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The Maiden


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About the Author

Kate Foster has been a national newspaper journalist for over twenty years. Growing up in Edinburgh, she became fascinated by its history and often uses it as inspiration for her stories. The Maiden won the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect 2020 prize for new writers. She lives in Edinburgh with her two children.


The Maiden is a masterpiece. A thrilling historical murder tale but so much more. Vivid, evocative and full of humanity. I took each and every character to my heart. The fact this is inspired by a true story makes it all the more chilling and relevant. I was transported to seventeenth-century Edinburgh so completely, I’m sure a part of me is still there
*Janice Hallett, bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code*

This riveting debut novel by Kate Foster takes the true story of the murder [of James Forrester] and spins it into a mystery full of twists . . . Christian and Violet leap from the page, and Foster plays with the reader’s ideas about guilt and innocence. She is clever, too, on how women can become complicit in their abuse. The tension persists until the last page
*The Times*

Kate Foster expands the slender facts of the case into something exceptional — a tense, thrilling investigation, with a decidedly feminist slant. Foster recreates the Edinburgh of 1679 with great aplomb. A mucky, malodorous place, where a man's sexual proclivities are a given and a woman's are judged immoral, as revealed by the testimony of fierce Christian and the irrepressible Violet, a prostitute, who's all too familiar with Forrester, the world and its ways
*Daily Mail*

The Maiden is historical fiction at its finest. A true-life murder tale told thrillingly through the eyes of two very different women, yet both are fighting for their futures in a patriarchal world riven by hypocrisy
*D. V. Bishop, author of City of Vengeance*

Threat hangs over every page like the awaiting guillotine, but the women in this book gleam sharper. Witty, gritty and full of heart, their voices rise through the brutality and hardship of seventeenth-century Edinburgh, battling to be heard
*Cari Thomas, bestselling author of Threadneedle*

A gripping read with strong, compelling and unusual female characters - and a twisty plot that keeps the reader guessing. It cast a fresh light on a period of history when women have too often been seen merely as victims and brought them to life as protagonists in their own right
*Sally Hinchcliffe, author of Hare House*

I simply could not have loved this novel more. In Christian and Violet, Kate Foster has created two unforgettable characters, whose stories I became utterly and delightedly glued to. Page-turning, transportive, funny, and tremendously moving, The Maiden is a book to lose yourself in – just make sure you don’t have any plans, because once you start reading, you won’t want to stop
*Jenny Ashcroft, author of Under the Golden Sun and The Echoes of Love*

I inhaled The Maiden. A feminist retelling of a murder that shocked seventeenth-century Scotland. Brave, bold and at times deliciously indecent with vivid characters that leap from the page and demand attention. Kate Foster has such a fresh, exhilarating voice
*Lizzie Pook, author of Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter*

A fabulous book . . . The writing is exquisite and it felt like a rare treat – a story totally rooted in its time and place, but that speaks across the generations
*Claire Evans, author of The Fourteenth Letter and The Graves of Whitechapel*

An engrossing, sometimes chilling, read as Kate Foster's imaginative retelling of an old tale takes her colourful characters on a complex ride through the intrigues and prejudices of seventeenth-century Scotland
*Sarah Maine, author of The House Between Tides and The Awakenings*

A pleasingly female-led re-imagining of true historical events, The Maiden brings seventeenth-century Edinburgh vividly to life in all its colour and stink
*Mary Paulson-Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker and Emily Noble's Disgrace*

A brilliantly bawdy, fabulously feminist take on a real life tragedy. A beautifully written thriller full of all-too-human characters. I loved it!
*Tina Baker, author of Call Me Mummy and Nasty Little Cuts*

Hugely compelling and completely unputdownable. Every time you think you know where the book is going, Kate Foster surprises you. The characterization and the narrative voice are both so assured
*Katie Lumsden, author of The Secrets of Hartwood Hall*

Foster’s imaginary Edinburgh is cinematic with its flashbacks and switches in perspective . . . The language and pace of The Maiden is fluent and driving . . . I was quickly gripped. Offers to film Foster’s novel should follow if there’s any sense in this world . . . This is an extremely promising debut by Foster
*The National*

Inspired by a real-life case, this historical murder mystery fictionalizes an infamous crime of passion. Kate Foster reimagines the lives of the women at the centre of the story and paints a vivid and fascinating picture of seventeenth-century Edinburgh
*Yours magazine*

An unforgettably vivid and very human story that had me glued to its twists and turns from the very first page. A strong contender for my top reads of 2023 already. A must-read slice of historical fiction
*17 Degrees Magazine*

This is a thrilling revenge tragedy, atmospheric, compelling and delivering everything a good historical novel should
*Historical Novel Society*

The Maiden triumphs in its portrayal of the fight to overcome not just class, gender, and society, but the wayward, and often dubious, inclinations of the heart.
*The Saltire Society*

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