Blog tour: The Low Road

Welcome to the blog tour for The Low Road by Katharine Quarmby!

More about the book…

Norfolk, 1813. In the quiet Waveney Valley, the body of a woman – Mary Tyrell – is staked through the heart after her death by suicide. She had been under arrest for the suspected murder of her new-born child. Mary leaves behind a young daughter, Hannah, who is later sent away to the Refuge for the Destitute in London, where she will be trained for a life of domestic service.

It is at the Refuge that Hannah meets Annie Simpkins, a fellow resident, and together they forge a friendship that deepens into passionate love. But the strength of this bond is put to the test when the girls are caught stealing from the Refuge's laundry, and they are sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, setting them on separate paths that may never cross again.

Drawing on real events, The Low Road is a gripping, atmospheric tale that brings to life the forgotten voices of the past – convicts, servants, the rural poor – as well as a moving evocation of love that blossomed in the face of prejudice and ill fortune.

More about the author…

Katharine Quarmby has written non-fiction, short stories and books for children.

The Low Road is her first novel.

Her non-fiction works include Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People and No Place to Call Home: Inside the Real Lives of Gypsies and Travellers.

She is also an investigative journalist and editor, with particular interests in disability, the environment, race and ethnicity, and the care system.

Katharine lives in London.

Katharine's family moved to Harleston, Norfolk, when she was seven. She still retains links with the area and she is a member of the local Historical Society.

The book came about when Katharine and her family, all good walkers, discovered a new local walk which brought them across the tragic story of Mary Tyrell. Katharine researched the book whilst resident in Harleston making many visits to local archives and museums.

My impressions…

I have recently been reading more historical fiction than ever before, and this is a great example of it. The sense of time and place seems to have achieved so effortlessly that it is sure to be the result of a meticulous work of research. The story of Hannah is one of hardships, but she shows a determination that I can’t but admire, and I will be thinking about her for some time to come.

Three words to describe it. Evocative. Well-researched. Haunting.

Do I like the cover? I love it!

Have I read any other books by the same author? This is her first novel, and I haven’t read any of other work.





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