In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.
Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.
‘’Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’ With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.
This is the extraordinary true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.
About the Author
When I’m not walking and taking photos of the lovely scenery of the Sussex countryside, I’m probably holed up either on the sofa or on my bed (I have a brilliant view of the said Sussex countryside from there) with a laptop on my knees, totally oblivious to the loud music of my grown up kids and their friends.
My debut novel, The Popish Midwife, is based closely on the true story of Elizabeth Cellier, an extraordinary C17th midwife:
One day, several years ago, I bought some pages of a trial, merely to hold a piece of a 300-year-old book. That purchase changed my life. The defendant in the trail captivated me. Her story demanded to be told.
My research showed Elizabeth Cellier was known in three areas of interest – for writing books, being caught in The Popish Plot and as a forward-thinking midwife – but her story was all in pieces and scattered. I wanted to put it together and share it. I only hope I did justice to the bold and sassy woman she was in a way that would give her some little compensation for what she went through.