Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Intelligent, masterful, suspenseful — one of the best books I've read in years. An impressive debut novel from a hugely talented new writer, Accidents of Providence was a rare treat." Margaret George, author of Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles
"With this marvelous story written in searing prose, Stacia Brown brings us a deeply human, super-smart, uncommonly well-researched historical novel. Accidents of Providence tackles hypocrisy, both sexual and political, and invites us into the revolutionary taverns and chaotic courtrooms of civil war–torn London, introducing us to the faithful and adulterous, the idealists and opportunists, of an era not so unlike our own. Don't miss it!" Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger
"Accidents of Providence richly illuminates an important but little known period of history. 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, author of The Heretic's Daughter
"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
“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
"Heart-poundingly vivid [and] intellectually provocative....A romping good read....Historical fiction at its best." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
The story of an unmarried tradeswoman in London during the Puritan Revolution (1649-1650) whose passionate love affair leads to a trial for murder.
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.