Power, passion and a devastating fight for the crown – discover the gripping story of Oliver Cromwell’s youngest daughter. Perfect for fans of Anne O’Brien, Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory
1657. The youngest daughter of Oliver Cromwell, eighteen-year-old Frances is finding her place at England’s new centre of power.
Following the turmoil of Civil War, a fragile sense of stability has returned to the country. Her father has risen to the unprecedented position of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and Frances has found herself transported from her humble childhood home to the sumptuous palaces of Hampton Court and Whitehall, where she dreams of romance.
But after an assassination attempt on the Cromwell family, Frances realises the precarious danger of her position – and when her father is officially offered the crown, Frances’ fate becomes a matter of diplomatic and dynastic importance.
Trapped in the web of court intrigue, Frances must make a choice. Allow herself to be a political pawn, or use her new status to take control – of her own future, and of her country’s…
I love investigating the real history and characters found in the books I’m reading and Miranda Malins does an amazing job of transporting you back in time and reliving this turbulent and fascinating part of history, which is jam-packed full of double-crossing, back-stabbing, subterfuge and unsteady allegiances – I could not put to down and it has left me with a real book hangover as it was so immersive and exciting a tale.
The Puritan Princess truly gives us a fascinating insight into Frances’ experiences and allows us to travel back in time with her and witness these events unfolding as her Father’s position alters and she moves from her humble beginnings to living at the centre of English power and magnificence – as well as getting the wider impact of these changes at a very intriguing time in history from the perspective of some unforgettable characters that reminded me of my favourite Du Maurier novel ‘The King’s General’ and set me off in search of more information about what it was like to be a woman at this time in history…
This is a really engrossing read. Malins has an excellent mixture of characters in this novel, from Frances and her sister to some much more ordinary characters from the Cromwells more humble background – which really shows the reader that these turbulent events had an impact on life whoever you were and whatever your situation, providing much food for thought about women’s rights, independence and morality during this period for a 21st-century readership. There have been a fair few comparisons with Alison Weir and I think that readers of historical novels have had plenty of Tudor tales to enjoy and will get totally caught up in the dangers and intrigues of a very different period through this novel
I think that Malins is just as skilful in writing about domestic matters as she is about the history or the politics at this time and the way that the impact of these events was so vividly depicted was a real strength of this novel. It was interesting to hear the girls discussing frankly the idea that their raised position was going to bring them a real lack of agency over their futures now – as their father’s status was bound to impact on who would be considered an advantageous match for them. It made for fascinating reading to see exactly how prescient Frances had been as we get caught up in her history and how her youthful words come home to roost.
I loved the fact that Frances’ story brings the personal into the historical research and we see exactly how difficult her choices were And as usual, I spent a lot of time online after finishing it, looking up Cromwell’s story and falling into a bit of a rabbit hole finding out as much as I could about him and his children, as he was SUCH a fascinating character in his own right. His ascent from poverty to becoming Lord Protector of the Commonwealth makes for engrossing reading and I found myself totally gripped by the family’s incredible ascent to glory, and its aftermath…
Fans of historical epics and enthusiasts of novels exploring the role of women in history from a more personal perspective will love this beautifully written novel and I will be recommending it to readers who love period fiction and strongly written literary narratives. I really enjoyed this journey with Frances through a fascinating episode in English history and heartily recommend that you too delve into this period in all its turbulent glory and find out more about it for yourself. Buy yourself a copy here and spend an afternoon like I did, totally wrapped up in this intelligent and engaging novel that wears its learning lightly and carries you forward as you are compelled to know what unfolds for these characters whose stories remain with you long after you’ve finished reading their stories.
‘There is much to enjoy in this evocation of a family whose lives are so upended by the convulsions of history’ Antonia Senior, The Times
‘This engaging novel brings one of the most momentous but least well known periods of English history vividly to life.’ Carolyn Kirby, author of THE CONVICTION OF CORA BURNS
‘Miranda Malins has offered us a thrilling debut novel, packed with expert scene-setting and juicy details, bringing to life her characters with aplomb and as a result allowing readers to revel in 17th century England’s epicentre of power.’ Prof Michael Scott, University of Warwick
Writer On The Shelf
Miranda is a writer and historian specialising in the history of Oliver Cromwell, his family and the politics of the Interregnum period following the Civil War. She studied at Cambridge University, leaving with a PhD, and continues to speak at conferences and publish journal articles and book reviews.
She also enjoys being a Trustee of the Cromwell Association. Alongside this, Miranda works as a commercial solicitor in the City and began writing historical novels on maternity leave. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, young son and cat Keats.