Summer break about to start – reviews only, until the end of September – but I just couldn’t resist one more promotion post for Brook Cottage Books. The Road to Newgate by Kate Braithwaite is published by Crooked Cat Books on 16th July (available for preorder from Amazon in the UK and US), and if you’re a fan of historical fiction with a touch of crime and mystery it really looks like one you shouldn’t miss. I’ve had the pleasure of featuring Kate here on Being Anne before, on the publication of her debut novel Charlatan, with an excellent guest review by Louise Wykes and a rather lovely interview. So let’s take a closer look at The Road to Newgate…
What price justice?
Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.
Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.
When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.
And an extract? My pleasure…
At my side is a skinny fellow that Henry sometimes employs to deliver our pamphlets about the coffee shops. His sort often has a nose for news and will know if an arrest has been made or a scandal is brewing. He knows something now. I smell it on him, read it in the eager nod of his head. God knows, there’s gossip aplenty in the city, with talk of a missing magistrate and arrests of prominent Catholic Lords, so I turn my back on Anne, anxious for news. My conscience may creak as I listen to the young lad’s tale, but that’s easily ignored. Easily that is, until the sound of an altercation causes us both to twist round.
A woman, tall and sharp-featured, her lips pulled back from her teeth in bare anger, has her hand on Anne’s arm and is screeching at her. For a moment, I’m dumbfounded. I step towards them, but not quickly enough. In that split second, the woman tilts back her head and hurls a plume of spit right into my wife’s face.
No-one moves. Then the woman disappears into the crowd and Anne does her best to make light of it. She wipes her face, shows me her new bag, and insists on continuing about the fair as if nothing has happened. All she will say is that the woman was obviously deranged, some Bedlamite; quite a sorry case, in fact. I squeeze her hand, proud that my young wife can be so composed. And then I put it out of my mind.
In my defence, there is little enough time to remember it or question Anne further in the days that follow. The rumour whispered to me at the fair is the main news on everyone’s lips by the next morning. A man has been found dead in a ditch on Primrose Hill. He is identified as the missing magistrate, Sir Edmund Godfrey.
Looks good, eh? Wishing you every success with this one Kate…
With thanks to Kate and tour organiser Brook Cottage Books, I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a copy of the book, plus a rather lovely small handmade book of illustrations from the period (open internationally).
Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
About the author
Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.