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.
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"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
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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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