It’s 1647 and the “first” Civil War between King and Parliament is over – and London is seething with politics and seditious printers. After an attack on the family farm by soldiers Lucy Wentnor has lost both her dowry and her innocence, and her father brings her to London to live with her uncle Thomas and his parsimonious wife Agnes. Agnes intends to use Lucy as an unpaid servant in the household, but our independent miss manages to find herself a job assisting a printer – and when he is thrown in jail she takes over the operation herself along with the inherent dangers that come with operating an illegal press. Soon caught up in the political agendas of the varying factions (King, Parliament, Covenanters, Cromwell) as well as torn between the two men who lover her, Lucy dances a fine line to keep herself out of prison and independence intact.
While certainly not the be-all to end-all novels that deal with this period, I did like the fact that it focused on a very narrow window (between the two major phases of the wars) as well as how the author used Lucy’s involvement in the printing business to make some of the various political parties easier to understand. This is a very short novel at just over 200 pages and doesn’t get as in-depth with the characters as I would normally prefer in a book. I enjoyed Lucy’s story, but I didn’t find myself sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened next either. If you are interested in this period and already have some knowledge going in I would recommend this but for those new to the period I’d recommend starting elsewhere, either Pamela Belle’s Wintercombe series or the The Moon in the Water trilogy.
Sigh, if I must. My copy courtesy of the King County Library System.