'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.
...abounds with ribald wit. Crowhurst has an affinity for table-turning Restoration theatre and a talent for deliciously pert dialogue. A thoroughly original work of imagination. Source: The Times
...offers a joyous romp through Restoration England, with a heroine who lingers long in the imagination after the final page. Source: Guardian
Told in Ursula's voice, interspersed with extracts from the unstaged plays into which she turns her everyday life, Crowhurst's novel is good, tongue-in-cheek fun.
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. Author: Tessa Hadley
This 17th century coming-of-age tale is at once subversive, moving and utterly fresh and original. Author: Nathan Filer
This is, without doubt, a rollicking summer read - and Ursula Flight a 17th-century feminist hero for our post-#MeToo times. Source: The Pool
This sprightly, 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! Author: Imogen Hermes Gower, author of THE MERMAID AND MRS HANCOCK
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.