“Their passionate longing for each other aches with the pain of being young, and is far sexier than a hundred novels about modern teenagers.”
Amanda Craig, The Times.

The inspiration for these stories began years ago when I first learned about the early Quakers and was struck by their vitality, faith and courage in the face of relentless persecution. They rejected the formal structure of the established church, had no priests, met in fields or barns or each others’ homes, and refused to pay church tithes. The state passed laws that made their meetings illegal, and sometimes whole communities would be thrown into prison, leaving their children to keep the meetings alive. I knew I had to write their story.

I began with two young people in rural Shropshire in 1662. Fifteen-year-old Susanna, the eldest child in a Quaker weaver’s family, sees a life of struggle and persecution ahead of her and fears she may not have the courage to endure it. Seventeen-year-old Will , the son of a wealthy wool merchant, is scholarly and thoughtful, brought up an Anglican but drawn to the Quakers. Will and Susanna fall in love, and the story is told through both their voices.

I started writing without knowing exactly how the love story would develop, or what Will would decide to do with his life. When I reached the end I knew I had to write a sequel – and this new story took Will and Susanna into London at the time of the Plague and the Great Fire.

The third book, Seeking Eden, begins seventeen years later, and again is told in two voices. The first is that of Josiah, Will and Susanna’s son. I knew from my research that Will and Susanna would have suffered years of fines and imprisonment in London. Many Quakers had already emigrated to the New World in search of freedom of conscience; and in the 1680s William Penn, a wealthy and inspirational Quaker, acquired a


large tract of land in America and founded the colony of Pennsylvania to be a haven for those fleeing religious persecution. Will and Susanna already had friends in the New World and it seemed inevitable that they too would emigrate with their three children.

It was only when I began researching the history of Pennsylvania that I realised that some of the early Quakers kept slaves – and that most people, including William Penn, did not consider owning slaves to be wrong. It was at this point that another voice entered my emerging story: that of Tokpa, an African slave, whose plight forces Josiah to confront the reality of slavery and his own part in it.

“This is powerful, restrained and absorbing storytelling at its very best.”
Jack Ousbey, Carousel.

“Ann Turnbull writes with clarity and power, drawing the reader into the inner turmoil of credible characters.”
Elaine Williams, TES.

“Both No Shame, No Fear and Forged in the Fire are written in plain, direct language that is as honest and engaging as its characters. Their passionate intelligence and moral integrity will engage thoughtful readers of 12+ at a deep level.”
Amanda Craig, The Times.

“Riveting in its dramatic historical context...Forged in the Fire also contains the timeless themes of love, jealousy, friendships and marriage.”
Marie-Louise Jensen, Writeaway!



 amazon.co.ukMore details on Older Fiction and America pages.

To read interviews about the background and writing of these books, visit www.booktrusted.co.uk.


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