I have never read a book by Lady Katherine Clements before, and have not read many pieces of fiction that are set during the civil war, so I was really intrigued when I picked up this book.
From the first page, I knew I would soon be hooked as Katherine plunges the reader straight into the action!
The year is 1648 and we meet a young and frightened Lady Katherine Ferrers travelling along a treacherous road, away from her beloved home. By page 2, the coach they’re travelling in is stopped by a pair of highwaymen and the young passengers inside are suddenly placed in grave danger. What happens next (and I won’t give away any spoilers) cleverly sets the tone for the rest of the book, and what could be brushed aside as a moment to forget in Katherine’s life instead travels with her into adulthood and buries itself deep into her psyche.
Chapter by chapter we see the decay of the royalist system in Britain that happened during those years, and I thought Katherine did a wonderfully convincing job of capturing that entitled voice of the aristocracy.
The main protagonist Kate is a gutsy, dynamic heroine and I found myself liking her more and more as the story went on. Once Rafe enters the scene the story takes on a whole new dynamic which I must say is what really had me desperate to read on (I’m a bit of a sucker for a forbidden love story!) Their affair is wild and exciting and it ends in an equally dramatic style as the way it began, which is just what any fan of Clements flows easily from one year to the next and she successfully portrays the passing of time without ever making the reader feel confused or lost, and her historical knowledge of the English Civil War, of Cromwell and the role of parliament and of the workings of the elite Royalist families of the period is second to none.
This is an engaging read that successfully transports you back to an England in turmoil.
by Jeska Lyons of the H for History team