes of sex, money, death and fame.  It bridges the gap between aristocracy and underworld, as all levels of society became drawn into one of the greatest scandals of the age.

Sarah Bakewell website.




  1. Looks interesting :) Can't wait to read this one!

  2. Well... that one actually sounds kind of good. But then I'm a sucker for 18th-century English courtesan stories. :D

  3. Sounds like I might like it. I like to read books with a strong sense of time and place.

  4. That's a good hmmmm book! Hmmm, it might be good, would like to read a review. Thanks!

  5. This book has been in my shopping card for months at It looks totally fascinating.


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