From the author of The Good Wife of Bath comes this brilliant recreation of the vibrant, optimistic but politically treacherous world of London’s Restoration theatre, where we are introduced to the remarkable playwright Aphra Behn, now a feminist icon then an anomaly, who gravitated to the stage – a place where artifice and disguise are second nature and accommodates those who do not fit in.
It’s 1679 and into the tumult, politics and colour of Restoration London and its lively theatre scene comes the fierce and opinionated Tribulation Johnson. Cast out from her family as ungodly and unworthy – Tribulation is determined to forge their own remarkable path.
Warmly welcomed by her cousin, the infamous playwright Aphra Behn, Tribulation cannot believe her good fortune as she is thrust into city life, and encouraged to read, write, think and speak for herself. When one of the female actresses at Aphra’s company falls sick, Tribulation joins the company, finally becoming a prompter with the Duke’s Company. But little does Tribulation know that Aphra, the woman she adores and seeks to emulate, has her own plans for her acolyte, ones that might put her in the path of danger. In Tribulation, Aphra sees a young woman of incredible talent – a writer, thinker and, ultimately, a honey trap who will expose the Popish Plot as a dreadful and deadly hoax and in doing so, uncover another that will help her enact a long overdue revenge.
But Tribulation is not who or what Aphra thinks either, and Tribulation has her own secrets to hide and her own reprisals to pursue…