We are delighted to welcome historian and writer Stella Tillyard, to talk about her latest novel, The Great Level. Set in the Fens and the New World, it is a dramatic and elemental story about two people whose differences draw them together then drive them apart.
In 1649, Jan Brunt, a Dutchman, arrives in England to work on draining and developing the Great Level, an expanse of marsh in the heart of the fen country. It is here he meets Eliza, whose love overturns his ordered vision and whose act of resistance forces him to see the world differently. Jan flees to the New World, where the spirit of avarice is raging and his skills as an engineer are prized. Then one spring morning a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the Fens, and confront all that was lost there. Jan and Eliza’s journeys, like the century they inhabit, are filled with conflict, hard graft and adventure – and see them searching for their own piece of solid ground.