Dark, twisted, wicked, and quite unexpected. Don’t read this expecting a typical historical novel. 

janet-ellisSo, here we are in London, 1763. A smart and attractive 19-year-old girl, a keen and well-born suitor, a merchant daddy, a worn-out mum. So far it’s same old, same old. Except that it really isn’t.

It quickly becomes clear this is not your average historic novel, and Anne is not your average heroine.

By halfway through I was pretty sure I’d never read anything like it – dark, discomfiting, twisted, nasty, sexual and completely compelling.

It’s a big surprise from a debut author best known for being a presenter on the long-running British children’s show Blue Peter.

The novel traces Anne’s development once love and marriage enter her life. On the one hand she falls for the charms of the good-looking, lively butcher’s boy, Fub.

On the other, her father presents an unappealing suitor for her hand, making it clear she will have no choice but to marry him.

Her mother is sympathetic but unable to intervene, so Anne takes matters into her own hands. It would spoil the fun to say too much about what she does.

She emerges as an unlikeable, even evil, character, but somehow it’s impossible not to have some respect, even admiration, for someone so determined to get their own way, and so prepared to do whatever it takes.

This book was published in February 2016.