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…
This was really interesting in that it was told from the perspective of Cromwell’s youngest daughter, a figure pretty much forgotten, along with the rest of her family, in the story of Civil War and Restoration.
Using the biographical facts of her life, Malins builds an intricate, thoughtful and detailed narrative in which Frances falls in love, and watches as the country struggled to adjust to life as a republic.
She comes across as intelligent, politically engaged, driven by love for her family and aware of how momentous the times she’s living through are. Born in the East Anglian fens, then brought to live in royal splendour at Westminster Palace and Hampton Court, she’s a different sort of princess.
Thoroughly enjoyable and an interesting angle onto the turbulent period she lived through, not a dry record of Parliament’s arguments but the domestic drama and supportive family that allowed Oliver Cromwell to rise so high.