The Duchess’s Tattoo…
About the Book:
Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England.
In “The Duchess’s Tattoo”, Cora Cash is desperate to be a fashionable lady of society. Despite her title and her wealth, she finds that English society is not that welcoming to “The American Duchess.” When Cora spies a distinctive snake tattoo on her mother-in-law’s wrist, she decides that she must have one as well.
It is up to the talented tattoo artist to save “The American Duchess” from herself.
I first came to the writing of Daisy Goodwin through the television series Victoria (HUGE fan), which then led me to the novel based upon the series – yes, I do have that around the right way, the novel was written based on the television series, both written by the same author. So this one, The Duchess’s Tattoo, is a short story, but I thought it was a novella when I downloaded it because it said it had 55 pages. Turns out the story goes for about 17 pages and the rest of the book is made up of a letter from the author outlining the inspiration for the novel upon which this story is based, as well as a chapter excerpt of said novel. Misleading? Yes, but honestly, who cares, it was free, and the story was interesting, the background inspiration from the author even more so.
Basically, there’s this tattoo artist, who’s highly sought after and super talented. An American duchess comes in to request a tattoo that her mother-in-law has so she can be deemed fashionable enough to enter the cool club. However, her mother-in-law is taking the mickey, and it’s not a club a newly married duchess wants to be a part of. The tattoo artist knows this – he inked the three women in this exclusive club so knows exactly what sort of club it is – and refuses to do the tattoo. Months later, the duchess returns to let the tattoo artist know that she is now aware what sort of club it is and to thank him for saving her reputation. Short and sweet. While I wasn’t even remotely interested in the duchess and her life, the tattoo artist I found quite interesting, given this was set at the beginning of the twentieth century. I wanted to know more about his artistry, his business, his clients. As well as mentioning that he was tattooing The Last Supper onto someone’s back, it talked about him inventing ink colours. That would be a fascinating novel, but alas, the novel is about the duchess, so I won’t be proceeding further on from here. But anyway, I read this for a reading challenge, so it’s served its purpose nicely!
About the Author:
DAISY GOODWIN, a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies, including 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. That was the year she published her first novel the American Heiress ( My Last Duchess in UK), followed by The Fortune Hunter and Victoria. She has also created VICTORIA the PBS/ITV series. She has three dogs, two dogs, and one husband.
The Duchess’s Tattoo (Short Story/Novella)
Published April 26th 2011 by St. Martin’s Press