The female protagonist of In The Eye of The Beholder is a French equestrienne named Claire Delacroix. She’s seen her inheritance squandered away by a cousin, to whom I shall introduce you later in this series, and is working at the Opera Garnier.
During the time the book takes place, people didn’t go to the opera to see the show. In fact, the houselights weren’t even dimmed — because people went to look at one another, play cards, and gossip. So, composers would put spectacles in the middle of their works, including such novelties as roller skaters or, yes, equestrian demonstrations.
That’s what Claire does; she’s the girl on horseback. She’s not entirely unhappy, although it’s a big change from her previous life. She’s no blushing virgin, but working in the opera is not exactly respectable at this time (1890s France), either.
And then there’s the matter of her mysterious benefactor, whom you will also meet later in this series.
Claire was also featured in one of my Shopping with Character posts, if you’d like to check that out.