Hello hello and welcome back to my little corner of the internet. Today is my spot on the blog tour for paperback release of The Puritan Princess from Orion. This historical fiction is set in the time of Cromwell, focusing on the life of his youngest daughter Frances “Fanny” Cromwell as she attempts to navigate the continuously changing waters of her new life.
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 a love match that must surely be found at court.
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’s fate suddenly assumes diplomatic and dynastic importance.
Will she become a political pawn, or can Frances use her new status to seize control and further her own ambitions?
I used to read almost nothing except historical fiction and have taken a bit of a step away from it in recent years, but have never lost my real love for it, or for history. I was particularly interested in the idea of this book as most of the historical fiction I have read before focus either on ancient history or around the Tudor period, and it struck me as unusual for a Cromwell era book. While historical fiction is just that – fiction – you can still find yourself learning a lot from them, and I really enjoy what I take away from such books.
Frances was a particularly loveable protagonist, and watching her grow from a self conscious teenager to a strong and independent woman, all while negotiating the trials that she is faced with as life changes and whirls around her. I really did love watching her grow as a person, and as she grew to know herself more as well.
While historical fiction is just fiction, there is still so much that can be taken away from it, and I did find myself learning a lot, both about the era of Cromwell in general, and about Cromwell himself. It’s always taught in schools how Cromwell was a dictatorial presence, who banned all things enjoyable. Instead I found myself hearing about a man who doted on his children, respected what his daughters had to offer in conversation, and played practical jokes. With the author being a specialist in Cromwell’s history, it’s as accurate as fiction can get.
It was a book that grew on me. From an intense starting point, things become quieter for a while, until the action dials up, and more starts to happen, both to Frances herself, and in the story of English history.
Overall I would rate it as an enjoyable read, beautifully written, and highly recommended for historical fiction fans.
Many thanks to Orion for my copy of the book. The Puritan Princess is out now in ebook, audio and paperback formats.