Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart by Marci Jefferson: Review & Giveaway

February 11, 2014 | Thomas Dunne Books | Hardcover; 336p
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

In her first work of historical fiction, debut novelist, Marci Jefferson, tackles Frances Stuart, whose influence over England’s Charles II and rejection of three of the seventeenth century’s most illustrious kings became the talk of a nation. Jefferson instills a fierce spirit and spine in the beautiful Frances Stuart, proving she was much more than a royal mistress. What Philippa Gregory did for the Tudors, Jefferson will do for the Stuarts, with the elegant and addictive, Girl on the Golden Coin.

In 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns Frances Stuart and her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and goes to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty—she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He sends her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and help him form an alliance with England. The Queen Mother likewise orders Frances to become her son's mistress, in the interest of luring him away from the Protestant mistress he currently keeps.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal, determined to keep her family from shame. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him and the two embark on a tenuous relationship. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. A startling discovery will leave her with no other choice but to break his heart, while the fate of England hangs in the balance.

My Review

No dear readers, do not try to adjust your screen – yes, you are really are seeing a review from me! It’s been longer than I care to admit since I’ve written my last review. But with having two babies in two years and my own growing business I’ve been a tad busy so I do hope you’ll forgive me!

What better way to end a reviewing drought than with Marci Jefferson’s spectacular debut, Girl on the Golden Coin! Set during two of the most intriguing courts in Europe’s history, that of Louis XIV of France, the “Sun King’ and Charles II of England, the “Merry Monarch”, readers are treated to a veritable tour-de-force of court machinations, where loyalties are tested (and often found wanting), and a girl’s innocence is barter for other’s political aspirations.

Frances is a strong protagonist to root for, I really felt for the awful position she was in. Tasked to seduce King Charles, convince him to leave his current mistress, Lady Castlemaine, and turn him to Catholicism. She must do so or her mother’s secret will be revealed and her family disgraced. But what she didn’t count on was falling in love with Charles, even as her conscience rails against it.

Atmospheric and historically delicious, Girl on the Golden Coin will appeal to veteran readers of historical fiction, as well as the casual reader. I am eager to see what is on the horizon next for Marci Jefferson, she is definitely an author to watch!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher in return for my honest review.

Praise for Girl on the Golden Coin

“Jefferson’s intoxicating first novel superbly draws readers into the mischief and maneuverings, loyalties and treacheries, and lust and hostility of powerful 17th century kings and scheming court sycophants…this is an exciting, solid debut.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Jefferson fictionalizes the life of a little-known—yet exceedingly familiar—historical figure in her authentically detailed debut. This small leap from the Tudors is a must-read for Alison Weir–Philippa Gregory fans.” —Booklist

“A novel as rich and golden as the coin she graced. Frances Stuart’s face was truly her fortune and left its mark on history, a rare achievement.” —Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I: A Novel

Buy the Book

Amazon US (eBook)
Amazon US (Hardcover)
Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Marci Jefferson grew up in an Air Force family and so lived numerous places, including North
Carolina, Georgia, and the Philippines. Her passion for history sparked while living in Yorktown, Virginia, where locals still share Revolutionary War tales. She lives in Indiana with her husband and children. This is her first novel.

Author Links


Follow Marci's Tour

1/29 – giveaway, Devourer of Books
1/31 – interview/giveaway, Literary, etc
2/1 – review, A Bookish Libraria
2/3 – review, The Bookish Owl
2/4 – review/giveaway, Writing the Renaissance
2/5 – interview, Writing the Renaissance
2/6 – interview, Between the Sheets/Heather Webb
2/7 – interview, Spann of Time
2/8 – review/giveaway, Passages to the Past
2/9 – review, Royal Reviews
2/10 – Picture This, SheReads
2/10 – review/giveaway, The Lit Bitch
2/11 – review, Reading the Past
2/11 – interview/on-sale announcement, Enchanted by Josephine
2/11 – Three Favorite Things, USA TODAY’S Happy Ever After
2/12 – review/giveaway, Enchanted by Josephine
2/12 – review, Muse/Erika Robuck
2/13 – review, Unabridged Chick
2/13 – interview/giveaway/excerpt, Harlequin Junkie
2/14 – interview, Unabridged Chick
2/15 – review, Historical Fiction Obsession
2/16 – review, Lesa’s Book Critiques
2/17 – review/interview, A Bookish Affair
2/18 – review, Let Them Read Books
2/19 – interview, Let Them Read Books
2/20 – review/giveaway, The Maiden’s Court
2/21 – review/giveaway, No More Grumpy Bookseller


To enter to win one copy of Girl on the Golden Coin please complete the form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on February 18th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I cannot wait to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. This sounds so good! The cover is gorgeous as well, so I would probably pick up the book no matter what :)! Thanks for the giveaway and review!

  3. This one has intrigued me since I first saw it.

  4. I can only hope to win this one! I think I've just about all the Tudor books out there (probaby not) but to read about the Stuarts is intriguing. Pick me, pick me!

  5. A novel set in 17th century French and English courts? I love that time period. Can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. It sounds like a great book - looking forward to reading it.

  7. Oh, this book looks good. I love the cover image.

  8. sounds like a definite 'add' to my Wish List!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  9. I couldn't agree more - loved, Loved, LOVED this book! Considering I hadn't heard of Frances before I am happy I found her a fascinating woman. Can't wait to see more from Marci Jefferson! My review is due up in 2 weeks.

  10. Thank you one and all! It is so exciting to see so many of you interested in GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN! I wish you ALL could win!!

  11. This has been on my wish list for several months. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. I am soooo anxious to read this, thanks for the review and the giveaway

    DeniseK1 at outlook dot com

  13. Love the title and how well it matches the cover, sounds like a great story!


  14. What an exciting novel! I am certainly looking forward to reading Frances's story.

    It was really great to see that you lived for a time in Yorktown Virginia, Marci. My husband and I are also from Yorktown and lived there and worked for NASA for years. When we retired, we moved to fabulous southwest Florida. I can understand how you can very intrigued by all of the history in the Yorktown/Williamsburg area.

    Amy, I enjoyed your review too! Wow! Two children in two years is quite a handful. It certainly takes a lot of concentration to write a review as I strive to do with each book I read.

    Congratulations on your release, Marci, and congratulations to you too, Mama Amy! :-)

  15. Frances makes for an interesting character and woman. It sounds like an amazing read that I wouldn't be able to put down. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  16. What a nice looking book. The Stuarts are certainly under-represented in historical fiction, nice to see them finally get their due. Thanks.

  17. Looking forward to reading this.

  18. I've been eagerly anticipating this ever since the HNS meeting in Florida! Thanks for the giveaway! s.asher135(at)gmail(dot)com

  19. I have been so looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it months ago. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  20. This really does sound wonderful. thanks for the giveaway.

  21. Sounds like a really interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. So excited about this book given the raves I've been reading on GR and other blogs!

  23. This looks fabulous! I can't wait to read it!

  24. I have been hearing good things about this for months...great giveaway!

  25. Thanks for the review. Frances looks like a strong heroine with an intriguing story.

  26. This looks great and set in an exciting period of history, so would love to read it.


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