ROYALIST REBEL is the story of Elizabeth Murray, later Countess Dysart, during the English Civil War; a passionate, determined young woman dedicated to Ham House, the Royalist cause and the three men in her life; her father William Murray, son of a minister who rose to become friend and confidant to King Charles I, the wealthy baronet Lionel Tollemache, her husband of twenty years and John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, a favourite of Charles II.
With her father in Oxford at the exiled court of King Charles I, the five Murray women have to cope alone. Crippled by fines for their Royalist sympathies, and besieged by the Surrey Sequestration Committee, Elizabeth must find a rich, apolitical husband to save herself, her sisters, and their inheritance.
Intelligent, witty and beautiful, Elizabeth wasn't born noble; her family's fortunes came from her Scottish father's boyhood friendship with King Charles, but as the heir to Ham House she was always destined for greater things.
This novel is certain to delight readers who enjoy stories rich in historical detail, charged with the drama of a young woman's choice between duty and love.
I found myself emotionally invested in the story and I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the day when I could snuggle into my bed and read some more.The Seventeenth Century Lady
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Anita Seymour takes us on a breathtaking ride through the landscape of a divided England.Friends of the National Archives
Anita Seymour excels at setting. In the best way, very few poetic phrases call attention to themselves.Good reads
A well-drawn picture of the Royalists' struggle to exist and serve the king under parlimentary rule. Seymour is excellent on the stress and the depredations as normal life disintegrates. Highly recommended for Civil War buffs.Historical Novel Society
Royalist Rebel is a biographical novel about the tumultuous life of Elizabeth Murray, the Countess of Dysart, and later, the Duchess of Lauderdale. Born into a noble family and staunchly loyal to King Charles, their livelihood is threatened and daily life turns perilous when civil war breaks out. Elizabeth’s royalist father works secretly for his monarch while the women of the family suffer sanctions and live in near destitution in Ham House. Rebels are everywhere and they are under constant suspicion. Faced with difficult decisions and torn between duty and love, Elizabeth strives to do what is best for those she loves. Written in first person present tense, the feeling that you get when reading the novel is one of immediacy and clarity. Elizabeth’s character is beautifully depicted with all her virtues as well as her faults. This is due to the fact that Anita Seymour lived near Ham House and walked its corridors, its garden, its pathways. Her first hand knowledge of the scenery, décor, and locale make the story extra sharp with detail, lending it great credibility. I believe that behind every great woman is a great man. In Elizabeth’s case, two great men – Baronet Lionel Tollemache, her loving husband of several decades, and her true love, John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale. Both men are depicted insightfully through Elizabeth’s eyes. Extremely well-rounded characters and their individual dreams, ambitions, and plights pepper each page of this fascinating novel. Most importantly of all, King Charles’ execution is written with poignancy and respect, and remains one of my favourite parts of the book. Royalist Rebel is a novel of survival in desperate times and the ability of one one woman to overcome adversity in a period when women had little rights and were nothing more than chattel. A beautiful story with eloquent prose that truly brings the era to life! Historical fiction at its very best.Historical Novel Review Blog
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. Anita Seymour makes an excellent job of bringing to life Elizabeth Murray’s dangerous life as the daughter of Royalists. Elizabeth’s extraordinary parents acted as spies to bring about the return of Charles I to the throne during the English Civil Wars. Families who were loyal to the crown had much to fear from Cromwell and his followers. Times became hard and cruel as Elizabeth Murray’s life changes from one of luxury and privilege to difficulty and despair when she’s in danger of losing everything. But Elizabeth is up for the challenge, a wily heroine not without flaws, but I admired her and was caught up in her story, finding it 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 skillfully recounting Elizabeth’s long life during one of the most tumultuous periods in Britain’s history, and as Lady Tollemache after her arranged marriage, when she has little power, plots and plans to keep her beloved home, Ham House, a Jacobean mansion built on the River Thames at Petersham. Seymour has converted me to reading more stories about actual historical figures. I wait with anticipation to her next release.Maggi Andersen - writer of historical romance and romantic suspense.
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.Gillian Bagwell, author of The Darling Strumpet, The King’s Mistress (U.S. title The September Queen) and Venus in Winter.