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A Factory of Cunning by Philippa Stockley
A Factory of Cunning is set in England in 1784 when a woman going by the name of Mrs. Fox arrives in London. She's forged a new identity in an attempt to escape a checkered past and price on her head in France. Determined to insert herself into London society circles, she offers sexual favors of different young women for her own advancement and financial gains. She matches wits with Earl Much who has a past as notorious as hers. It's a battle that may undo them both while using whatever maneuvers, lies, and bluffs they can use to their advantage. Philippa Stockley's re-creation of Georgian London with its reprobate aristocrats, whorehouses, and intrigue is told through letters and papers of many different characters in the novel. A Factory of Cunning has received positive reviews with The Observer saying, "Stockley spins a romantic yarn of travel, murder, intrigue and adventure while resolutely rejecting the sentiment of romance. This is a cracking tale of depravity, our avaricious heroine fiercely committed to life and survival - too awful to like but too fascinating to hate."