Margaret the First: A Novel
One of both Flavorwire and The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2016
Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when being a writer” was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen’s attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England: at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was Mad Madge,” an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of Londona mainstay of the Scientific Revolutionand the last for another two hundred years.
Margaret the First is very much a contemporary novel set in the past. Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new narrative approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.