Born worlds apart, Lily and Zenobia unite and fight to survive in murderous 17th century London, in a hard-edged, glittering novel. In late seventeenth century London two women, one white, one black, stake everything to prevent a manipulative mogul destroying them. Zenobia, born in poverty, grasps that her only hope of controlling her own life is to capitalise on her looks; Lily, brought to London on a sugar and slave ship as a toy , educated alongside her mistress but used by her master, lives as a kept woman. As their story weaves and folds through a murky and merciless London, both find themselves pitted against a ruthless man the world knows as John Crace. London’s rich but festering possibilities as a rapidly-changing multinational city are breathtakingly painted, and pungent milieux ranging from plague pits to prisons to pastry kitchens and Pickled Herring Stairs – are vividly brought to life.
A fascinating and debauched romp, moving with dream-like speed through an incredibly vivid seventeenth-century London. Surely the best-written bodice ripper ever published.
- Andrew Martin
Make no mistake, this is a sharp and quickly-paced story.... Black Lily is a deliciously satisfying read and, like the sweetmeats, on eco be gobbled up greedily.
- Country Life
Black Lily would clearly make a terrific TV series. Both women, lazily dismissed as “toys” by men, get their revenge. Stockley’s deftly plotted novel has a sting in the tale too. You have to go back to the first chapter to see how beautifully she’s set the whole thing up.
...an historical manual of sexual excess, perversion, manipulation and cruelty.. If you want a story to warm cold winter nights, look no further