17th Century Novels


Helena Woulfe, the daughter of a wealthy Exeter nobleman leads a privileged life, however, when rebellion sweeps the West Country, her family is caught in its grip. After Monmouth’s bloody defeat in battle at Sedgemoor, Helena sets off for Somerset to find the three missing members of her family.
With the Woulfe estate confiscated by the crown, Helena and her younger brother Henry hope the anonymity of the capital city will be more forgiving to the children of a convicted rebel. However, Helena finds her search for security and respectability in London are threatened by someone who wishes harm to a traitor's daughter.


Petrea Burchard -  In this story of divided loyalties, family fealty and great loss, Seymour creates a brave heroine. As her family finds themselves on the wrong side of the kind, Helena Woulfe finds she must protect her family and her home at Loxbeare. Seymour is especially good at description. She really puts us there. A ripping tale!

Diane Scott Lewis - Helena Woulfe thought her lavish life on a seventeenth-century estate would never change. When her father is on the wrong side of Monmouth's rebellion, Helena must flee the safety she's always known, and enter a dangerous world as a traitor's daughter.

Anita Seymour writes with a sure hand; her knowledge of the seventeenth-century, battles and customs, sweeps you into the era. Helena is a strong, yet vulnerable character you will be intrigued to spend time with.
A great story!

Ginger Simpson - A book about 17th Century England was the last thing I thought would captivate me, but I was seriously mistaken. Anita Seymour writes with such description and depth, you are certain to be reeled in and made to walk in the character's shoes. I've read just about everything from this author because of her writing style and ability to make history fascinating, and I'll bet you'll feel the same. If I could give her a higher rating, I would in a hot minute.

John Claire - Anita Seymour knows her 17th century stuff, and brings to vivid life her characters in that time frame. By the time I'd finished reading this novel, I felt I'd been there, in the countryside as Helena looks for members of her family through the broken bodies and stench of blood that are the realities of war, and as she tries to keep safe along the narrow, crowded lanes of London.

Helena holds her head high, knowing everyone considers her father a traitor. Her family has lost everything in the rebellion, and with her younger brother, she tries to make a new life in the city that never sleeps. This is a novel I plan to keep on my kindle for a long time.


It is 1688 and in London, and Helena has what she always wanted, respectability and security, although her brothers remain a worry - Aaron schemes in Holland with the Prince of Orange to depose the reigning king James II, and Henry carries his own sorrow, pining for another man's wife.

Prince William arrives in England to re-establish the Anglican Church, and when anti-Papist riots break out in London, Helena is forced to flee from her home – again.

While Helena strives to keep what she holds dear, can she and her brothers attain what they desire and above all, will they ever learn the fate of their missing Father, who disappeared after the Battle of Sedgemoor?

AnneMarie Brear

This sequel is a thoroughly good book. Helena has matured from the first book, and her story is so interesting and true to the period of the turmoil that was the 17th Century in England.


A Novel of Elizabeth Murray, Lady Tollemache, Countess Dysart, Duchess Lauderdale from Claymore Books 

The story of Elizabeth Murray's youth during the English Civil War, her fight to keep what is rightfully hers and her survival in a land where Puritanism exerted an ever tightening grip. The eldest daughter of William Murray, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to King Charles I and Catherine Bruce, Elizabeth proud of her Scots heritage, which she could trace back to James II of Scotland. 

Aged sixteen when Civil War broke out in England, destroying her family's dreams for a future allied to the royal house of Stuart. With her father at the exiled Court in Oxford, as well as running missions as the King's envoy between Queen Henrietta in Paris, the Murray women were left to cope alone. Hounded by the Sequestration Committee intent on depriving them of their home, Elizabeth and her mother appealed to their Covenanter relations, determined never to give in to the Rebels. 

When Parliamentary soldiers were quartered on their property, the Murray women were subjected to having their house invaded, their livestock stolen and the grounds torn up to grow food for the soldiers. In order to protect her daughters' inheritance, Catherine Murray needed to find a husband for Elizabeth to keep Ham safe; but where in the whole of England is there such a man of fortune and status who is not aligned to Parliament, nor has risked and lost everything for King Charles? 

With her betrothal to Sir Lionel Tollemache, a Suffolk landowner more interested in hunting that fighting is imminent, Elizabeth also formed an attachment to John Maitland, Earl Lauderdale, a brash red-headed Scot who was willing to risk everything for the Royalist cause. However, when her father is arrested and put on trial for spying, will Sir Lionel Tollemache still accept an allegiance with a traitor's family, and how can they get William Murray freed from the Tower of London before anything worse happens?


Gillian Bagwell, author of The Darling Strumpet, The King’s Mistress (U.S. title The September Queen) and Venus in Winter.

Royalist Rebel brings to vivid life the perilous days of the English Civil Wars, when the families who had been the most loyal to the crown had the most to fear. Elizabeth Dysart is an engaging heroine, and our blood thrills with hers as she looks danger in the eye and meets every challenge with courage. Anita Seymour skillfully recounts one of the most tumultuous periods in Britain’s history, and her novel is a great addition to the heartbreaking story of those times.

Jen Black, Historical Fiction Author

Elizabeth Murray is a force to be reckoned with as she strives to protect her beloved Ham House, the author had conveyed the horrors of a country at war with itself in her own graceful style and created a character who will live long in the minds of her readers. It is an excellent read.

Vicky English, Historical Fiction Author

One of the great things about being a member of a critique group is you get a sneak preview of books before they come out.  In my case, it was Anita Seymour’s Royalist Rebel.  In Anita’s case, the style is positively delightful.  She has a gift for finding the precise world-building detail that brings you right back into the seventeenth century and at the same time adds a layer of meaning.  

Maggi Andersen, Romance Author - January 2013

I don’t read many books based on real-life historical characters, and was pleasantly surprised at how ROYALIST REBEL kept me turning the pages eagerly until the very last sentence. AT times thrilling and at times heartrending, as she deals with what life throws at her with immense courage and intelligence.

Well done, Anita Seymour, for so skilfully recounting Elizabeth’s life during one of the most tumultuous periods in Britain’s history.


Sally Johnson said...

I loved Royalist Rebel, especially as my cousin lives close to Ham House, so I was able to combine the book with the setting. The story is gripping, and the odd Stuart word thrown in to trip up the reader and focus you on the times and import of the narrative was fun. That Anita Seymour Davidson used Elizabeth Murray's diaries as an anchor to reality was inspirational -- I've only been reading Stuart books ever since. Yes, I read ROYALIST REBEL when it was published in 2013, and it has stayed with me for four years so far. That's the sign of a good book.

Anita Davison said...

Thank you Sally, and what a lovely thing to wake up to on a Monday morning. All any author hopes for is that someone will love their story and remember it - and you have certainly brightened my day.

Sally Johnson said...

Anita, you do say on the cover that ROYALIST REBEL is part of a trilogy ... any idea when the next installment might grace the bookshelves?

And my last question is that at one point Elizabeth Murray makes the comment that her father, William Murray, Earl of Dysart, does not like discussion of his time growing up with Prince Charles, and his role as whipping boy. Did this comment come from Elizabeth's diary, or did you draw your own conclusion about that? There's a blog making the rounds suggesting there were no whipping boys -- it's a myth created in the 18th century. Elizabeth's comment would be helpful to know.

My impression of Prince Charles was that he was a single-minded, relentless, goody-goody trying unsuccessfully to live up to his father's expectations, and earn the respect of Prince Henry. I'd be very surprised if there was much whipping involved.

Anita Davison said...

Hi Sally

I based my story on Elizabeth's youth which was pretty traumatic but little documented evidence exists apart from household lists, letters and official papers connected with travel passes and appeals not to sequester Ham House - which was the inspiration for the book as I lived close by at one time and got to know it well.
William Murray was Charles I's boyhood friend - whether he was a 'whipping boy' might have been a myth but a romantic one I decided to use. The 'Divine Right of Kings' James I advocated suggests 'divine beings' shouldn't be beaten, so the story could well be true.
Charles I, a shy, awkward man with a speech impediment trusted William implicitly, much to the annoyance of men like Edward Hyde. William was charged with treason twice and yet stuck by his master. This story was never intended as a trilogy, and I don't recall that being on the cover.