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The Illumination of Ursula Flight

The Illumination of Ursula Flight 1

by Anna-Marie Crowhurst
Publication Date: 28/03/2018
3/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $29.99 $29.75
      Please Note: We will source your item through a special order. Generally sent within 120 days.

The charming, droll (and just a little bit bawdy) picaresque tale of one woman's coming of age both on and off the stage in seventeenth-century England.

On the 15th day of December in the year of our Lord 1664, a great light bloomed in the dark sky and crept slowly and silently across the blackness: a comet. Every evening afterwards, though snow lay on the ground and the air bit with frost, men across the land threw open their windows and went out of their doors in cloaks and mufflers to gaze at the heavens, necks stretched up, hands shielding eyes, crooking long fingers to trace the burning thing that flamed across the night, while dogs moaned in their kennels and wise women chanted incantations against bright malignant spirits.

Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II's Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars.

Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing and astrology.

Following a surprising meeting with an actress, Ursula's dreams turn to the theatre and thus begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak.

A vivid, passionate and gutsy tale of a most unusual girl in a world far away.

Historical Fiction
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Anna-Marie Crowhurst

Anna-Marie Crowhurst read English at King's College London and has worked as a freelance fashion and culture journalist for more than 15 years, contributing to publications including The Times, The Guardian, Time Out, Stylist and Emerald Street, for whom she currently covers books, entertainment and lifestyle, as well as writing a weekly column going out to 150,000 like-minded women every Sunday:

Her debut novel The Illumination of Ursula Flight was written during her recent MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and was supervised by the award-winning novelist Tessa Hadley. Anna-Marie graduated with distinction in 2017. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

3 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • an easy and enjoyable read.

    by on

    3.4 stars
    The Illumination of Ursula Flight is the first novel by British author, Anna-Marie Crowhurst. On December 15th, 1664, a daughter was born to Clifford Flight. Seeing the Great Bear in the night sky, he named her Ursula. At seven years of age, Ursula encountered a Drury Lane actress, and was enthralled with the whole concept of acting. By eight, her father was educating her thoroughly: literature, languages, drama, astronomy and more. Ursula also began writing her own plays and putting them on with friends.

    But at fifteen, her mother saw to it that she was given to a man twenty years her elder in marriage. Lord Tyringham’s position in the House of Lords regularly took him from his Wiltshire estate. Would her husband indulge Ursula’s love of theatre and take her to Drury Lane when he went to London? Would she get to meet the King and Queen?

    Crowhurst’s tale follows Ursula through a childhood cut abruptly short, an unhappy marriage, and a short-lived affair that sees her fending for herself in London. Told in a first-person narrative, Ursula shows herself to be clever and determined, although she is sometimes quite shallow, and she is certainly well ahead of her time with regards her attitude and independence. As well as Ursula’s narrative, there are her plays (or parts thereof), her many lists, letters sent and received, her rules, her diary, transcripts of conversations and an agenda.

    While there are quite a few unhappy times for Ursula, there’s also quite a bit of humour and, overall, this is an easy and enjoyable read.
    With thanks to Allen & Unwin for this Proof Copy to read and review.