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The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements

The Crimson Ribbon

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

September 2014 Debut of the Month.

Straddling the end of the Civil War and the death of Charles I, this is an interesting portrayal of the period. We follow Ruth, nursemaid to Oliver Cromwell’s children, who flees when her mother is charged with witchcraft. Finding service elsewhere, then friendship and eventually love, she is forever on the run in a novel with a surprise twist. Strong on insight into the troubled times and the sad plight of women, it is a very fine first novel, unusual and satisfying.

Click here to find out more about this book and the period in which it is set.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition, some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Gavin Dimmock - 'A young girl is thrust into the very heart of the battle for the nation as the English Civil War rages around her...All in all I enjoyed this book and will be intrigued to read more from this exciting new novelist.' Read full review >
  • Joy Bosworth - 'Different and quite a fast read.' Read full review >
  • Edel Waugh - 'It is one of those books that just don't let you stop reading! This is a must read for all fans of historical fiction.' Read full review >
  • Elisabeth Thomas - 'well researched and the author really made the period come alive. This was a good first novel.' Read full review >
  • Kath Martin - 'This is quite original, weaving the story of Ruth Flowers amongst real characters in a truly gripping fashion.  I enjoyed it.' Read full review >


The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements

Based on the real figure of the fascinating Elizabeth Poole, The Crimson Ribbon is the mesmerising story of two women's obsession, superstition and hope. May Day 1646: Ruth Flowers finds herself suddenly, brutally, alone. Forced to flee the household of Oliver Cromwell, the only home she has ever known, Ruth takes the road to London, and there is given refuge by Lizzie Poole. Beautiful and charismatic, Lizzie enthrals the vulnerable Ruth, who binds herself inextricably to her world. But Ruth is still haunted by fears of her past catching up with her. And as Lizzie's radical ideas escalate, Ruth finds herself carried to the heart of the country's conflict, to the trial of a king.


'The vibrant new voice of historical fiction' Suzannah Dunn

'One of the most atmospheric and gripping historical novels I've ever read. The twists and turns kept me totally mesmerised...and the heroine, Ruth, is an utterly captivating character. The complex relationship between Ruth and Lizzie is wonderfully convincing, tender and devastating in equal measure right up to the last heart-breaking moment' Karen Maitland

'Begins at a cracking pace, plunging the reader into the turbulent Civil War period and the terror of witchcraft that came with it. Ruth grows in resilience and pride as she faces loss, tough choices in love, political confusion and intimate betrayal... A compelling novel' Maria McCann

'Impressive and inspirational...an original and entertaining story' Alison Weir

'The Crimson Ribbon is an exceptional debut novel: literate, engaging, passionate, intelligent and thought-provoking, it offers insight into a part of Cromwell's life about which I, at least, knew nothing at all, and it does so from an entirely unique angle. Deftly written, uncluttered and impassioned, this has to be one of the leading historical debuts of the year.' -- Manda Scott

About the Author

Katherine Clements

Katherine Clements has a passion for history and a degree in the subject. Until recently she worked for a national examination board, where she led the development and launch of the UK's first A level in Creative Writing. She has enjoyed success with her short stories and won a Historical Short Story Competition sponsored by Jerwood in 2012. The Crimson Ribbon is her debut novel.

Author photo © Nicola Light Photography

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Book Info

Publication date

11th September 2014


Katherine Clements

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Headline Review an imprint of Headline Publishing Group


368 pages


Historical Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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