Shortlisted for the 2019 Historical Writers Associations HWA Debut Crown award One of Stylists must-read books of 2018 Original and charming, joyous and funny. Tessa Hadley …[this] debut novel sweeps us away to the world of Ursula Flight, wannabe actress and playwright in 17th-century Britain. Ursula is a spirited and funny protagonist. Sarah Shaffi, Stylist ON THE 15TH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1664, A GREAT LIGHT BLOOMED IN THE DARK SKY… Born on the night of a bad-luck comet, Ursula Flight has a difficult destiny written in the stars. Growing up with her family in the country, she is educated by a forward-thinking father who enables her to discover a love of reading, writing and astrology. Ursula dreams of becoming a famous playwright, but is devastated to learn she must instead fulfil her familys expectations and marry. Trapped and lost, Ursula plots her escape – but her freedom will come at a price. As Ursulas dangerous desires play out, both on and off the stage, shes flung into a giddy world of actors, aristocrats and artistic endeavours which will change her life irrevocably. A gutsy coming-of-age story about a spirited young woman struggling to lead a creative life, this uplifting tale vividly evokes the glittering world of Restoration-era theatre. For anyone who has ever tried to succeed against the odds, The Illumination of Ursula Flight is an inspiring journey of love and loss, heartbreak and all-consuming passion. This is a debut pulsating with life for readers of Jessie Burton, Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry.