“For all its period detail, this debut seems remarkably modern in its depiction of love and politics—proof that a historical novel can be educational and entertaining, and nothing like homework.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A luminous and sensitive debut…With cross-genre appeal to fiction and mystery lovers alike, Accidents of Providence will leave readers moved and deeply aware of our society’s progress in women’s rights. ” —Shelf Awareness
“Debut novelist Brown has woven an absorbing tale…her story reveals a rich knowledge of the era along with memorable characters, sharp, period-worthy dialog, and a poignant love story…This is the best kind of historical fiction—a combination of love story and murder mystery, with a sprinkling of intriguing historical snippets and wonderful writing.” —Library Journal, STARRED review
“Brown’s first novel is a heart-poundingly vivid, intellectually provocative account…a romping good read that is character-driven yet intellectually provocative on issues of law, religion and morality—historical fiction at its best.” —Kirkus, STARRED review
“Accidents of Providence is historical fiction at its best. It is absolutely steeped in atmosphere and so vividly recreates the interregnum era that I felt as though I’d been transported there. Brown’s prose has a beautiful originality. Her characters come alive with authenticity and humanity; they are loveable and infuriating, but the reader always believes in them, and invests hopes and fears with them. The story kept me gripped from the very first page—by turns desperately sad, funny and heartwarming. It is a breath of fresh air. I loved it!” —Katherine Webb, author of The Legacy
“Intelligent, masterful, suspenseful—one of the best books I’ve read in years. An impressive debut novel from a hugely talented new writer, Accidents of Providence was a rare treat.” —Margaret George, author of many works of historical fiction, including The Memoirs of Cleopatra
“Stacia Brown’s debut novel, Accidents of Providence, richly illuminates an important but little known period of history; that of the English Leveller society. Wonderfully detailed and keenly researched, it is a moving portrait of a courageous woman caught between a disastrous affair with a charismatic revolutionary and the draconian laws of the land that would put her to death because of it.” —Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic’s Daughter
Reader Reviews from BookBrowse:
Mary Lou C., Shenandoah Junction, WV—5 of 5 stars
I love this book. Couldn’t put it down. The story is set in England during an era of religious strife. I know very little about the Puritan time, but I felt the author took me back to this period and helped me understand how far we have come in civilization. The cast of characters were believable and fascinating. The ending was a surprise. I didn’t expect it. Great read!
Jacquelyn H., Blaco, TX—5 of 5 stars
From England in 1649, King Charles beheaded, Cromwell in charge, harsh times for women, comes a story of illicit love and an out of wedlock birth. This impressive first novel is masterfully written to give the reader the full impact of emotions during twists of plot in an historically accurate setting. A high-interest story, the novel is packed with substance and surprise. Stacia Brown, more please!
Mary S., (Pinson, AL) —5 of 5 stars
Stacia Brown has written a great first novel. I stayed up until 2 in the morning to finish this book. It is that good. I am big historical fiction reader, but was not aware of the law of 1624 targeting unwed mothers who concealed the death of their illegitimate babies making the mothers guilty of murder. The story was so interesting and I will not forget Brown’s character, Rachel Lockyer for a long time.
Sarah N., Corete Madera, CA—5 of 5 stars
“So Mary pulled on her boots, pinned up her hair, changed her sleeping robe for a jersey skirt, and became what she’d never wanted to be: someone who got involved.” Sometimes we all just want to be on the sidelines not getting involved. Rachel’s problem all along was the right people not being involved. Rachel Lockyer, the main character, was someone I cared about and someone I hoped would have the right person stand up for her. Her love story is beautiful and sad at the same time. Although Rachel Lockyer is not a real person, my gut tells me her story is probably close to someone’s real story.
Lorraine R., Southampton, NY—5 of 5 stars
An intelligently written, carefully researched first novel, Accidents of Providence was both interesting and thought-provoking to read. Stacia Brown brought the 1700s in London to life with her detailed description of how common people lived. She exposed the inequalities of the courts of law, in particular the complete denial of rights of women. She showed how vulnerable women were to their circumstances, both personal and public. This was an extremely well-written historical novel that blended political, religious and social beliefs of a revolutionary period of Britain’s history.
Shirin M., Beverly Hills, CA—5 of 5 stars
A page-turner that transports you back to England in the seventeenth century. Set amidst Puritanical rule, the author creates a very real place filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the time. A fast-paced plot and vividly drawn characters make this an engrossing read. Historical fiction fans will certainly love this book. It would also appeal to those interested in individualism and the evolving role of women in a society where the rules are stacked against them. A great choice for book clubs; much to discuss and even more to ponder over.
Marsha S., Nags Head, NC—5 of 5 stars
I found Accidents of Providence very compelling because of the topic and the way it is written. The author’s style of writing puts you right into the place with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of the period. The topic was extremely interesting to me because it is based on the historical facts of infanticide and the Levelers movement in 17th century England, both of which I was unaware until reading this book. The intense affair between Rachel and William Walwyn brings the characters to life in a very human way.
This would be a good book for a group discussion, and the topic should be carefully considered by those in our society today who are seeking to curtail women’s rights.
Diane S., Batavia, IL—5 of 5 stars
It is the middle of the 1600′s, and in Cromwell’s Puritan England a law has been passed to prevent the Destroying and murdering of the children of unmarried woman. I have long been fascinated with the Puritans, their strange relationship with God, where everything pleasurable is a considered a sin, and woman on the fringes are looked on with suspicion. The character of Rachel, is one that will stay with me for a long time, she is so multifaceted and yet so human. It is not until the very end that we find out what happened to her child, among many twists and turns, an investigation and a trial. This book is very well researched, the writing very emotional and the politics of the day, the movement of the Levelers, adding much to the story line. Rachel’s plight will touch the other characters in the book, changing many, in good and bad ways. As the investigator Bartwain comments while observing Rachel’s trial, “We have decapitated our king and disbanded our House of Lords, and now there is no one left to restore reason and line and order.” Life was extremely hard for all, but woman were so harshly judged and often had no recourse.
Shirley S., Batavia, IL—5 of 5 stars
A great 17th century history lesson of both customs and religion feed by a wonderful, descriptive writing style. The protagonist a strange but endearing character. One might guess the ending from the beginning but the journey is worth the taking. Never overly written, the narrative introduces a myriad of hamlet dwellers that become as endearing as the story.
Jane C., Brighton, MI—5 of 5 stars
The year, 1649, the place, England. The rules of life in that century were very difficult for unwed mothers. This story tells of the life of one mother who gives birth and is charged with murder. Very well written, seemed like real life rather than fiction. Very difficult life in these early times.
Margaret O., Bonita Springs, FL—4 of 5 stars
Stacia Brown’s book acquainted me with a period in history with which I was not familiar as I saw it through the eyes of Rachel during the course of her ordeal. This was an informative and captivating book for me and I found the relationships among the women of special interest.
Deanna W., Port Jefferson, NY—4 of 5 stars
I really enjoy historical novels. Having read Fingersmith and The Dress Lodger, I was looking forward to reading this book. It has all the elements one could want in an historic novel—a secret love affair, a crime-investigation, public trail, and a surprise twist at the end. Perhaps too much of the novel was spent on the ideology of the Levelers and the Puritans. Over all, an enjoyable and informative read.
Penny P., Santa Barbara, CA—4 of 5 stars
I enjoy reading historical novels and thoroughly enjoyed this one. I remember loving The Dress Lodger and Perfume and would put this book in the same category. The history seemed quite accurate. The political times and the belief of the Puritans were covered, as well as the place of women in that society. This is both a love story and a crime novel so I think anyone who either, would enjoy this novel. The character development was quite good and the writing was descriptive and easy to read. The book isn’t very long and can be read pretty quickly making it a great vacation read.
Sandra S., Charlotte, NC—4 of 5 stars
Loved the characters. The historical setting was real and the tension grew with the pages, as is appropriate. Would definitely recommend this book to others.
Kathleen W., New Brighton, MN—4 of 5 stars
Welcome to London, circa 1649. Smell the squalor of Newgate prison. Investigate the relationship between hangman and accused on the way to Tyburn hanging tree. Look over YOUR shoulder in the midst of religious intolerance in the time of Oliver Cromwell. Stacia Brown (Accidents of Providence) weaves a darn good tale involving a romance/mystery plot but most importantly, her descriptive ability is wonderfully evocative of this time in British history. After finishing reading (and wanting to take a shower?) pose to yourself the question asked of you by the author, “What is it that love requires of each of us?” My only disappointment with the book was that there was no attempt to replicate the vernacular of the 17th century British citizens in this novel. Surely this is a shame considering how admirably Brown succeeds on every other level. No matter…Read it!
Kim L., Cary, IL—4 of 5 stars
Very enjoyable read. I could not put this book down. I finished it in two days. I liked the history lesson, and the characters were very believable. The ending had an interesting twist.
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-29535790-2']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);