Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction About Romantic England
Writing about the late eighteenth century
My debut novel, BLACK DROP will be published by Viper, crime imprint of Serpent's Tail, in Autumn 2021.
After a more or less mis-spent youth, marked by a desire to write fiction, but with nothing at all to say, I discovered the pleasure of academic study at University, and pursued my enthusiasm for late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century literature and politics to PhD level.
I lectured in English for nearly ten years, before taking flight for Cornwall, dragging my obliging husband and hapless children behind me.
We live in a seventeenth-century house with seventeenth-century draughts, and a two acre field for our traditional breeds of sheep, poultry and the occasional pig.
The focus of my academic studies was William Cobbett, a bombastic and irrepressible journalist, who learned his trade in America, and more or less invented the popular press in England. He was a passionate believer in the 'Ancient Constitution', looking always backwards for his idea of an equitable society. This may seem strange, until we understand that – pre Marx – he did not question the existence of social hierarchies, which he saw as natural, but instead wanted each rank in society to be as well respected as any other. Or, to be more accurate, he wanted everyone to accept that everything good sprang from the labouring class!
Without the assistance of their hands, the country would be a wilderness, hardly worth the notice of an invader.
William Cobbett: The Politics of Style
Cambridge University Press, 1995
'[This] valuable book makes it possible even for those who find Cobbett's ideas in themselves too often naive, wrongheaded, or repellent, to continue to admire his art. It also goes far to account for Cobbett's undoubtedly enormous influence in his day.'
James Sambrook, Romanticism
William Cobbett: Selected Writings
6 vols., Pickering and Chatto, 1998
'These six volumes of some of Cobbett's most influential work are ... welcome ... Leonora Nattrass, who in the past has written sensitively on Cobbett's style, has chosen to omit some of his better-known works (such as Rural Rides), and concentrated on those political texts that were widely read in his lifetime, but are much less well known and less easily accessible today ... sterling work.'
London Review of Books
Finally furnished with some ideas, I began writing fiction at last, drawing on the extraordinary period after the French Revolution, and its effect on the culture and politics of England.
I am now represented by Giles Milburn of Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV and Film Agency. My debut novel, BLACK DROP will be published by Viper, crime imprint of Serpent's Tail, in Autumn 2021.
Set in the chaos of 18th-century London, Black Drop is a political thriller which draws on the real events of 1794: war with France, peace negotiations with the new American republic and the deathly 'Treason Trials'. When an English Foreign Office clerk begins to investigate the suspicious death of a friend, he uncovers a conspiracy that reaches from the battlefields of Europe to the corridors of Whitehall and the backstreets of London. And when out of desperation he rekindles an old, unwise partnership, more innocent lives are threatened and he is brought to the brink of catastrophe.