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The Glovemaker

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  697 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
It is 1649. Charles I has been beheaded, Cromwell is running the country, and a new law targeting unwed mothers and lewd women has been passed. A law that presumes that anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder.

When a dead infant is found buried behind the Smithfield slaughterhouse, all fingers point to thirty-nine year old glover's assis
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Arrow (first published February 14th 2012)
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Accidents of Providence was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

1.5 stars
Accidents of Providence is a historical fiction novel which tells the story of Rachel Lockyer’s arrest after she is accused of killing a newborn child that was found buried in the woods. The novel started off a little dry and the storyline wasn’t in the least bit interesting, but I suppose that should be expected with historical fiction. There was a bit of a mystery going on so that helped make
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Poorly written puffed up drivel. Barely a plot. What a dry way to look at politics in the 1640s, not sure if it's a boring period of history or the author just couldn't deliver. Felt no excitement, no sadness, attachment or sympathy towards Rachel. Only character with a bit of spirit was Elizabeth and even she was lacking. Would not recommend.
Paula  Phillips
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another 2012 release, the second one in the Read-A-Thon and from Netgalley. When it comes to reading, I'm one of those few people that can say I read alot but when it comes to the historical fiction genre, it's not something that tends to grab me unless the storyline is interesting and that is what happened with Accidents of Providence. It's the year 1649 in England , King Charles has been beheaded for Treason and laws are being brought in left,right and centre. In the first chapter we meet Mary ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I was kindly supplied with this book by Netgalley to review, I've had some great reads through there and discovered some super new authors. What attracted me to read this one was the description which likened it to Fingersmith and The Dress Lodger both books I really loved. The cover looks enticing and the basic principal of the storyline sounds interesting.

I wanted to love this too, I really did - but sadly it missed the mark completely. Its a historical account of an investigation into a dead
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-fic
Seventeenth century London. Apprentice Rachel Lockyer has been arrested for the murder of her newborn child, reported by her own mistress, the glovemaker Mary du Gard, who saw her burying the baby in the woods. Thomas Bartwain, criminal investigator for the city, reviews the evidence in the case, which he calls "open and shut", but he can't shake the strong sense of unease that dogs him when he submits it for indictment. Rachel will not speak in her own defense, refusing to admit she was pregnan ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I picked up this story on the heels of the recent Casey Anthony murder trial... and though the coincidence added to the intrigue, this didn't come out a winner for me.

It's Cromwell's England and I learned about this time from this novel; how women were flogged for having bastard babies, how the fathers were ridiculed, how the babies were treated by society.. The Levelers.. never heard of them till now so that was all new and interesting to me, to a point.

The book got bogged down in politics some
This novel seemed to start out well enough, the writing initially appeared well polished, the introduction of characters was logical, the interjection of law and history of the period set the stage for the drama of the story to unfold.

Unfortunately by page eighty-five I felt the author had given up on revealing the characters and events and instead resorted to telling the reader what happened. I like books where the details of events are shared so that I can imagine what it might have been like
This isn't really a mystery, it's more of a thought-piece about a infant-killing in 1649 London. At that time, if an illegitimate child was stillborn the mother was safe, but if the child died (or was murdered) after being born, the mother was sentenced to death. Rachel is one such unwed mother who has - apparently - killed her newborn daughter and buried the body at night. That much is known, but the why is not known, nor is it ever established that the child was born alive.

Throughout the book
Holly Weiss
Review originally posted on

An open and shut case. That’s what the prosecutor said. She murdered the infant and she will hang. Infant murder trials, quite prevalent in seventeenth century England were akin to the witch-hunts in colonial America.

The remarkable story of Rachel Lockyer, unmarried glove maker and her lover, William Walwyn, is set against the English civil war of 1649. After King Charles is beheaded, Oliver Cromwell’s army and the Puritans run the country. The Levelers
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mid-seventeenth century was not an easy time for women. Women had no legal status other than property of their husbands or fathers. To make matters worse, the government had passed a law that accused any unwed mother of murder if her child died during or shortly after childbirth and no witnesses were available at the birth. Rachel is in her mid-thirties and has suffered the hanging death of her younger brother. Her mother is a staunch Catholic and offers no respite to Rachel during her pregn ...more
This book was provided to me by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for a fair review. “Accidents of Providence” was a surprisingly good read. When I was an undergrad, I took a whole class on women and the legal system in early modern England so this book really appealed to me. It was completely different than any novel I have read and was more like a non-fictional account than a fictional one. This changed towards the end but for the most part I could completely envision this as being a histo ...more
Deanna Beaton
Mar 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. So much, in fact, that I actually read the whole thing. (I routinely stop reading books I don't like; blasphemous to some, but there are just too many good books in the world to keep reading bad ones!)

I read it in just a couple of hours. I skimmed over the parts that weren't directly involved with the Rachel plot line. There weren't even any other sub plot lines; it was just a bunch of historical context with the civil war. That was a good idea, but we really don't ne
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a really hard time putting this one down. I found myself really drawn into the characters and the plot.

A few "bedroom scenes" I didn't feel were pertinent to the plot or in building emotional depth in the characters, but easily skimmed over.

Based the mid-seventeenth century, an unwed woman has an affair with a married man and finds herself pregnant. This was a time in history when women were merely property of their husbands where the law was concerned. And any "bastard" child was worth n
Donna Ludovico
This is a quick read about a difficult subject. Rachel is a single woman of advancing age, with no family support, trying to provide for herself in 1600's England who finds herself pregnant by a charismatic, idealistic married man who is currently jailed for his politics. In 2012 America I sometimes think we "accept" too much. At work I see babies born into heartbreaking situations and regulations bending over backwards to support their birth mothers. After reading this book I feel that if we mu ...more
Sharon Miller
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an excellent work of Historical Fiction. Finely crafted, writerly prose, deft use of poetic metaphor, and a very good glass into the 17th century. The main character is deeply engaging, the mystery builds with a page-turning intrigue that more than kept my attention. The research of the author shows in the exquisite historical details. I really was moved by this book and I felt like I spent some time in the strange and unsettling English Interregnum. A good book for students o ...more
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hi-fi, religion, uk
Solid 4 stars. One thing I really loved about this book, and well-done historical fiction in general, is that I can learn about history in such an enjoyable way. Granted, the subject matter isn't all rainbows and daisies, but I really enjoyed learning about what life was like for the every day woman in this time period. Although I enjoyed all of the information in this book, it was actually very disturbing too. I was struck by how much the legal system has evolved, as well as the tremendous weig ...more
Sandra Dickenson
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If one of your virtues is patience you may very well enjoy this book. I certainly did. The opening chapters may seem tedious to some. The crime is described right off. Next the lives of the observers, witnesses and participant unfold. What is unusual is the facts fit the crime but the reader is left with serious doubt if a crime was actually committed. This is a thought provoking book and for some this will take too much effort to read. If I were to choose one word to describe this book's theme ...more
Georgiana 1792
Una legge intransigente

Nel 1628, dopo tre anni di regno, Carlo I Stewart, il sovrano inglese, intraprese un’autentica prova di forza per questioni fiscali con il Parlamento, che portarono la nazione alla guerra civile. Si formarono quattro partiti: gli indipendenti e i presbiteriani, che volevano ancora il re, gli Zappatori e i Livellatori, che appoggiavano il Parlamento e Cromwell. La prima fase della guerra si concluse nel 1649 con l’esecuzione del sovrano e la creazione della repubblica di In
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This surprisingly interesting historical fiction, circa 1649 in London, is based on the author's dissertation. Brown definitely did her research into the period and provides an encapsulated but accurate picture of the times. While it drags a bit in places, the surprise ending was a bit of icing on the cake.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good read. Pretty depressing but that is how things were back then. Stacia is a a wonderful writer. Really glad I read it.
Karen White
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book at the suggestion of Jennifer from, who set up a readalong so she’d have people to talk about it with. So glad I joined in. I agree, it warrants discussion. Without the readalong, I might never have gotten to it.

This is a debut novel from Stacia Brown, but you’d never know it. Her incorporation of historical detail, including real legal case histories, is blended seamlessly with the imaginings from her own fertile mind. I found the prose to be a bit intelle
Jenny Q
Jun 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I was looking forward to this book because the English Civil War is a period of time I'd like to read more about, but the Civil War is really more of a backdrop in this case, as the book focuses on a fictional murder trial and the people involved, and how the Levelers turned it into propaganda to further their cause. The story is narrated alternately by Rachel Lockyer, on trial for murdering her bastard child; her lover William Walwyn, a Leveler leader; Thomas Bartwain, the criminal investigator ...more
LUMINOUS. Stacia M. Brown's debut novel pulled me into mid-seventeenth century England and would not let me go until there were no more pages to read. I was absolutely captivated, from first sentence to last.

Under the 1624 Act to Prevent the Destroying and Murdering of Bastard Children, any woman who concealed the death of her illegitimate child was to be charged with the murder of that child, unless there was at least one witness that the child was born dead. Many women were tried under this la
Bonnie Brody
Accidents of Providence by Stacia M. Brown is an interesting novel set in London in the mid-1600's. England is fraught with political turmoil as different parties fight for power while the country is at war. There are the diggers, levelers, Cromwell supporters as well as dissonance between the various religions - puritans, Catholics, Anglicans, Calvinists, protestants, and Huguenots. The author is very good at portraying the ambience of London at the time - the crowded streets, the stench of unw ...more
I enjoyed the historical backdrop to Accidents of Providence, 17th century Commonwealth England under the strict control of Puritan Oliver Cromwell following the execution of Charles I. There was much detail regarding the political and religious unrest of the time, the role of political agitators, the Levellers, and the shocking social plight of women, The story evolves from the draconian 1624 "Act to Prevent the Destroying and Murdering of Bastard Children."

After an extended, passionate affair
Cynthia Mcarthur
Set in England during the interregnum, Accidents of Providence follows Rachel Lockyer, a glove maker’s apprentice accused of murdering her illegitimate child. After moving to London, Rachel and her brother Robert become acquainted with the society called the Levellers, who are unhappy that the war which beheaded their king, and should have freed the common people, seems to have stopped with Cromwell. The Levellers are considered malcontents, and in consequence their leaders are prolific pamphle ...more
*Check out for other reviews and sundry thoughts!*

In a luminous and sensitive debut, Stacia M. Brown brings to life a love affair, a mystery and a murder trial, all set against the turbulent backdrop of Oliver Cromwell's England. It's 1649, and the realm is under Puritan law. When glove-maker Rachel Lockyer's employer spies Rachel burying a dead newborn, she assumes the worst and reports Rachel to the authorities.

Accused of infanticide in a legal system where the bu
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1649, the location London. Oliver Cromwell has defeated the King, Charles I, and religion now is the ruler of England. In this time and place, women are considered playthings of the Devil, and their wickedness must be controlled.

One late night, Rachel Lockyer is observed by her employer burying something. The employer goes back the next morning and discovers a dead newborn. Rachel is arrested and the book follows her case. If a woman has a child out of wedlock, she can be stripped a
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Accidents of Providence” is a work of fiction set in the Cromwellian era of 1649, with characters based on some historical figures. In it Ms. Brown tells the story of Rachel Lockyer, a young unmarried woman, a glove-maker’s assistant, who gets pregnant. When her child dies – it is unclear whether it is still-born or not, she is targeted by Cromwell’s strict laws for “lewd women”, particularly the “Act to Prevent the Destroying and Murdering of Bastard Children(1624)”. Rachel is arrested and Tho ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accidents of Providence is about Rachel Lockyer, a woman who is arrested for killing a baby and then hiding it in the woods. It is set in 17th century England and really gives a detailed look at a trial from this time. The other main characters are Rachel's lover William Walwyn, her friend Elzabeth Lillburne, and the man investigating the crime, Thomas Bartwain. Most of the book is spent describing the trial and the mystery of what actually happened the night the child was born.

I thought Stacia
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“...all the thousands of God's children who have flung themselves, stupid and glorious, over and over, into the best and worst of things, loving whom they should not, seizing what they must not, running where they cannot, falling where there is no one to catch them - how this serves the betterment or edification of the species is not clear; people do it regardless. People have always done it.” 1 likes
“Now they were sixtyish and gray and almost as wide as they were tall, and so accustomed to each other's habits that whenever he sneezed, she blew her nose.” 1 likes
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