Wednesday 10 February 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Puritan Princess - Miranda Malins

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...

What did I think?

I make no secret of the fact that I love historical fiction so I was very excited to read The Puritan Princess as I know very little about the Stuart period of history, although I certainly know a lot more after reading this wonderful book.  Miranda Malins' stunning debut effortlessly brings history to life and I was completely hooked by the Cromwell's life from the jaw-droppingly brilliant prologue.

As you find with a lot of historical novels, there is a cast of characters included at the start of the book.  Spanning 6 pages, I was a little daunted and thought I would be constantly referring back to the list, however, each and every character is introduced so perfectly that I hardly referred back to it at all.  There's also a wonderful addition of the Cromwell family tree from 1657 that I pored over with delight.

The story focuses on Frances Cromwell, particularly her life at court and her relationships with her siblings and parents.  Family is at the heart of the story and it certainly shows Oliver Cromwell in a different light to the vague impression I had of a civil war inciting, Christmas cancelling army general who was instrumental in the execution of Charles I.  The characters are drawn so vividly that I now understand Cromwell's motivations and ideas through seeing the man beneath the persona of Lord Protector.

Maintaining a perfect balance between politics and passion, I was completely swept away by The Puritan Princess as I devoured every perfect word that Miranda Malins had written.  The writing is breathtaking, the plot is outstanding and the novel is exceptional.  Historical fiction fans take note: there's a new author in town and Miranda Malins is definitely one to watch.  A stunning debut that deserves nothing less than a 5 star rating.

Many thanks to Orion for sending me an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; all opinions are my own. 

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