Honestly. What a beautiful story. A book which tackles the history of women, and how one woman can make her dreams come true.
But in an era where women are degraded, and can only speak when spoken to, The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna- Marie Crowhurst provides an unforgettable message.
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 like irrevocably.
I genuinely found myself snatching time to read a chapter here and there
The chapter’s themselves are quite short, so despite its length, Ursula Flight is relatively quick to get through. There are also regular chapters which are split into plays and notes from the character, which make it so difficult to put down. There were so many occasions where I said I would only read for 20 minutes, and when I got to the chapter end and the next part was a play, I would read through the play and then put the book down. I genuinely found myself snatching time to read a chapter here and there.
Ursula Flight is one of those ones where it’s impossible not to get attached to the characters. I honestly felt my heart break near the end and feel all the highs and lows throughout.
I’m someone who very much reads a lot of thrillers, and gets very used to the short, quick sentences which act as a page-turner. But what a delight to be moved, both by the story itself, or the descriptions of such simple things. Crowhurst makes a child running around fields playing as a child, turn into an adventure of rose-tinted happiness. The writing is breathtakingly beautiful. Also, the language is well reflected of the era, so props to Crowhurst for nailing this detail.
With themes of love and loss, heartbreak and all-consuming passion set in the Charles II reign, The Illumination of Ursula Flight is a wonderful story with a powerful message. For fans of Jessie Burton, Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry.
A Bookmark That recommended read for all.
The Illumination of Ursula Flight, Anna-Marie Crowhurst, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Allen & Unwin