Inspired by a real-life case, Kate Foster’s The Maiden is a remarkable story with a feminist revisionist twist, giving a voice to women otherwise silenced by history.

Told through chapters narrated alternately by Christian and Violet, the prostitute Forrester kept as a mistress, it’s a incredible story.

A confident historical thriller with deep-dive, hot-blooded characters who you are cheerleading on. Cinematic. Gripping. Tense; A total page-turner. Poetic and captivating. Foster is a painter and The Maiden is a work of art.

Laura Dockrill

The Maiden

by Kate Foster

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Describe your book in one sentence as if you were telling a friend.

The Maiden is a historical thriller inspired by the real-life case of a 17th century Scottish murderess.

What inspired you to write your novel?

I grew up in the village of Corstorphine, near Edinburgh, where the murder happened in 1679 and it is part of the local folklore. The accused, Christian Nimmo is a macabre figure and her ghost is said to haunt the village. As a child I was frightened of her, but as an adult I reconnected with her story and felt she had been misrepresented by the history books, so I retold the murder from her perspective.

Which part of the book was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging?

The women of 17th century Edinburgh are a rather neglected and forgotten group, and I adored reimagining them in all their humanity, from the brothels and closes to the castles and parlours. The most challenging part was creating the character of Christian Nimmo as she was a real person. That took several drafts.

If you could take one book to a desert island, what would it be and why?

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, which is just brimming with glorious historical detail and beautifully written.

Where is your favourite place to write?

My favourite place ever was a lovely hotel in Florence! But on a day-to-day basis it is my little living room desk in Edinburgh.

If you hadn’t been a writer, what would you be doing now? Where would you be?

I just can’t imagine not writing. Or reading!