Accidents of Providence: Book summary and reviews of Accidents of Providence by Stacia Brown

Accidents of Providence

by Stacia Brown

Accidents of Providence by Stacia Brown X
Accidents of Providence by Stacia Brown
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Book Summary

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 for 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 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 Lilburne 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.

Fans of Fingersmith and The Dress Lodger will love Accidents of Providence, absorbing historical fiction featuring Rachel Lockyer, a character wronged by her time and the kind of woman forgotten by history, whose love affair leads to her trial for murder.

Excerpt

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A romping good read that is character-driven yet intellectually provocative on issues of law, religion, and morality - historical fiction at its best." - Kirkus Reviews

"Good for historical fiction fans..." - Library Journal

"This mystery and the desire to understand what happened kept me reading... although the prose was a struggle and difficult to follow." - Historical Novel Review

"... [A] thought-provoking and romantic debut novel." - Shelf Awareness

"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 bestselling novels The Memoirs of Cleopatra, Mary, Called Magdalene, and 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 and Sondok

"Stacia Brown's debut novel, Accidents of Providence, richly illuminates an important but little known period of history: that of the English Leveller society. 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 and The Traitor's Wife

This information about Accidents of Providence was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Sarah N. (Corte Madera, CA)

Captivating from the first page...
"So Mary pulled on her boots, pinned up her hair, changed her sleeping robe for a jersey skirt, and became what she'd never wanted to be: someone who got involved" (p. ix) Sometimes we all just want to be on the sidelines not getting involved. Rachel's problem all along was the right people not being involved. Rachel Lockyer, the main character, was someone I cared about and someone I hoped would have the right person stand up for her. Her love story is beautiful and sad at the some time. Although Rachel Lockyer is not a real person, my gut tells me her story is probably close to someone's real story.

Marsha S. (Nags Head, NC)

Accidents of Providence
I found Accidents of Providence very compelling because of the topic and the way it is written. The author's style of writing puts you right into the place with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of the period. The topic was extremely interesting to me because it is based on the historical facts of infanticide and the Levelers movement in 17th century England, both of which I was unaware until reading this book. The intense affair between Rachel and William Walwyn brings the characters to life in a very human way.

This would be a good book for a group discussion, and the topic should be carefully considered by those in our society today who are seeking to curtail women's rights.

Shirin M. (Beverly Hills, CA)

Accidents of Providence
A page turner that transports you back to England in the seventeenth century. Set amidst Puritanical rule, the author creates a very real place filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the time. A fast paced plot and vividly drawn characters make this an engrossing read. Historical fiction fans will certainly love this book. It would also appeal to those interested in individualism and the evolving role of women in a society where the rules are stacked against them. A great choice for book clubs; much to discuss and even more to ponder over.

Lorraine R. (southampton, NY)

Acts of Providence
An intelligently written, carefully researched first novel, ACTS OF PROVIDENCE was both interesting and thought provoking to read. Stacia Brown brought the 1700's in London to life with her detailed description of how common people lived. She exposed the inequalities of the courts of law, in particular the complete denial of rights of women. She showed how vulnerable women were to their circumstances. both personal and public. This was an extremely well-written historical novel that blended political, religious and social beliefs of a revolutionary period of Britain's history.

Jane C. (Brighton, MI)

Accident of Providence
The year, 1649, the place, England. The rules of life in that century were very difficult for unwed mothers. This story tells of the life of one mother who gives birth and is charged with murder. Very well written, seemed like real life rather than fiction. Very difficult life in these early times.

Diane S. (Batavia, IL)

Accidents of Providence by Stacia Brown
It is the middle of the 1600's, and in Cromwell's Puritan England a law has been passed to prevent the Destroying and murdering of the children of unmarried woman. I have long been fascinated with the Puritans, their strange relationship with God, where everything pleasurable is a considered a sin, and woman on the fringes are looked on with suspicion. The character of Rachel, is one that will stay with me for a long time, she is so multifaceted and yet so human. It is not until the very end that we find out what happened to her child, among many twists and turns, an investigation and a trial. This book is very well researched, the writing very emotional and the politics of the day, the movement of the Levelers, adding much to the story line. Rachel's plight will touch the other characters in the book, changing many, in good and bad ways. As the investigator Bartwain comments while observing Rachel's trial, "We have decapitated our king and disbanded our House of Lords, and now there is no one left to restore reason and line and order." Life was extremely hard for all, but woman were so harshly judged and often had no recourse.

...21 more reader reviews

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More Information

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. Visit her at http://staciabrown.com.

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