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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

‘Puritan’ by David Hingley

Published by Allison & Busby,
19 January 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-2028-6

Mercia Blakewood is on a commission for the newly-restored King Charles II, in the hope that he will restore her family’s estates for her son. However, newly landed in America, she hears first of a drowned minister with a strange coded message in his pocket. Then her new friend, Clemency, the healer of the pioneer village Meltdown, is found murdered.

This historical novel moves the heroine from the relative safety of what will become New York out into pioneer country, and then into an Indian encampment, and one of the book’s strengths is its vivid descriptions of these locations. Mercia is a feisty heroine who is determined to make her own decisions, and when she is asked to leave Meltwater after Clemency’s murder, we know she’s not going to leave it at that – nor does she. The people around her are also well drawn, both pleasant, like her would-be lover Nathan and her manservant Nicholas, and unpleasant, like the inaptly named constable, Humility Thomas. The plot is intricate, and the events throughout the book keep the story moving quickly. The prose and period details give an archaic feel to the story.

 This novel follows straight on from the events of Hingley’s first book, Birthright, and because the characters are still recovering from the traumatic events of that story, Puritan contains a number of spoilers – so, if this sounds your kind of book, I would recommend reading that first.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

David Hingley was born in the English Midlands. After a Spanish and Russian degree at the University of Manchester, he headed south to London to work for a decade in government. In 2013 he moved to New York, where he wrote his debut novel Birthright. He has also lived in Paris, on the literary Left Bank. In addition to his love of history, he has a passion for travel, most recently a number of road-trips through over forty American states. He has now returned to England and is writing his second book.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

A review of her recent book
Ghosts of the Vikings can be read here.

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