The Lady Astronomer

The Lady Astronomer

The Lady Astronomer was written by Katy O’Dowd and first published in 2012. It is an alternative history novel based loosely around the life of Caroline Hershel, embellished with fantastical steampunk elements.

Lucretia lives a busy life. She is well known throughout the town of Bath for her soprano singing voice and the fine hats that she makes. On top of this, she spends her free time caring for her dysfunctional family – brothers Freddie and Al, Leibniz the lemur and Orion the owl – and studying the stars from the roof of their home.

When her Freddie receives funding from the King to build a forty-foot high telescope, she is forced to leave her business and move with him to Slough in order to be closer to the court. Intelligent and resourceful, Lucretia has little trouble in getting their new home up and running.

However, as misfortune strikes and delays the completion of the Forty-Foot, Lucretia is taken hostage by the King in a well-meaning attempt to get Freddie to work faster. The Lady Astronomer has never been exposed to life in the royal court before and soon finds it to be far more cut-throat than she could ever have imagined. As her stay lengthens, it becomes increasingly apparent that if the telescope is not completed quickly then she could easily lose her life.

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