The Belles of Waterloo by Alice Church | Book Review

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The Belles of Waterloo by Alice Church: Book Review brought to you by The Girl Who Reads and Random Things Tours

With a cover this pretty how could I not sign up to be part of the book tour for this debut novel by Alice Church!

The Belles of Waterloo came out on the 1st of April and was published by Unicorn Publishing. It’s a work of historical fiction, but based on the lives of 3 very real women.

The Belles of Waterloo

Book Review for The Belles of Waterloo

The Capels run away from London to settle down in Brussels. While they’re some of the first to arrive there, they have to try to cover up that the man of the house has basically run up around 20k in debt. A pretty big amount of money in this day and age, so you can imagine back then when Napoleon was still fighting what that amount meant. With no money and 7 children, they try to settle down in a new city and get the eldest three married off. Harriet, Marie, and Georgy are absolutely charming young women, but without any money, they might just never get married.

If your geography is as weak as mine, I’d just like to put it out there that Waterloo is about a half an hour car ride from Brussels, hence the name, The Belles of Waterloo and not The Belles of Brussels, which admittedly also has a nice ring to it.

While the book was very sweet, it’s primarily focused on Maria, who’s trying to deal with her own proposals and feelings. Harriet, who used to be the more reasonable of the siblings, has her heart broken, which results in a duel between her father and the Baron. You have Georgy, who’s crazy about the prince, even though everyone can tell nothing will come of it.

I thought it was very interesting how the rules seem slightly relaxed in Brussels. No one is being as formal as they should be, even though women like Lady Caroline are scandalized and trying to make sure their daughters behave a certain way. It’s also really interesting to watch how John Capel is able to run up so much debt each time, with absolutely no one to stop him. You also have some sympathy for him, because he is an addict, and literally the only place he can go for company as a gentleman gives him access to this again.

I also did like how the girls slowly grow up over the course of the year and slowly become a bit more practical. We don’t get a happy ever after, after all, this book is based on real people, but we do get to see one chapter end for the girls together.

Of course, this is just my take on this fantastically sweet debut by Alice Church! You can check out all the other posts on this tour if you’d like to hear more of us sing its praises!

A bit about Alice Church

Alice Church has specialized in Wellington-era history since studying for her BA at University College London. After graduating in 2012 she worked as a researcher on the Wellington portrait catalog ‘Wellington Portrayed’ (Unicorn, 2014). She has also published a biography of Lady Georgiana Lennox, daughter of the 4th Duke of Richmond (Universe, 2016). She lives in Dorset with her husband Charles and son Freddie. This is her first novel.

Purchase The Belles of Waterloo and more


A romance inspired by real events…

Maria, Georgy and Harriet navigate their first throes of passion, scandal, and love in the heady pre-war atmosphere of Brussels in 1815.

Little do they know they will soon be waltzing their way to the battle of the century at a small village called Waterloo.

As the fight for Europe rages outside the city walls, Maria seeks to find herself – will she also find a husband along the way?

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