I’m very partial to historical fiction and with Cromwell being a local to me figure I’m delighted to participate in the blog tour for The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins. I’m really grateful to Gaby Drinkald at Midas PR for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.
Published by Orion, The Puritan Princess is available for purchase through the links here.
The Puritan Princess
Power, politics and a devastating fight for the crown in this gripping historical novel following the rise of Oliver Cromwell’s youngest daughter. Perfect for fans of Anne O’Brien, Joanna Hickson and Alison Weir.
London, 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 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?
An Extract from The Puritan Princess
Frances Cromwell discusses foreign affairs with the young courtier Robert Rich
Robert’s mention of the Council’s split opinion on our aligning with France or Spain calls to my mind our Tudor forebears who, only a few generations ago, wrestled here at Whitehall with exactly the same dilemma: King Henry famously played the two much mightier nations off against each other for most of his reign where his daughter, the bloody Mary, married into Spain – the famous Armada the terrifying legacy of this for her sister, brave Queen Elizabeth. These thoughts bring to mind another topic about which I have long wished an opportunity to remind Robert, though I doubt the subject often strays far from his thoughts:
‘You are indeed knowledgeable, sir.’ I smile politely. ‘I wonder you do not offer your expertise to my father, hitching the Rich horse to the Cromwell wagon as your ancestor did a century ago. Did not the lawyer Richard Rich, the founder of your noble house, secure his fortune by entering the service of my great-great-great uncle Thomas Cromwell, rising to the top of Henry VIII’s court on the hem of his cloak before betraying him on his downfall?’ It is perhaps a little cruel, but faced with his cool expression, I smart, remembering how much of myself I revealed to him the last time we spoke. Now it is my turn to remind him of the murky origins of his own noble heritage; justice of a sort for all his jibes about East Anglian farmers.
‘I cannot account for the sins of my forebears,’ Robert replies carefully, his voice even against my taunt. ‘Though I would remind you, my lady, as the keen student of history you are, that your great-great-great uncle’s fall from King Henry’s favour was hardly the fault of my great-great-great-grandfather.’ He counts the ‘greats’ with elaborate nods of his head, emphasising the passing years.
‘That may be.’ I incline my head. ‘But doesn’t patronage in turn deserve loyalty? Thomas Cromwell did not abandon his sponsor Cardinal Wolsey on his debasement. And he could perhaps have expected the same loyalty meted out to him from his protégé Richard Rich.’
I see Robert take in a breath before turning away from me, his eyes now the ones focusing on the middle distance as he shifts his weight from foot to foot. ‘It is a long time ago now, my lady. And besides,’ he continues, speaking softly, his voice smooth as if to calm a restless horse, ‘the lesson I draw from our families’ tangled past is that, under propitious circumstances, an alliance between a Rich and a Cromwell is a formidable partnership indeed.’
His words stop all noise from the room for me and I am flattened by the wall of silence. I hear my breath loud beneath my stays, feel my breasts swell over the lace-edged top of my corset. I am struck by a sudden desire to reach out and touch his face, to run my finger along his jaw and turn his noble profile to face me. The urge unbalances me and I bury it in anger.
And now of course, I need to read the whole book to find out just what IS going to happen!
About Miranda Malins
Miranda is a writer and historian specialising in the history of Oliver Cromwell, his family and the politics of the Interregnum period following the Civil Wars. She studied at Cambridge University, leaving with a PhD, and continues to speak at conferences and publish journal articles and book reviews. She is also a Trustee of the Cromwell Association. Alongside this, Miranda works as a commercial solicitor in the City and began writing historical novels on maternity leave. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, young son and cat, Keats. The Puritan Princess is her debut novel.
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