The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a review copy from the http://www.hns-conference.org.uk/ goodie bag and briefly met Deborah Swift at the Conference.
I started it yesterday and I literally couldn't put 'The Lady's Slipper' down!
I finished it today.
Verdict: I loved it!
It's got everything I love; a pacy story; proper plotting and setting. It's got botany and herbalism. It's got cunning folk. It's got art. It's got mystery. It's got romance without the ghastly (but so often obligatory) Elizabeth Bennett conceit of an angry and obviously mistaken heroine. It's even got strong male characterisation and dynamics between the them.
It has the tastes and smells, the look the feel and an interestingly powerful sense of audio running through it and, AND it's got plenty of unobtrusive but beautifully researched period detail underpinning it all.
It's particularly interesting because it subtly references the Civil War, the Restoration, the politics in the wake of the Diggers, the Covenanters, the Quakers and treats them all with elegance and respect using a very light hand, without actually bigging up the Big Issues.
Can't wait to read The Gilded Lily now...
View all my reviews