Excerpt: The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

Happy New Year 2019 everyone!!!

We are back at the blogging hustle. And what a day to come back on – it’s my birthday today!

But that’s not why I am here. I am here to share the good news of The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst. Many thanks to Kristy over at Allen and Unwin for inviting me to the blog tour.


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About the book:

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.


Excerpt:

 

CONVERSATION
In which I have dinner and am mischievous

The Blacklocks and the Ditchbornes were coming to sup with Mother and Father and as a great treat I was being allowed to sit up with them for the evening. Since I had turned fourteen, my mother had begun to let me do this now and then – dining in company would help my manners, she said, for she was keen that I learn the skills I would need when one day I played hostess myself. Father said at my stage of learning Italian, it would do me good to converse in that language with Lord Ditchborne,
who had used it in his days as a travelling merchant, before he was risen up by the King. We rehearsed a few little phrases together, that I might politely insert into my conversation. It had been a dull sort of day, and to distract myself from thoughts of romance I had roamed restlessly about the fields – Mary had been confined to her cottage, made prisoner by her mother amongst the hurly burly of her many small brothers and sisters, and I had no luck getting any sort of cake from Eliza, who was in a fluster at the coming of the guests and much given to smoothing down her apron.
I banged the gate as loud as I dared and stamped about, looking for the countryside treasures I liked to collect: bright coloured pebbles, speckled feathers, the dried skulls of dead birds (I had found one of a crow, turned it upside down and used it as an ink pot). I stood by the pig-pen and watched the sows sleeping all in a row. Their bristled bellies rose and fell, their snouts hanging open and issuing sonorous snores: they were very sweet indeed. I went inside and tried to write a sonnet about them
(Father and I had been reading Petrarch and I had been experiencing poetic urges), but I could not get the sound of their grunting, nor the look of their soft little snouts into the rhyme, which was restrictive in its rhythm and form.
By the time I had emerged from my hiding place in the scullery, and allowed myself to be found drifting about near the parlour, Mother was in a great pet at my disappearance, her hair escaping from its combs. Her voice was a taut shrill thing as she bade Joan chaperone my washing, before hurrying me into a better gown that did not have mud on the hem and ink blotches at the sleeves.


Ursula sounds like a rebel, doesn’t she? Well, we’ll have to read her story to see what she’s upto next. I think I might like Ursula, and who knows we might become friends too.


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.

 

Thank you to Allen and Unwin UK for letting me be a part of the blog tour.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs who are taking part in this blog tour!

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