At long last the world gets to meet Miranda Malins‘ irrepressible protagonist Frances Cornwall, in Miranda’s beautiful historical debut, The Puritan Princess (Orion Fiction / Hachette).

Born on a farm but raised in the palaces of Whitehall and Hampton Court, Frances is the youngest daughter of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, whose rise to power following the Civil War has meant that his family enjoy the trappings of seventeenth century power: sumptuous surroundings, ladies-in-waiting, royal titles. But despite her determination to forge her own way, Frances soon finds herself in the middle of a much larger political game.

London, 1657

The youngest daughter of Oliver Cromwell, eighteen-year-old Frances is finding her place at England’s new centre of power.

Following the turmoil of Civil War, a fragile sense of stability has returned to the country. Her father has risen to the unprecedented position of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and Frances has found herself transported from her humble childhood home to the sumptuous palaces of Hampton Court and Whitehall, where she dreams of a love match that must surely be found at court.

But after an assassination attempt on the Cromwell family, Frances realises the precarious danger of her position – and when her father is officially offered the crown, Frances’s fate suddenly assumes diplomatic and dynastic importance.

Will she become a political pawn, or can Frances use her new status to seize control and further her own ambitions?

The book, published in beautiful hardback, will appeal to fans of Phillipa Gregory, Anne O’Brien and Tracy Borman, while at the same time launching Miranda as a truly new exciting new voice in this market.

Miranda’s editor Victoria Oundjian says of the book: ‘The Puritan Princess is that rare book where you already know the ending and yet are so swept up in the narrative that you find yourself desperate for history to work out differently. I have been desperate to find an authentic and fresh new voice in this area of historical fiction that brings with it a fresh perspective on a period of history we all believe we know so well, whilst also giving a voice to the women behind the throne, who have been all but forgotten.

On the book, Miranda commented:

‘Cromwell’s family was overwhelmingly female (he was the only boy with seven sisters and a widowed mother) who had an extremely close and happy marriage and four lively daughters to whom he was devoted. The more I read about the girls, the more I realised that their lives were every bit as extraordinary as their father’s; particularly those of the youngest two Mary and Frances who lived as unmarried princesses at their father’s court, wooed by nobles and princes including the exiled Charles Stuart (future King Charles II) himself. When I saw how bound up their courtship was with the question of their father’s kingship, I knew I had found a great story that had to be told.’

We were supposed to be gathering to celebrate her publication last night, but for obvious reasons weren’t able to. However, the love for this book is strong and whether or not there was a party last night in its honour, this really is the launch of a hugely exciting career. To mark the occasion, Orion organised a Q&A with Miranda last week – catch up with it here:

Miranda is a novelist and historian specialising in the history of Oliver Cromwell, his family and the Interregnum. She studied at Cambridge University, leaving with a PhD in 2010, and continues to speak at conferences and publish journal articles and book reviews. She is a Trustee of the Cromwell Association and manages their social media presence. Miranda works as a commercial solicitor in the City and began writing novels on maternity leave. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, son, and cat Keats.