To her neighbours in the small Cotswold town of Tilsbury she is a respectable wife and mother; to her husband Josiah she will always be his ‘Doll’, the child-bride he brought home from the German wars; to the painter of the family’s portrait she is an enigma, remote and unknowable, a mystery perhaps even to herself

When Royalist soldiers arrive to garrison Tilsbury the tranquil rhythm of country life is shattered. Mistress Doll Taverner is more affected than anyone by the impact of the Civil War, which revives all the half-forgotten nightmares of childhood tragedy. Then a Cornish officer, Captain Stephen Sutton, begins to pose a threat of a subtler kind; as affection grows between them, she is compelled to question all the certainties by which she has lived her life.


Sarah Broadhurst

‘An evocative love story.’