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Accidents of Providenceby Stacia Brown
Synopses & Reviews
"Wonderfully detailed and keenly researched, it is a moving portrait of a courageous woman caught between a disastrous affair with a charismatic revolutionary and the draconian laws of the land that would put her to death because of it."—Kathleen Kent
"Dangerous Liaisons: A seventeenth-century heroine for our times . . . [A] delightfully seditious heroine...Proof that a historical novel can be educational and entertaining, and nothing like homework."—O, The Oprah Magazine
London, 1649: King Charles has been beheaded for treason, Cromwell is in power, the Levelers are demanding rights for the people, and a new law targeting unwed mothers presumes anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder.
Glovemaker Rachel Lockyer is locked in a secret affair. But while her lover is imprisoned in the Tower, a child is found buried in the woods. Rachel is arrested. So comes an investigation, a trial, and an extraordinary cast of characters all brought to reckon for this one life. Spinning within is a remarkable love story and evidence that miracles come to even the commonest lives.
“The best kind of historical fiction--a combination of love story and murder mystery, with a sprinkling of intriguing historical snippets and wonderful writing.”—Library Journal, starred review
"[A] marvelous story written in searing prose. Don't miss it!"—Sheri Holman
"Heart-poundingly vivid [and] intellectually provocative . . . A romping good read . . . Historical fiction at its best."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Praised by the likes of Margaret George, Kathleen Kent, and Sheri Holman, who calls it a "marvelous story written in searing prose," Accidents of Providence takes us into the streets of 1649 London and the story of an unmarried woman, a glovemaker, whose passionate love affair leads to a trial for murder
The story of an unmarried tradeswoman in London during the Puritan Revolution (1649-1650) whose passionate love affair leads to a trial for murder
1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark.1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Pauls Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecarys maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her masters scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.
Rachel Lockyer is under investigation 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 political agitators, are calling for rights to the people. And a new law targeting unwed mothers and “lewd women” presumes anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder.
Rachel Lockyer, unmarried glove maker, and William Walwyn, Leveller hero, are locked in a secret affair. But while William is imprisoned in the Tower, a child is found buried in the woods and Rachel is arrested.
So comes an investigation, public trial, and a cast of extraordinary characters made up of ordinary Londoners: gouty investigator Thomas Bartwain, fiery Elizabeth Lilburne and her revolution-chasing husband, Huguenot glover Mary Du Gard, a lawyer for the prosecution hell-bent on making an example of Rachel, and others. Spinning within are Rachel and William, their remarkable love story, and the miracles that come to even the commonest lives.
Accidents of Providence is absorbing historical fiction for fans of Fingersmith and The Dress Lodger. And Rachel Lockyer, a woman wronged by her time, is a character neither history, nor we, will ever again forget.
About the Author
Stacia M. Brown holds graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University. She began writing Accidents of Providence from research conducted for her dissertation on martyrs in seventeenth century England. This is her first novel.
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