Orion Fiction has signed the “heart-wrenching” historical novel debut from Miranda Malins, following the life of Oliver Cromwell’s youngest daughter and the fall of her family.
Victoria Oundjian, commissioning editor, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Giles Milburn at Madeline Milburn Agency. The Puritan Princess will be published in March 2020.
The book’s synopsis explains: “It is a heart wrenching novel of the struggles of power, feminism and hope for a better future against the backdrop of a warring country. At the very centre is Frances Cromwell who has risen from country nobility to potential princess, suddenly her hand in marriage reaches dynastic proportions. But will she allow herself to be a political pawn or will Frances find a way to control her own destiny?”
Oundjian said: "The Puritan Princess is that rare book where you already know the ending and yet are so swept up in the narrative that you find yourself desperate for history to work out differently. I have been desperate to find an authentic and fresh new voice in this area of historical fiction that brings with it a fresh perspective on a period of history we all believe we know so well, whilst also giving a voice to the women behind the throne, who have been all but forgotten.”
Malins, who spent her academic career studying Cromwell and is a trustee of the Cromwell Association, said it was only through approaching him through the lives of his daughters that she “reached the heart of the man”.
She said: “The 1650s was a time of conflict and contrast as the country, led for the first time by an ordinary non-royal family, experimented with new forms of government and struggled to find its place in the world; everything was to play for at Cromwell’s colourful court. It is thrilling to embark on this journey with the wonderful Victoria and her team at Orion and I cannot wait to introduce Cromwell’s youngest daughter Frances - the real Puritan Princess - to readers searching for new historical heroines and eager to discover more about this pivotal but often overlooked period.”
Milburn added: “I have long been enthralled by Miranda’s writing, who uses her astounding knowledge and passion for the 17th Century to bring it into vivid colour. I’m therefore utterly thrilled that The Puritan Princess has found a home at Orion Fiction. Without doubt Victoria shares Miranda’s vision of bringing the fascinating – and surprising – world of Oliver Cromwell’s court to life, through the eyes of his vivacious youngest daughter Frances.”