Ruth Flowers is suddenly left to fend for herself after the tragic death of her mother. Forced to flee from the Cromwell household, Ruth escapes to London in the company of Joseph Flowers, a young man with an air of mystery about him. Once in London, Ruth gets caught up in the flotsam and jetsam of life around the precincts of St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a dank, unwholesome place, filled with the great unwashed of a teeming city, but in this dark and gloomy place, Ruth finds refuge with the Poole family and becomes a serving maid to the charismatic Elizabeth Poole. Before long, Ruth is caught up in the tidal wave of political fervour which is rife in London during the years of the English civil war.
The story is wonderfully atmospheric. The sights and sounds and ever present danger of teeming London are brought vividly alive. Such is the description of seventeenth century life; I felt like I was walking the same mean streets as Ruth, and working in the same print shop as Joseph, where amongst the inks, dust and pungent smell of leather, seditious pamphlets are regurgitated onto the London streets. Based on real factual evidence, the story of Elizabeth Poole’s involvement in civil war politics is nicely blended into the story. However, for me, it was Ruth Flowers who captured my imagination and who really gave the book its heart and soul. She is a feisty protagonist, full of contradictions, as vulnerable as a kitten, but as brave as any parliamentarian soldier. Her involvement with Elizabeth Poole will be fraught with danger but will be one of the most exciting times of Ruth’s life.
From the moment I first spied the stunning cover, through to the book’s ultimate conclusion, I was completely enamoured by The Crimson Ribbon ,and really look forward to seeing what Katherine Clements will come up with next.
My thanks to Headline and Bookbridgr for my review copy of this book.
About the Author
Katherine has a passion for history and a degree in the subject. Until recently she worked for a national examination board, where she led the development and launch of the UK's first A level in Creative Writing. She has enjoyed success with her short stories and won a Historical Short Story Competition sponsored by Jerwood in 2012.