Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Silvered Heart

The Silvered Heart is Katherine Clements follow up to her critically lauded debut The Crimson Ribbon and with this new story she has returned to the civil war era once again using a real person as a springboard for her storytelling. The Silvered Heart is the fictionalised account of Lady Katherine Ferrers. Lady Katherine was a seventeenth century heiress and legendary highwaywoman who lost her land during Cromwell’s rule and was rumoured to have become a highwaywoman in order to survive. Clements makes the legend her own with this book bringing the “wicked lady” of folktale to vivid life as a real and sympathetic character as we follow her from childhood with her mother’s untimely demise and her own very young and unhappy marriage to finding friendship, love and final happiness. The research is impeccable and the storytelling first rate. You can feel the hunger of Lady Katherine and her faithful retainers through the lean years and smell the dirt and filth of the age. The book brilliantly highlights the dangerous time Lady Katherine lived in when even a king could be put on trial as we watch the political fortunes of those around her change with the wind and her husband’s often feeble attempts to switch allegiance and save his own neck. The book is a fantastic portrayal of the friendship between Lady Katherine and her lady’s maid Rachel and the close bonds that can be formed between women while their destinies are decided by the men around them. This is powerful historical fiction at its best.

This review originally appeared in Historical Novel Review Issue 73
and can be viewed online Here

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