It is 1649. Charles I has been beheaded, Cromwell is running the country, and a new law targeting unwed mothers and lewd women has been passed. A law that presumes that anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder.
When a dead infant is found buried behind the Smithfield slaughterhouse, all fingers point to thirty-nine year old glover’s assistant Rachel Lockyer. A fiercely independent woman, Rachel has been carrying on an affair with a married man, a one-time political agitator with a radical group known as The Levelers. Though no one knows for certain that Rachel was even pregnant, she is arrested.
So comes an investigation, public trial, and unforgettable characters: gouty investigator Thomas Bartwain, fiery Elizabeth Lillburne and her revolution-chasing husband, Huguenot glover Mary Du Gard, and others. Spinning within are Rachel and William, their remarkable love story, and the miracles that come to even the commonest lives.