Holly West is a crime fiction writer based in Los Angeles. She’s the author of the Mistress of Fortune series, set in late 17th London and featuring amateur sleuth Isabel Wilde, a mistress to King Charles II who secretly makes her living as a fortuneteller.
The first in the series, Mistress of Fortune, was published by Harlequin’s Carina Press in February 2014 and its sequel, Mistress of Lies, is forthcoming in Fall 2014.
Find her online at hollywest.com.
Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London's elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king's offer to move into the palace.
Isabel's plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother's death, twelve years after it happened.
Isabel's investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother's dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried, especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.
Casting Mistress of Lies
By Holly West
I don’t know any author who doesn’t give some thought to who would play their lead characters in a movie. I know I do. I even have a Pinterest board devoted to the subject.
When I write my heroine, Isabel Wilde, I don’t have a firm picture of her in my mind, but I’ve always thought that she might look a lot like Kate Winslet. It’s the red hair she sometimes sports and her distinctive beauty. Isabel attracted the attention of a king and whoever plays her needs to be unique. I think Kate Winslet fits that bill.
Many actors have portrayed King Charles II on film. From George Sanders in Forever Amber to Rupert Everett in Stage Beauty, I’ve never seen a performance that has truly captured him. Even Rufus Sewell in The Last King didn’t do it for me, and I find him fetching indeed. But there’s one actor who I think is perfect for the role: Federico Castelluccio. You might remember Federico from his role as Furio Giunta on The Sopranos, but to me, he makes the ideal Charles II.
For Charlotte, Isabel’s waiting woman, I was looking for someone fresh-faced and pretty and came up with Anna Kendrick. I’m not 100% impressed with her acting ability, but I can visualize her in the part, nonetheless.
You probably know him as Jon Snow on The Game of Thrones, but to me, Kit Harrington personifies Isabel’s faithful friend and protector, Sam Turner. He brings the right blend of good looks, athleticism and seriousness to bring Sam to life.
Susanna Barber is a key character in Mistress of Lies. She’s young—just 12—but she’s precocious, smart, and adventurous. After all, she braved the arduous ship journey from America to London, which in the 17th century was no pleasure cruise, even for the wealthy. I’ve chosen Elle Fanning to play her because I think she has the depth to make Susanna come alive on screen.
Have you read the Mistress of Fortune series? Did I get the casting right? Who would you choose to play these parts?
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