Mini book review: The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

I first heard about this book a couple of years ago when I listened to an interview between Anna-Marie Crowhurst and Jan Campbell (listen/watch here) and then totally forgot about it. Then – joy! – a few weeks ago when browsing for something new to read on the library app I have, there it was: The Illumination of Ursula Flight.

It’s about a young woman called, (surprise, surprise) Ursula Flight who was born under a comet in 1664 and destined to cause trouble. Ursula wants to be a playwright but it doesn’t life doesn’t seem to be working out that way…

I don’t think I’ve ever described a book as a “romp” before, but that’s definitely the best work to describe it. The cast of characters are really wide ranging, and they’re all really vivid. I adored Ursula and the story itself is great too – lots of turns and points where I was practically screaming at the book when characters make certain choices.

I really loved the writing style as well. Getting the tone and language right for a historical novel can be difficult, but I think she balances it well, and the use of Restoration slang at points is just perfect. Most chapters are written in “normal” prose, but there are sections that are written as if they were in a play, or there’s a section where Ursula receives some letters from admirers that had me howling and reading them out loud to my bemused boyfriend.

The Illumination of Ursula Flight is a joyful, funny, feisty, bawdy novel and I adored every page.

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