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Reminiscent of Year of Wonders, a captivating debut novel of fireworks, fortune, and a young woman's redemption
It is 1752 and seventeen-year-old Agnes Trussel arrives in London pregnant with an unwanted child. Lost and frightened, she finds herself at the home of Mr. J. Blacklock, a brooding fireworks maker who hires Agnes as an apprentice. As she learns to make rockets, portfires, and fiery rain, she slowly gains his trust and joins his quest to make the most spectacular fireworks the world has ever seen.
Jane Borodale offers a masterful portrayal of a relationship as mysterious and tempestuous as any the Brontës conceived. Her portrait of 1750s London is unforgettable, from the grimy streets to the inner workings of a household where little is as it seems. Through it all, the clock is ticking, for Agnes's secret will not stay secret forever.
Deeply atmospheric and intimately told from Agnes's perspective, The Book of Fires will appeal to readers of Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Waters, Sheri Holman, and Michel Faber.
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Jane Borodale is currently Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex, England. This is her first novel.Review:
"A quietly beautiful novel...elegant use of language...inventive storytelling."
"...stunning debut novel...exceptionally well-crafted, beautifully written."
-The Historical Novels Review
"Jane Borodale writes historical fiction with a twist in the tale, without sentimentality. Agnes Trussel is a heroine armed only with doggedness, ingenuity, and desperation, who marches toward her future with an intrepid spirit. An engrossing story."
-Karleen Koen, bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face
A "promising debut."
"Borodale deftly conjures up mid-18th century London in her spectacular debut...Readers who loved Jane Eyre will appreciate the atmosphere of tension and foreboding that permeates the narrative."
"Jane Borodale's captivating debut novel carried me back to a world where even strong young women had few options. Her astonishing descriptions of 18th-century England, the creation of fireworks, and the brave and determined Agnes held me happily captive there for days, and, even now, have not released their hold on me. Agnes Trussel is sure to become one of 21st-century literature's most enduring characters."
-Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader
"Jane Borodale's first novel contains a wondrous and utterly believable world built by the subtle accretion of precise detail. Young Agnes Trussel is a clever and innocent heroine. I found myself cheering when, by the end, she-and the very novel that contains her story-burst into new and luminous life."
-Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton
"Jane Borodale has a way with words that had me smelling the foul streets of 18th-century London and tasting the strange powders that went into making John Blacklock's fireworks. The story of the apprentice Agnes learning from the master Blacklock is reminiscent of The Girl with the Pearl Earring."
-Anne Easter Smith, author of A Rose for the Crown and The King's Grace
"Whether in evoking rural Sussex at a time of change or the precariousness of life in the metropolis, Jane Borodale displays a deft touch in this very pleasing story."
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Book Description Harper and Row, 2009. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Brand new copy. Seller Inventory # 031817
Book Description Harper and Row, 2009. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Brand new copy. Seller Inventory # 031818
Book Description HARPERPRESS, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Next day dispatch. International delivery available. 1000's of satisfied customers! Please contact us with any enquiries. Seller Inventory # mon0000159868
Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. 400 pages. In Stock. Seller Inventory # __0007305729
Book Description HARPERPRESS, 2009. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0007305729
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Hardback. Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Book of Fires, Jane Borodale, A stunning historical novel, 'The Book of Fires' is the unforgettable story of Agnes Trussel -- and love, fireworks and redemption. Brought up in rural Sussex, seventeen-year-old Agnes Trussel is carrying an unwanted child. Taking advantage of the death of her elderly neighbour, Agnes steals her savings and runs away to London. On her way she encounters the intriguing Lettice Talbot who promises that she will help Agnes upon their arrival. But Agnes soon becomes lost in the dark, labyrinthine city. She ends up at the household of John Blacklock, laconic firework-maker, becoming his first female assistant. The months pass and it becomes increasingly difficult for Agnes to conceal her secret. Soon she meets Cornelius Soul, seller of gunpowder, and hatches a plan which could save her from ruin. Yet why does John Blacklock so vehemently disapprove of Mr Soul? And what exactly is he keeping from her? Could the housekeeper, Mrs Blight, with her thirst for accounts of hangings, suspect her crime or condition? Historical fiction at its very best, 'The Book of Fires' is utterly intriguing, completely compelling and impossible to put down. Seller Inventory # B9780007305728