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About The Book

An incomparable beauty. A promise to a king. A portrait that can never be completed.

When Emilia Lennox loses everything after her husband’s lands and title are confiscated, her beauty is her best bargaining chip with the only man who can restore their fortunes: King Charles II himself.

But the king’s favour comes at a price. He will pardon Emilia’s husband only if she agrees to be his mistress. Torn, Emilia comes up with a condition of her own: she will consent, but not until her portrait hangs among the famed Windsor Beauties, a series commissioned by the Duchess of York to showcase the fairest women in the royal retinue.

For Henry Greenhill, ambitious assistant to the court painter, the opportunity to paint Emilia’s portrait is a chance to step out of his master’s shadow. But his sitter proves as evasive as she is beautiful, and with barely a sketch to show for his efforts, Henry’s career is on the line.

As the king’s patience wears thin, it’s clear that more than creative talent will be needed to capture this incomparable beauty on canvas ...

From the bestselling author of The Lace Weavercomes this seductive story of rivalry, artistic passion and a woman bold enough to wield her beauty as a weapon.

About The Author

Photograph © Ben Williams

Lauren Chater is the author of the historical novels The Lace Weaver, Gulliver's Wife, The Winter Dress and The Beauties. In 2018 she was awarded a grant by the Neilma Sidney Literary Fund, and The Winter Dress was longlisted for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize. IG: @lauren_chater_author and visit

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (April 3, 2024)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781760850241

Raves and Reviews

‘A sumptuous and stirring tale of power and privilege, art and aesthetics in the court of King Charles II, The Beauties captivates from the first page to the final. Lauren Chater writes clever and compassionate historical fiction.’

Eleanor Limprecht, author of The Passengers

‘Delicious and sexy … Chater’s writing is full of rich details … Her love of the history and knowledge of the painting styles of the Dutch masters shines through in her meticulous research that hits the page with just the right brushstroke.’

The Australian

‘In The Beauties Lauren Chater has inhaled the spirit of the age and breathed it onto every shimmering page. A beautifully evocative must read.’

Nicole Alexander, bestselling author of The Bark Cutters

‘Power. Ambition. Passion ... Lauren Chater’s The Beauties explores the many facets of beauty – and those who covet it, curse it, and long to create it – while capturing the grit and vibrancy of seventeenth-century London in rich and sweeping brushstrokes. Delicious and addictive!’

Kell Woods, author of After the Forest

The Beauties is intelligent, beguiling and absorbing ... Chater’s writing is a feast, rich and detailed, drawing us into the world of theatre, art and court in sixteenth-century London and Delft, where women strive against social limitations to create and develop their talents, and to find love and security.’

Robyn Cadwallader, award-winning author of The Fire and the Rose

The Beauties is simultaneously a beautifully structured portrait of the intrigue and treachery of life in the court of Charles II and a deeply empathetic study of the sacrifices the women at its centre must make to survive.’

James Bradley OAM, author of The Resurrectionist

‘The success of this novel is in the beautiful language. It is lush and evoked a sense of time and place … Highly recommended.’

Good Reading

'The Beauties is an enjoyable romantic history in more ways than one. Romance, love, sexual liaisons and dilemmas abound, but these are all part of the richness, romance and rivalries of courtly life. Lauren Chater sets her scenes and paints her characters and their various lives, thoughts, emotions and problems with the discerning eye and skill of an artist inspired by the painter of the Windsor Beauties.'

The Newtown Review of Books

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