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Review of The Maiden by Kate Foster

Set in Edinburgh, 1679, Foster emerges us within Scotland's sordid streets and the respectable classes within society to retell the gruelling tail of Lady Christian Nimmo who's on trail for murdering her lover James Forrester. As a charming and attentive wife, it's shocking to discover how she murdered Mr Forrester in cold blood, yet she was not only his niece but also mistress. 

The novel is told through the dual perspectives of Lady Christian herself, detailing the events up to the murder and her triumphant escape from prison, and Violet Blyth, a common whore who James hires to attend to his daily needs. Both women have a motive to murder the man who abuses his power over them as the master of the house, yet who was the one to plunge the sword into his chest when both women are there at the scene of the crime?

Inspired by the historical event of Lady Christian Nimmo's sentence to the maiden, a slaughtering mechanism to behead mistresses sentenced to death, Foster gives this story new life, emotion and heartache. 

Read on for our conversation with Kate Foster later on in the newsletter where we discuss the writing process behind the novel and why Foster chose to retell and reinvent this historical event in particular for her debut novel. 

Review by Victoria.

The Maiden was published on 27/04/23 by Pan Macmillan.

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