Elizabeth Blackwell, one bold woman
My new novel is based on the life of Elizabeth Blackwell, a feisty girl who elopes with local boy, Alexander from Scotland to early eighteenth century London. Bawdy, filthy and fun, Soho is a thrilling place to start a new life with her handsome but filighty spouse. Weaving fact and fiction, I tell the story of their rollercoaster life. Alexander buys a print shop but falls foul of the Guilds. Imprisoned in Marshalsea debtors jail, Elizabeth determines to buy his freedom though she has few contacts or ideas. Creative and tenacious, she persuades Sir Hans Sloane to give her access to Chelsea Physic Garden specimens and starts to engrave and paint herbs while also descriving their uses in the treatment of everyday illnesses. The 'herbals' sell like hot cakes. People love her work; it's clear and helpful. Elizabeth makes enough money to settle Alexander's debts. But this charismatic but troubled man cannot settle. Once again, he gets involved in dodgy dealings, setting in motion events he cannot control. But can Elizabeth save him this time?
The Curious Life of Elizabeth Blackwell is published by Bloodhound Books on 25 October 2022.