Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: "Accidents of Providence" by Stacia M. Brown


From Goodreads:  A new voice in historical fiction rescues a woman wronged by her time and forgotten by history, whose love affair leads to her trial for murder.

It is 1649. King Charles has been beheaded for treason. Amid civil war, Cromwell’s army is running the country. The Levellers, a small faction of agitators, are calling for rights to the people. And a new law targeting unwed mothers and lewd women presumes anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder.

Rachel Lockyer, unmarried glove maker, and Leveller William Walwyn are locked in a secret affair. But when a child is found buried in the woods, Rachel is arrested.

So comes an investigation, public trial, and unforgettable characters: gouty investigator Thomas Bartwain, fiery Elizabeth Lillburne and her revolution-chasing husband, Huguenot glover Mary Du Gard, and others. Spinning within are Rachel and William, their remarkable love story, and the miracles that come to even the commonest lives.

My Thoughts: 
This book was provided to me by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for a fair review.  “Accidents of Providence” was a surprisingly good read.  When I was an undergrad, I took a whole class on women and the legal system in early modern England so this book really appealed to me.  It was completely different than any novel I have read and was more like a non-fictional account than a fictional one.  This changed towards the end but for the most part I could completely envision this as being a historical account of an infanticide trial.  All of the characters in the story were likable and I thought the characters of Rachel and Bartwain were the most developed.  There was a love story intertwined with the plot but I found myself caring more about the trial and those participating than the romantic aspects.  I feel like this story did a good job of portraying how few options women had if they were unmarried and became pregnant.  What happened to Rachel was incredibly sad but what was even more heart-breaking was the fact that women in early modern England, and probably other countries, had to deal with a legal system that would not support them.  I would highly recommend this book as it is a great addition the historical fiction genre.  4 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I am planning on reading this one soon. Thanks for the great review, I am really looking forward to it now!

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