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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 23 September 2010
This is much more than a novel; it is also a rivetting social commentary on England in general and Westmorland in particular in the mid to late 17th century. Apart from being a super read with emotive cameos and convincing characterisation it is also the product of in depth research which accurately resurrects the countryside of a rural community steeped in folklore. The countryside plants, their properties and location come alive alongside the brutality and pragmatism of a hierarchical society. This novel deals with life and death matters, religious divisions. affairs of the heart,life at sea before the days of luxury travel and the glorious interweaving of the human condition.In some ways it is larger than life and at other times lost in the minutiae of country concerns; both scenarios are made equally compelling. This book is a must for all readers looking for something out of the ordinary but grippingly alive.
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on 10 August 2013
What an amazing book. Although I read a variety of genres, I do enjoy historical fiction, and this was an incredibly well-researched and well-written book. Deborah Swift has the ability to write descriptive prose which really does conjure up a picture in your mind - in glorious technicolour. Her writing flows effortlessly and is a joy to read. Each of her characters are brought to life and it's easy to empathise with them - even the less likeable ones. The story is complex and involved but never confusing; the many different strands of the plot weave together and you just want to read on and on. I found it difficult to put down. This is the first of Deborah Swift's novels I've read, but I will definitely be reading the others - 'The Gilded Lily' is next on my list. Fabulous.
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on 12 August 2010
Historical fiction is not what I usually read, but I found Deborah Swift's book impossible to put down - I read it in one session ending at 4am. The plot is uncomplicated but so gripping that I just had to know the end. What sustained my interested was not just the plot, but the attention to detail, the book was like a video in my head, I could see the scenes, hear the voices, sense the colours of that time in history.

This is an excellent first novel. Well done DeborahThe Lady's Slipper (Macmillan New Writing). I'll definitely read the next one.
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on 15 June 2010
I'm not usually a big fan of historical fiction, but this first novel had me gripped from the first page. With an unusual plotline, plenty of action and sympathetic characters, who stay with you after you've turned the last page, this is one to read by the pool - or a lake in Cumbria. The historical detail makes the story come to life.
I can't wait to read the sequel.
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on 17 October 2010
A fabulous book that gently draws you into the characters's lives and then has you eagerly turning the pages to find out their fate.

Deborah Swift's style of writing is fresh and elegant in its simplicity. Her love and knowledge of history is clear to see in the pages of her book; I can't wait to read her next novel.
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on 5 June 2010
It comes as no surprise to discover that Deborah Swift is a set and costume designer. Her eye for detail makes her debut a smoothly-plotted, authentic read. She keeps the strands of her story taut and I found myself unable to put The Lady's Slipper down. Deborah Swift is an author to watch.
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on 26 August 2010
Deborah Swift's debut novel gave me a rare insight into a time and age I knew very little about. An intriguing and well written story unfolds around the existence of a rare plant - The tantalizingly named Lady's Slipper. I await the second novel with pleasure.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 November 2015
Wonderful, wonderful, I adored this book. I read the stand alone sequel over a year ago, always meaning to get to this too, and the author very kindly sent me a review copy. I loved it so much I think I might have to read the sequel (The Gilded Lily) again!

The story is told most adeptly from many points of view: Alice, Richard, Margaret (I loved her section) and the troubled Geoffrey Fisk; also his son, Stephen, who begins to reject his upbringing in favour of the ways of the Quakers, the sly maid, Ella, and a couple of others. Each character was so well portrayed that I could imagine him/her immediately. The plot is unusual and well thought out, the strands work together so smoothly. I was completely absorbed in the past while reading this, taking it slowly, stopping to imagine the setting. A bonus was the part on board ship at the end; I've long been fascinated by seafarers of this time

Love, love, love Deborah Swift's writing; I'm just sad that I've read all her books now, and have to wait for her to write another!
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I love historical fiction and the English Civil War/Restoration period is fast becoming one of my favourite settings. I really enjoyed Deborah Swift's The Gilded Lily when I read it last year and vowed to read The Lady's Slipper (which is a sort of prequel).

The main character in The Lady's Slipper is Alice Ibbetson, a gentlewoman whose family fell on hard times when their home was ransacked by Cromwell's New Model Army. She entered into a marriage with Thomas Ibbetson more for practical and financial reasons than any great desire. With her marriage stale and unrewarding , Alice's turns for solace to her great love of botany and this leads her to steal a rare and fragile orchid from the land of local farmer Richard Wheeler in order to study and preserve it.

Wheeler is a very intriguing and beguiling character; a former wealthy landowner who fought for Cromwell during the war and converted to Quakerism after witnessing the horrors of battle. After giving away his large estate and purchasing a small farm, he strives to live a simple and Godly life (but is not always successful). His earnest manner and hardline views bring him into conflict with Alice, until they both realise they have far deadlier enemies

The Lady's Slipper is packed with fascinating 17th century period detail and insights into the burgeoning Quaker movement (a group which I always enjoy reading about in historical fiction). As mentioned earlier, The Gilded Lily is a sort-of sequel to TLS in that it features the adventures of Alice's maid Ella Appleby and her sister Sadie after they flee to London. I would recommend that you read the books in order if possible as the fate of several key characters from TLS is revealed at the start of TGL, but having said that I read them the other way round it didn't spoil my enjoyment at all. After finishing the book I immediately went to Amazon to see if Deborah was planning a third instalment and was really pleased to see she has another book coming out in October - A Divided Inheritance. From the synopsis it doesn't appear to feature characters from TLS or TGL, but based on how much I've enjoyed her novels so far, I'll be sure to order a copy.
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on 25 October 2010
Was delighted to follow a story which needed research and knowledge of the historic time. I enjoyed the mystery of the tale unfolding. Not predictable.
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