It is 1740 and Louise Fletcher, a young dairy maid on an Essex farm, has been warned of the lure of the sea for as long as she can remember – after all, it stole away her father and brother. But when she is offered work in the bustling naval port of Harwich, as maid to a wealthy captain’s daughter, she leaps at the chance to see more of the world. There she meets Rebecca, her haughty young mistress, who is unlike anyone Louise has encountered before: as unexpected as she is fascinating.
15-year old Luke is drinking in a Harwich tavern when it is raided by Her Majesty’s Navy. Unable to escape, Luke is beaten and press ganged and sent to sea on board the warship Essex. He must learn fast and choose his friends well if he is to survive the brutal hardships of a sailor’s life and its many dangers, both up high in the rigging and in the dark below decks.
Louise navigates her new life among the streets and crooked alleys of Harwich, where groaning houses riddled with smugglers’ tunnels are flooded by the Spring tides, and love burns brightly in the shadows. And Luke, aching for the girl he left behind and determined to one day find his way back to her, embarks on a long and perilous journey across the ocean.
The worlds they find are more dangerous and more exciting than they could ever have imagined, and when they collide the consequences are astonishing and irrevocable.
A breathtakingly accomplished love story and a gripping search for identity and survival, She Rises is a bold, brilliant and utterly original novel.
Praise for She Rises
‘An immensely enjoyable novel, full of energy, intelligence and delicious turns of phrase. Worsley does just what a great historical novelist should do: she inhabits her characters without strain, without fuss, but with obvious assurance, making them and their period feel utterly close and convincing. I can’t wait to see more of her fiction’ – Sarah Waters
‘This debut novel leaves convention behind to tell a rollicking story of love and adventure. Harwich is gloriously reinvented as a place of smuggling, secrets and a decidedly contemporary passion. This is a fresh take on historical fiction; enjoyably witty and playful’ – The Times
‘For those readers eagerly anticipating the next effort from the queen of historical revisionism Sarah Waters, look no further than Kate Worsley’s debut novel. The maritime adventure She Rises will tide you over nicely … Meticulously and elegantly plotted from the very first page. The moment of their meeting, when it arrives, is jaw-droppingly good. Packed with smugglers and secret passages, rum-toting sailors, romance, and adventure in exotic parts, She Rises sings to its reader with the dulcet hypnotising tones of its true heroine, the sea; luring you in, then lulling you into its rolling pace’ – Independent
‘If you like romance you’ll love this debut novel by Kate Worsley. A gripping and touching tale’ – Sunday Express
‘Energetic … The two stories begin to meld into one and a number of twists, some less easily predicted than others, decorate an enjoyable tale’ – The Sunday Times
‘The compelling story centres on a dairymaid starting a new life and brilliantly depicts the dark life of drunken sailors and their brutal hardships’ – Sunday Telegraph
‘Surprising; poetic’ – Observer
‘An utterly transporting depiction of life above, and below, deck’ – Vogue
‘Two threads finally intertwine with a rewarding twist’ – Financial Times
‘Bold and original‘ – Bookseller
‘A truly original debut’ – Living North
‘A briny novel of repressed desire … An enjoyable romp’ – Metro
‘Prepare to have your swashes buckled and your timbers shivered … Wonderfully exuberant first novel … Slightly toshy – but in a good way’ – Kate Saunders, Saga
‘A beguiling historical tale of love and adventure’ – Stylist
‘A gloriously twisty novel … An enjoyable, action-packed debut ***’ – The Lady