This spin-off from The Queen’s Dollmaker features the early years of Madame Tussaud, the world-renowned wax maker, thorough the eyes of her apprentice. Readers are truly gifted with a wondrous portrait of the two women, their friendship and their work. Like Rosalind Laker, Trent allows readers into a crafts-women’s life to see women at work in a man’s world triumphing to find love and fame, meanwhile interjecting actual personages and historical facts into the story. It’s a great way to learn history.

Though the world is in turmoil, Marguerite Ashby, heiress to the Laurent dollmakers, is happily married with a bright future when her husband is killed by a mob. To help her through her grief her aunt sends her to Madame Tussaud to apprentice to the famous wax maker in England. Marguerite and Marie become fast friends when they travel to Edinburgh to open a new exhibit. Things are going well until Marie’s partner arrives and Marguerite discovers he is blackmailing Marie. She agrees to marry him if he will set Marie free. When Prime Minister William Putt decides he wants a lifelike statue of Admiral Nelson, Marguerite meets Darden, the admiral’s assistant. As Britain and France are poised for battle, Marguerite struggles with her own passions by falling in love with Darden. Drawn into the political swirl, hunts for spies and the war itself, Marguerite’s love and loyalty will be tested. (KENSINGTON, Jan., 452 pp., $15.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin