A remarkable, sparkling historical novel by the author of A Catch of Consequence.
Diana Norman's second book for us is another brilliant, stylish historical novel. Even though it is set in the eighteenth century, this novel, like her previous one, A Catch of Consequence, has rare contemporary echoes.
Two women, both searching for apparently missing people, meet in the chaos of wartime Plymouth. Britain is at war with the French and the rebellious American colonies. But where the French captured by the British navy are recognized prisoners of war, the Americans are the non-combatants of their era.
One woman, a young aristocrat recently saved by the death of her husband from a brutal marriage, is searching for the imprisoned son of a colonial friend: the other, a self-made woman, is looking for her daughter and companions, rescued from their destroyed ship but somehow lost on arrival in Britain.
The journey of discovery both women make through docks and prisons, government offices and brothels, palatial houses and smugglers hideaways, not only allows them to find the missing persons but also to forge an unlikely friendship and to find remarkable lovers. Finding liberty for others leads them to splendid liberty for themselves.
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‘Diana Norman creates an exhilarating sense of these times and their possibilities.’ Daily Telegraph
‘A sparkling historical novel.’ Sunday Tribune
‘Diana Norman wears her erudition lightly…Moves at a cracking pace with a stunning denouement.’ The TimesFrom the Back Cover:
She had been a dignified wife, ever mindful of her husband's status, even if she could not respect the man. But now, however young, she was the Dowager Countess, so Diana felt that she had earned her freedom. When a friend now living in the American colonies appealed for help to find her missing son, caught up in the colonial struggle, she was determined to respond whatever her family felt.
Diana Stacpoole's search takes her to Plymouth, only to meet another and very different woman searching for her young daughter. Outraged at the conditions in which the American prisoners – not being given prisoner of war status, the non-combatants of their era – were kept, the two women from such opposite backgrounds form an unlikely alliance to improve the prison conditions, outwit the authorities and assist their friends to escape.
But how can the highly controlled aristocrat, with her assumptions of privilege and respect come to terms with Makepeace Hedley, the former innkeeper and now outspoken owner of one of England's richest mines, with her passion for liberty and freedom for all? The changes in both of them allow them to become remarkable friends, defying family pressure, social outrage and political scandal, to ally themselves with libertarians, French prisoners, English smugglers and American escapers. Finding liberty for others leads them to splendid liberty for themselves.
'Taking Liberties' is an unusual novel and a delight to read. It may be set in a historical period but the contemporary echoes are vivid and clear. Diana Norman has written an excellent successor to 'A Catch of Consequence'.
PRAISE FOR DIANA NORMAN AND HER BOOKS:
"Diana Norman is quite simply splendid."
"Cracking historical novels."
"Drama, passion, intrigue and danger. I loved it and didn't want it to end ever."
"It's all good, dirty fun shot through with more serious insights into the historical treatment of women and perhaps, in its association of sex, sleaze, greed and politics, not so far removed from present realities after all."
'Independent on Sunday'
"Diana Norman creates an exhilarating sense of these times and their possibilities."
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0007105460. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007105465
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007105460
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007105460