HF Virtual Book Tours is delighted to introduce you to historical novelist Deborah Swift! Deborah’s acclaimed novels are set in turbulent seventeenth century England and have been described as “brilliant” and “a must for all readers looking for something out of the ordinary but grippingly alive”. Her previous life as a scenographer and costume designer shine through as the settings are beautifully evoked, immersing the reader in the sights and smells of the time.
Deborah’s multi-layered and engrossing historical adventures will make perfect picks for reading groups. Reading Group Guides can be conveniently found in the back of each book and on her website.
Find more information on Deborah’s novels below and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (£15 UK)!
The Lady’s Slipper
The King is back, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. In rural Westmorland, artist Alice Ibbetson has become captivated by the rare Lady’s Slipper orchid. She is determined to capture it’s unique beauty for posterity, even if it means stealing the flower from the land of the recently converted Quaker, Richard Wheeler. Fired by his newfound faith, the former soldier Wheeler feels bound to track down the missing orchid. Meanwhile, others are eager to lay hands on the flower, and have their own powerful motives.
Margaret Poulter, a local medicine woman, is seduced by the orchid’s mysterious herbal powers, while Geoffrey Fisk, Alice’s patron and former comrade-in-arms of Wheeler, sees the valuable plant as a way to repair his ailing fortunes and cure his own agonizing illness. Fearing that Wheeler and his friends are planning revolution, Fisk sends his son Stephen to spy on the Quakers, only for the young man to find his loyalties divided as he befriends the group he has been sent to investigate.
Then, when Alice Ibbetson is implicated in a brutal murder, she is imprisoned along with the suspected anti-royalist Wheeler. As Fisk’s sanity grows ever more precarious, and Wheeler and Alice plot their escape, a storm begins to brew, from which no party will escape unscathed. Vivid, gripping and intensely atmospheric, The Lady’s Slipper is a novel about beauty, faith and loyalty.
Praise for The Lady’s Slipper
“The novel grips from the opening lines and carries the interest throughout. The several plot-lines are seamlessly blended and come together in a wholly satisfying conclusion. Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.” – Historical Novels Review Magazine
“Recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory and Rose Tremain, as well as students of the English Civil War.” – Library Journal
“The intertwined stories of the orchid’s fate, the mounting problems between the Quakers and the King’s men, and Alice’s murder trial and its aftermath make for a riveting narrative.” – For the Love of Books Blog
The Gilded Lily
Sadie Appleby has lived all her life in her small village. One night she is rudely awoken by her older and bolder sister, Ella, who has robbed her employer and is on the run. The girls flee their rural home of Westmorland to head for London, hoping to lose themselves in the teeming city. But the dead man’s relatives are in hot pursuit, and soon a game of cat and mouse begins.
Ella becomes obsessed with the glitter and glamour of city life and sets her sights on the flamboyant man-about-town, Jay Whitgift. But nothing is what it seems – even Jay Whitgift.
Can Sadie survive a fugitive’s life in the big city? But even more pressing, can she survive life with her older sister Ella?
Set in London’s atmospheric coffee houses, the rich mansions of Whitehall, and the pawnshops, slums and rookeries hidden from rich men’s view, The Gilded Lily is about beauty and desire, about the stories we tell ourselves, and about how sisterhood can be both a burden and a saving grace.
Praise for The Gilded Lily
“There is no greater compliment than ‘Give me more!’ A delight.” – Susanna Gregory
“The Gilded Lily is impeccably written historical fiction. The detail is superb and life in London is so vividly depicted that the city seems to take on its own persona and become a lurking character in the story.” – Let Them Read Books
“A heart-rending story of two sisters on the run, searching for a better life. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, the novel drew me straight into the teeming streets of Restoration London. An addictive, page-turning read.” – Mary Sharratt
“Superb dialogue, steeped in contemporary language, adds credibility and atmosphere to this compelling tale which examines the ties that bind together siblings, the consequences of greed and ambition, the fickleness of fate and women’s constant battle to survive in a man’s world. The Gilded Lily is also a fast-paced adventure peopled with ruthless villains and feisty heroines whose exploits grab the imagination and add suspense and excitement to a historical gem.” – Lancashire Evening Post
A Divided Inheritance
UK Publication Date: October 24, 2013
Formats: Ebook, PaperbackLondon, 1609.
Formats: Ebook, PaperbackLondon, 1609.
Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her simple dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace. Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relation but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary – determined to claim the inheritance that is rightfully hers.
In the searing heat of Seville, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery and finally unlocking the true meaning of family.
Praise for A Divided Inheritance
“a true gem. It has a pacy storyline, the characters are complex, intriguing and often unexpected – and it is packed with fascinating historical fact” – Gabrielle Kimm, author of His Last Duchess
“Elegantly written, A Divided Inheritance brings the uncertainty of the seventeenth century gloriously to life in an engaging tale of determination, tenacity and family loyalty.” – Flashlight Commentary Blog
“a multifaceted tale about the consequences of religious intolerance, the expiation of guilt, the importance of family, and the appearance of unexpected love. And swordplay! The action sequences are as sharp and dazzling as Zachary’s hand-forged blade.” – Sarah Johnson, Reading the Past
Buy the Books
Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.