Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Smallest Man” as Want to Read:
The Smallest Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Smallest Man

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  144 reviews
‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’

A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll Factory, The Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.

My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the l
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Simon & Schuster
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Smallest Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Smallest Man

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  346 ratings  ·  144 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Smallest Man
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Smallest Man is a fascinating story of an unusual man during the 17th-century reign of King Charles I of England. The religious conflict in Europe seemed focused on England and Charles was the King who contributed to England’s descent into civil war. The resulting Interregnum years when Parliament ruled under Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of Charles II, is one of the most tumultuous periods in English history. The fictional narrative plays on the backdrop of King Charles
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting debut which takes the reader to the 17th century England and whose central character is based on a historic figure Sir Jeffrey Hudson who was immortalised by van Dyke in a portrait together with the Queen of England.
The main character, who is the narrator, Nat Davy, is a dwarf, born to a poor family, loved by his mother and brother, not by his father alas, who literally sells him to the Duke of Buckingham. This is the turning point for Nat whose fate changes for better it seems. T
Although inspired by the true story of Jeffrey Hudson, court dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria, in her author’s note Frances Quinn emphasises that The Smallest Man is ‘a novel, not a fictionalized biography’ and that Nat Davy is a ‘figment of her imagination’. Oh, but what a wonderful figment of the imagination he is!

I defy anyone not to be moved by young Nat’s gradual realisation that he’s not like other boys, his attempts to make himself taller, or his desire to prove he can be just as useful on
Ellery Adams
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wonderful historical fiction. In many ways, Nat had the same courage and conviction as Bilbo Baggins. I rooted for him from page 1 and loved this book's overall message about being comfortable in one's own skin. ...more
Finitha Jose
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you search for the stories of Tudor queens, you may find an entire library. Sadly, the popularity of the Stuarts is nowhere near and needless to say this book took me by surprise. Poor old Charles is often ignored, so who cares about his French queen who has come to love England as her own home? Well, I don't think anyone can forget the name Henrietta Maria after this or Nat Davy for that matter.
A bird's eye view of the Caroline age through the eyes of the Queen's dwarf, that is what this st
Fiction Addition Angela
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm always searching for stories about Tudor Kings and Tudor queens, I have lots of books because I love this timeframe in history. Unfortunately I have only read a couple of books on the Stuarts, and so I have to say this book was a nice surprise. King Charles is often ignored, and with reason I believe.

At the time of listening to this, I realised I was one who didn't care about his French queen. I thought she was always an outsider, as I knew their marriage had started off like that.

But now I
Louise Fein
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great memorable books are made by great, memorable characters. Frances Quinn’s Nat Davy is such a character. The Smallest Man is a beautiful, heartwarming tale, weaving history and fiction intricately and seamlessly. I was routing for Nat from the first page. Quinn shows us how a big heart and strength of character can lead anyone, perceived disability or not, to achieve great things, and that kindness and compassion are the most important of human qualities. I loved this book.
Joanna Park
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Smallest Man is a very absorbing, gripping piece of historical fiction set in a fascinating period of English history.

Firstly Nat Davy, the books narrator, is a wonderful character that I grew very fond of during the story. It was heart warming to see his brave attempts to try and be like the other boys his age, though heartbreaking to see the constant set back he suffers. I often wished I could reach into the book and give him a hug or stand up for him in some way. His bravery and the way h
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Spanning the decades and told by Nat, it begins with 10 year old Nathanial Davy and his family attending a fair in the Rutland town of Oakham. He was used to being stared at and regarded as an oddity because of his unusually small size. But he thought that he would grow however it was that night at the fair that he discovered that he never would.

Nat’s family was poor and his father was a bully. Nat was no use to him so his fate would have been to end up being part of a freak show. Luckily for Na
Gianna Lorandi
Nat is a dwarf in 17th England. Born to a poor family and sold to a Duke by his father, he soon finds himself in the middle of court life.
I loved Nat's character, he's got such a strength of character! I also liked the way the author portrayed the life of a small man in the 17th. My only criticism would be that the language and choice of words didn't really work with the rest of the book, could have been a bit more polished and less tv series-like.
All in all a lovely debut and would recommend to
Alyssia Cooke
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that really caught me to begin with, and I flew through it at a rate of knots, but I have to say the first two sections are far more compelling than the conclusion which felt a little rushed and underdone. I suspect that this is partly because whilst the first section builds up the characters and the time period, and the second section really builds up the politics and unrest of the time, the first section was more based on Nat's adventures and a romance that seemed wh ...more
Jen (
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
First book of 2021: The Smallest Man. And what a little delight this was.

Right, ready for the TL;DR? Go.

✨ Set in 17th-century ye olde England with kings, queens, war on horses and all that jazz
✨ Based on a real story but fictional so make-believe with a pinch of actuality which is nice
✨ Your dad is a prick but that’s fairly standard for those times I guess

Your main man is Nat Davy. A 10-year old Dwarf born into a poor family who’s convinced a circus faerie can help him grow. That wee trip gave d
Tim Ewins
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of strength, hope, and what it really means to be different in an unaccepting world. If Quinn doesn’t win a series of awards for this book, there is something seriously wrong with the system.

I looked forward to reading about Nat Davy all day, and then at night, when I had a chance to read, I read well past my bedtime and regretted it in the mornings. Easily my favourite book of the year (and I read an advance copy towards the end of 2020).

It's so easy to read, and it feels lik
the smallest man

Visit the locations in the novel The Smallest Man

A novel to place you in the English Royal Court

I had never heard of the man this book is about but I can honestly say that his story was remarkable and I have since gone on to read a bit more about him. The main in question was Jeffery Hudson.

Jeffery was the court dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria. The author does say that this is a novel and not a fictionalized biography’ and that Nat Davy is a ‘figment of her imagination’. Nevertheless, this is q
Kylie Porter
Feb 26, 2021 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first half to two-thirds of this book. Great time period to explore from this perspective. I did find the last section was rushed and didn't have the same emotional connection to Nat, as the first part. Easy to read which I wasn't expecting when I read it was set in 1645. ...more
Melanie Lewis
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible-books
Being only 4'10" myself, (on a good day, with the wind behind me, if you squint), I was very interested in a book about the smallest man. I have to say it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. Ms Quinn presents us with a highly accomplished book. She creates the atmosphere of 1625 wonderfully and I had no problem in seeing everything she wrote about in my mind's eye. Her attention to detail was exquisite and it's impossible to decide whether I preferred her elegant descriptions of places or h ...more
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book was loosely inspired by the life of Jeffrey Hudson, court dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I. It turns out that what we know of Jeffrey’s life was really quite fascinating and Quinn has done a fantastic job of filling in the gaps although this is clearly a work of fiction and by straying far beyond the what is known has created a very entertaining tale!

Jeffrey is replaced with Nat in Quinn’s story, a dwarf who is sold into the service of Queen Henrietta Maria b
Rachel Bridgeman
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: november-20
This is a book which will be talked about, handed to friends and raved over for it's pureness if heart, clearness of vision and first person narrator, Nat Davy.

His unique perspective on the turbulent times that he lives in comes through so succinctly that from page one you can 'hear' his voice clear as a bell.

As a small confession, I find historical fiction a bit hit and miss, it's an area I am trying to read more from to try and pinpoint what I do and don't like as a reader. And I think it's be
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Smallest Man is a very special book. It’s beautifully written and wonderfully heartwarming. Frances’ descriptions are so realistic and I felt real empathy for Nat throughout the entirety of the novel. She has an amazing way with words – her writing is captivating and I felt a real sense of inclusion in the time period and in Nat’s world.

The book is told in three parts and at the end of each part a change occurs for Nat. It’s usually to do with his circumstances but I don’t want to give too m
A.J. Sefton
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming tale about a dwarf who finds himself the friend of the Queen of England during the English Civil War. The queen is French and married to King Charles I - and for those of you who don't know, he ended up being beheaded.

The first part of the book runs like a lovely gentle Disney film. Sold by his father, the boy who didn't grow has to cope with bullying as well as the practicalities of not being able to do what boys of his age did, but he overcomes his obstacles and manages to make and
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this audiobook about The Smallest Man in England during the 1600s. It’s a fictionalised account of the life of Jeffrey Hudson, who I had to Google to discover more about him, as I’d never heard of him before.

I do love historical fiction and this ticked all the boxes for a fascinating story about life in England during the reign of King Charles I. I knew a bit about King Charles but nothing about his French wife Queen Henrietta Maria. I loved hearing about the queen, her court an
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nathaniel Davy is the smallest man in England, and at the tender age of 10 years old escapes being sold to the circus, but for a few shillings more is sold as a gift to Henrietta Maria, the young Queen to Charles 1.
He soon becomes the Queen's favourite and with a few friends adapts to his new life at court.
But as the country descends into civil war, Nat embarks on his biggest adventure yet.
I really enjoyed this story. It's loosely based on the story of Jeffrey Hudson, the real Queen's dwarf.
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC of The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn. I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. It had me fascinated with Nat Davy's story from the offset and I could hardly put the book down.
Opening in 17th century England, it follows a fascinating story of England's smallest man being sold to royalty from a young age and overcoming many obstacles during his life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by true events during the reign of Charles I and Cromwell's takeover of the country, this is the story of Nat Davy, the smallest man in England. From a lowly country boy destined to become a fairground attraction, he finds himself at the royal court, as part of the queen's entourage. Well written, with a variety of characters that come to life on the pages, this is perfect for fans of historical fiction. ...more
Wendy Robey
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
A joy to read and learn about Nat Davy - the smallest man in England, who proved time and time again, that size doesn’t matter. His bravery and loyalty to his friends made his character come alive, and his relationships with Henry, Jeremiah and Arabella were great to read about. This historical elements of Cromwell’s time were described in fascinating detail and helped to prove to Nat his value as a person rather than an object of ridicule.
I love novels set during the English Civil War and this approaches it from a fascinating perspective - from that of the Queen Henrietta Maria's dwarf - a real person, here fictionalised as Nat - who experiences the lows and highs of 17th-century life. The audiobook is beautifully read by Alex Wingfield. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights. ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Smallest Man is historical fiction set in the 17th century and is a fictional novel that took inspiration from queen’s dwarf, Sir Jeffrey Hudson. I always love when writers combine authentic details with a great story. I found this book to be a beautiful and heartwarming. He may have been the smallest but he had the biggest heart. Overall a wonderful read.
“You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else.”
Claire Thorpe
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is the fictional story of Nat Davy who is sold by his father and ends up being given to the queen as a present. It is a story inspired by the real life of Jeffery Hudson known as Englands Smallest Man or the Queens Dwarf. From the beginning I loved the character of Nat and really enjoyed his fascinating story though the battles of the civil war. Its a heart warming and interesting read.
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fantastic read! Laced with fascinating insights into real (harrowing) historical events, it was well balanced by the charming tale of 'the smallest man in England' who ends up a close companion and confidence of the Queen before and during the English Civil Wars in the 17th century. I also hugely appreciated the author's note at the end detailing which parts of the story were based on facts, and which were utter fiction, as she was absolutely right: after turning that final page ...more
Brian Moore
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this book by pure chance and some days your luck's in. This was the case here and been thinking hard about how to describe both the book and the reading experience. Only one word suffices and does justice, "Lovely".
Highly recommended.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect published date 1 9 Jul 24, 2020 05:16AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Art of Death
  • The Lamplighters
  • The Shape of Darkness
  • The Shadow in the Glass
  • Daughters of Night
  • A Net for Small Fishes
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot
  • Dog Days
  • Dangerous Women
  • The Apparition Phase
  • People of Abandoned Character
  • The Long Long Afternoon
  • Call Me Mummy
  • Circus of Wonders
  • The Appeal
  • Deity (Six Stories #5)
  • The Summer Job
  • The Favour
See similar books…
Welcome to my Goodreads author page! I'm the author of The Smallest Man, my debut novel, which tells the story of Nat Davy, a 'court dwarf' at the time of Charles I and the English Civil War. I'm currently hard at work on my second novel, another historical, but set around a century later, in Georgian London. I can't share the title just yet, but I can tell you it's about a girl who wants to be a ...more

Related Articles

  In most romances, a romp in the hay comes after many chapters of meeting cute, silent pining, and steamy banter. Not so for books that...
45 likes · 7 comments