To the Fair Land

Lucienne Boyce

Historical, Fiction
In 1789 struggling writer Ben Dearlove rescues a woman from a furious Covent Garden mob. The woman is ill and in her delirium cries out the name “Miranda”. Weeks later an anonymous novel about the voyage of the Miranda to the fabled Great Southern Continent causes a sensation. Ben decides to find the author everyone is talking about. He is sure the woman can help him – but she has disappeared. It is soon clear that Ben is involved in something more dangerous than the search for a reclusive writer. Who is the woman and what is she running from? Who is following Ben? And what is the Admiralty trying to hide? Before he can discover the shocking truth, Ben has to get out of prison, catch a thief, and bring a murderer to justice.

This book contains:

  • attempted rape
  • incest
  • sexism appropriate for the age it’s set in.

This book is a bit of a mixture of following Ben Dearlove, and Sarah Edgecombe. I’m not sure if it’s because I had an advanced copy and so the formatting tends to be minimal, but I did struggle at times to identify when we were following Ben or Sarah.

Ben is the son of an apothecary but aspiring to be an author in London. Meanwhile, Sarah is the daughter of a merchant trying to live her best life in a world that isn’t kind to women.

While Ben is working on his first novel in London, a new novel is published and garners instant success. In an effort to earn money for himself so he can stay in London, Ben goes on a mission to find the author so that they can be offered a deal for a second book and he can collect a finder’s fee.

While on his mission to find the author, he’s faced with many challenges. Even when he finds the author, learns the truth and we fast forward a (few?) years, he’s still left with questions that never quite get satisfactorily answered.

My only problems with this book was that it felt a little slow paced (not at ALL helped by my supreme lack of reading time) and because of the formatting (already mentioned that this may have been an issue because I had an Advanced Reading Copy) I struggled to follow what was happening at times. I think the most obvious points where the formatting lacked was when we changed who we were following and when it was.

As a book that I could pick up for 5-10 minutes and then put down for sometimes days at a time (damn work hit me hard!) it was great. The pacing wasn’t so fast, complex or detailed that those gaps and small reading times made it difficult. It was probably one of the better books for me to read during this time because I’m not sure I could’ve enjoyed any other book when it took me that long to read it.

At the same time, I don’t think it’d be any less enjoyable reading it at a faster pace. It’s one of those stories that’s so well written that no matter how much, or little, time you have to read each week, you can enjoy the story for what it is. It’s an intriguing story that feels part fantasy, part history and part inspiration that is just so enjoyable and relaxing. Yes, even in a time of rampant death, it was relaxing!

Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA in English Literature, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical novel, To The Fair Land (SilverWood Books, 2012, reissued 2021), an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.

Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (SilverWood Books, 2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, was published in 2017 and was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction, was published in 2019 and is also an IndieBrag Medallion honoree, recipient of Chill With a Books Premium Readers’ Award, and a joint Discovering Diamonds Book of the Month. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was trade published by SBooks.

In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes (SilverWood Books), a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. In 2017 she published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign.


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