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The Dress Lodger (Ballantine Reader's Circle)by Sheri Holman
Synopses & Reviews
A new voice in historical fiction rescues a woman wronged by her time and forgotten by history, whose love affair leads to her trial for murder.
It is 1649. King Charles has been beheaded for treason. Amid civil war, Cromwell’s army is running the country. The Levellers, a small faction of agitators, are calling for rights to the people. And a new law targeting unwed mothers andlewd womenpresumes anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder.
Rachel Lockyer, unmarried glove maker, and Leveller William Walwyn are locked in a secret affair. But when a child is found buried in the woods, Rachel is arrested.
So comes an investigation, public trial, and unforgettable characters: gouty investigator Thomas Bartwain, fiery Elizabeth Lillburne and her revolution-chasing husband, Huguenot glover Mary Du Gard, and others. Spinning within are Rachel and William, their remarkable love story, and the miracles that come to even the commonest lives.
For fans ofFingersmithandThe Dress Lodger,Accidents of Providenceis absorbing historical fiction and Rachel Lockyer is a character history will never again forget.
"Compulsively fascinating, the novel draws the reader through the alleys and quays of Sunderland with all the practiced charm of its title character." Marion Lignana Rosenberg, Salon
"An engrossing novel that's part medical thriller, part Greek tragedy and wholly rewarding." Amy Waldman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In Sunderland, England, a city quarantined by the cholera epidemic of 1831, a defiant, fifteen-teen-year old beauty in an elegant blue dress makes her way between shadow and lamp light. A potter's assistant by day and dress lodger by night, Gustine sells herself for necessity in a rented gown, scrimping to feed and protect her only love: her fragile baby boy. She holds a glimmer of hope after meeting Dr. Henry Chiver, a prisoner of his own dark past. But in a world where suspicion of medicine runs rampant like a fever, these two lost souls will become irrevocably linked, as each crosses lines between rich and destitute, decorum and abandon, damnation and salvation. By turns tender and horrifying, The Dress Lodger is a captivating historical thriller charged with a distinctly modern voice. . . .
About the Author
Stacia M. Brown holds graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University. She began writingAccidents of Providencefrom research conducted for her dissertation on martyrs in seventeenth century England. This is her first novel.
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