Here is another superbly researched and vividly told novel about the gifted and spirited women of Oliver Cromwell's family; full of insight, detail and imaginative richness. It will be warmly welcomed, and will certainly kindle hopes for more historical fiction of this quality from Miranda Malins.
I cannot imagine a novel that would take me closer to the heart of Cromwell's world. In Bridget Cromwell, Miranda Malins has given us an utterly convincing flesh and blood heroine, who takes us by the hand and forces us to look unflinchingly at the men and the women, the blood and the dirt, the love and the loss of the most astonishing period in English history.
The Rebel Daughter in Miranda Malins' assured second novel is Bridget, Oliver Cromwell's eldest daughter whose story brings a wholly female perspective to the bloody turmoil of England's Civil War. 'Biddy' makes an engaging companion as she leads us, clear-eyed, through the complexities and horrors of the conflict; the battles and sieges, political ferment, the beheading of the king and Cromwell's part in ruthless massacres in Ireland. Through the twisting upheavals of rebellion and interregnum, her focus is always on the welfare of her family but she yearns to play a role, like the men around her, in shaping a better future for her country. This affecting, action-packed novel brings a momentous but often overlooked period of history vividly to life.
Miranda Malins goes from strength to strength with her second novel The Rebel Daughter. Oliver Cromwell's oldest daughter, Bridget, narrates her family's rise to power during the English Civil War alongside her own love story and developing personal ambitions. Malins brilliantly captures the collision of Bridget's idealism with the brute reality of faction and political jealousies, while Bridget's increasing Puritan radicalism sets her at odds with those in her family and elsewhere who seek some kind of accommodation with the past. Bridget and Henry Ireton leap breathing from the page in a nuanced picture of a divided world.
It is wonderful to see such familiar historical characters brought so colourfully and convincingly to new life; and the writing itself is of the finest - skilful and vivid - literary standard.
Dazzling - a brilliant, warts-and-all debut novel
Incredibly rich in historical detail, bringing to life England's most turbulent years through the eyes of a woman at the heart of it.