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The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst
  

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April 2018 Book of the Month

An intimate, beautifully told, occasionally rambunctious tale set in 17th century England. Ursula Flight was born at an inauspicious time, she tells her own highly entertaining, yet poignant tale from birth. Ursula bounded from the page into wondrous life, I could feel her emotions, her wild, kind, impetuous nature spoke to me. Anna-Marie Crowhurst has created a vibrant, stunning setting for Ursula, the countryside of her childhood is so beautifully imagined, I found myself looking around, smelling, touching, feeling. Ursula’s own writing is scattered through the novel, her thoughts, letters and plays allow direct contact with her, as when she writes she is free, and unencumbered by the morals of the time. I have to admit to feeling a certain amount of disquiet as I read, one part of me was in the present, living life with Ursula, the other part was wondering what would become of this spirited young woman. A blistering darkness slices through ‘The Illumination of Ursula Flight’ taking its turn in the orbiting dance of life alongside the colour and passion, which creates a truly wonderful captivating read, and I loved it. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Josie Barton - 'The Illumination of Ursula Flight is a lively and, at times, mischievous journey through the whims and fancies of Restoration England.'
  • Glenda Worth - 'A brilliant debut novel by Anna- Marie Crowhurst, a coming of age story with a difference.  A Seventeenth century romp through the age of bawdy behaviour and male dominance.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'The beautiful, charming story. Will keep the reader wanting more long after the last page has been turned, Ursula Flight is a heroine for 2018!'
  • Sarah Webb - 'A delicious romp of a story.'
  • Marjorie Lacy - 'I think that the title page is very good, it would attract me to pick the book up, once seeing the inside, I would have been intrigued enough to buy it.I belong to Reading Groups, I will recommend it.'
  • Deborah Dumville - 'Clever, spirited, funny and full of life, Ursula uses her plays to say the things and live the life she dare not dream of I loved her, even though perhaps at times I shouldn’t have. Fie!'
  • Kathryn Whitfield - 'Fantastic story!!  I found this such an enjoyable read. A fun historical novel based around the life of the lovable character Ursula.'
  • Humaira Kauser - 'There are not many books that touch you in ways you can't describe- the books that stay with you ages after you've read them. This is one of those books.'

Synopsis

The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

One of Stylist's must-read books of 2018 'Original and charming, joyous and funny.' Tessa Hadley '...[this] debut novel sweeps us away to the world of Ursula Flight, wannabe actress and playwright in 17th-century Britain. Ursula is a spirited and funny protagonist.' Sarah Shaffi, Stylist 'ON THE 15TH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1664, A GREAT LIGHT BLOOMED IN THE DARK SKY...' Born on the night of a bad-luck comet, Ursula Flight has a difficult destiny written in the stars. Growing up with her family in the country, she is educated by a forward-thinking father who enables her to discover a love of reading, writing and astrology. Ursula dreams of becoming a famous playwright, but is devastated to learn she must instead fulfil her family's expectations and marry. Trapped and lost, Ursula plots her escape - but her freedom will come at a price. As Ursula's dangerous desires play out, both on and off the stage, she's flung into a giddy world of actors, aristocrats and artistic endeavours which will change her life irrevocably. A gutsy coming-of-age story about a spirited young woman struggling to lead a creative life, this uplifting tale vividly evokes the glittering world of Restoration-era theatre. For anyone who has ever tried to succeed against the odds, The Illumination of Ursula Flight is an inspiring journey of love and loss, heartbreak and all-consuming passion. This is a debut pulsating with life for readers of Jessie Burton, Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry.

Reviews

I find this funny, eccentric, touching novel fairly irresistible. Ursula's story is told in an inventive mix of modes, through fragments and lists and plays and letters; it's a spirited funny romp and yet it feels much more than that too - touching and urgent and vivid. It's fluent, accomplished, polished, funny and charming. -- Tessa Hadley

This 17th century coming-of-age tale is at once subversive, moving and utterly fresh and original. -- Nathan Filer

This sprightely, romping novel revels in its period: the Restoration world of Ursula Flight is presented with irresistible relish. Crowhurst's enthusiasm for her subject is contagious, and her playful handling of form shows great control and confidence. Bravo! -- Imogen Hermes Gower

This debut novel sweeps us away to the world of Ursula Flight, wannabe actress and playwright in 17th-century Britain. Ursula is a spirited and funny protagonist. -- Sarah Shaffi

A glorious book, cleverly done and lushly written with a witty, vivid heroine.-- Kiran Millwood Hargrave


About the Author

Anna-Marie Crowhurst has worked as a freelance journalist and columnist for more than 15 years, contributing to The Times, The Guardian, Time Out, Newsweek, Emerald Street and Stylist. In 2016 she studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, where her debut novel The Illumination of Ursula Flight was born. She lives in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd May 2018

Author

Anna-Marie Crowhurst

More books by Anna-Marie Crowhurst
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

Allen & Unwin

Format

Hardback
416 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Books of the Month
Relationship Stories

Historical fiction

ISBN

9781760632014

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