Katherine Clements debut novel reads like the work of a much more experienced author, it is a literary piece that remains utterly readable; vibrant and deftly plotted it is filled with incredibly rendered sentences. The Seventeenth Century is my favourite historical era as it is filled with political and religious upheaval and it is a time when ordinary people including women begin to express themselves through the burgeoning printing presses. Katherine's novel is set mid century and features a young heroine searching for a place in the world, after her mother is brutally hanged having been accused of witchcraft. Ruth's mother had been a healer and midwife and Ruth seeks her fortune in London taking nothing but her mother's book of remedies and her crimson ribbon. On her journey she meets a young soldier Joseph Oakes. Joseph is also haunted by his past but each one keeps their secrets at first. Joseph finds work as a printer's apprentice and Ruth becomes a maid to a radical young woman called Lizzie Poole. Katherine Clements has used the real life Lizzie Poole for whom there are only a few documents remaining and spun a deft thread of intrigue and drama around her which encompasses Ruth, Joseph and even the great players of the age Cromwell and King Charles. If like me you have been watching Channel 4's "New Worlds" then this book is for you. This is perfect for fans of astute, well written historical fiction such as that of Victoria Lamb and Deborah Swift. If you haven't seen New Worlds check out the trailer http://www.channel4.com/programmes/new-worlds/videos/all/new-worlds-trailer and If you didn't see The Devil's Whore the series which preceded it which has some linked characters then I urge you to watch that also.
If you would like to get your hands on a copy of The Crimson Ribbon I have one to spare so please comment below (nicely, please) and I'll do a draw at the end of the month.