I’m delighted to welcome Kate Braithwaite to my blog today. I’m currently in the middle of reading The Road to Newgate, and thoroughly enjoying it!
Over to you, Kate…
The Road to Newgate is set in Restoration London. It’s a historical crime novel based on the true events of the Popish Plot when an unknown preacher named Titus Oates caused chaos in the capital with revelations of a series of plots to kill Charles II and make England a Catholic country again. There’s a murder investigation, a love story, blackmail, trials and executions – oh, and did I mention that Titus Oates had made the whole thing up? He’s known as one of the greatest liars in British history.
When writing it, I had a couple of themes I wanted to explore. My two main characters are a newly married couple. Nathaniel, a busy writer, is intent on providing for his young wife and spends hours away from home, working in his office or gathering the news of the day in the coffee shops. Anne has run away from her wealthy family to be with him and while she is much in love, the realities of married life – being alone a lot, not really having any part of Nat’s life outside of their home, weighs on her. Marriage, therefore, is a theme of the story. How do marriages work? Where does work/life balance come in to play? What roles do people play within a household and a marriage, and how do these change over time?
Another theme concerns my third narrator, William. William is a good man but he has a secret that he is afraid to share with Nat and Anne. In The Road to Newgate, I hoped to explore how carrying a secret can affect someone, the lengths people may go to keep their secrets and how that can hurt them.
And thirdly, there is a theme about truth and justice. I don’t want to say too much about this one! The story of what happens with Oates and the various trials that are in the story are based on the actual trial transcripts of the time. The same set of facts are treated very differently as the tide of public opinion changes. Bigotry against Catholics was extreme in the time the book is set. I see a lot of parallels to the world today in the story but I’m happy for readers to take away from it what they want, not what I think they should find.
Thank you for joining me today, Kate.
Kate Braithwaite grew up in Edinburgh but has lived in various parts of the UK, in Canada and the US.
Her first novel, CHARLATAN, was long-listed for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Novel Award in 2015.
The Road to Newgate can be found on Amazon: http://mybook.to/theroadtonewgate