Do you yearn for the world of dashing highwaymen and spirited women in glamorous 18th century dresses? Then be careful what you wish for. This is also a world in which only men have power and marriage can be a trap.
In The Crown Spire we become acquainted with Alice Ingram married for 20 years to an abusive, unpleasant man and her young niece, Beth, who is completely unaware of her aunt’s unhappiness. Fleeing along the Great North Road, they are suddenly in dire danger until two masked men save them and deliver them into the safe hands of the Bishop of Edinburgh. Both women find it difficult to forget their rescuers but once in Edinburgh they become entangled with two other men. Beth is quickly captivated by charming innkeeper Edward Hogan, even though he is well below her station but Alice maintains her dignity and has constant arguments with respectable doctor, James Dillingham.
Edinburgh of 1795 is, as you might expect, a city of charm and danger, but the lack of propriety shown by Beth is astonishing. Alice is a more empathetic character and the reader enjoys becoming closer to the reticent doctor. As in all good fiction, they have secrets, but love and passion will conquer all, until the dramatic events of the last section of the book threaten everyone’s happiness.
The description of the taverns give a sound historical authenticity to events but personally I would have liked to have read more about everyday life in the streets of Edinburgh. The fast-moving story is difficult to put down and I hope that there will be other romantic adventures, in this style, to follow.
Catherine Curzon is a royal historian, best known for her non-fiction books Life in the Georgian Court and Kings of Georgian Britain. She also writes a fascinating 18th century history blog under the nom-de-plume of Madame Gilflurt.
Her work has been featured on the official website of BBC History magazine and in publications such as Explore History, All About History, History of Royals and Jane Austen’s Regency World.
She has provided additional research for An Evening with Jane Austen at the V&A, which she has also presented around the country.
Willow Winsham is the author of Accused: British Witches throughout History and she brings readers regular tales of witches and witchcraft on her blog The Witch, the Weird and the Wonderful
Combining a passion for research and history with a love of storytelling, she dedicates her time to investigating some of the most intriguing stories from the history of the British Isles.
When she isn’t digging out tantalizing historical tit bits or tracing elusive family members, she is busy home educating her two children.