Wednesday 28 February 2024

Freeborn Girls by Sally Keeble BLOG TOUR #FreebornGirls @Sally_Keeble @RandomTTours #BookExtract


"Did life ever deal you a real wild card?"

So steely Frances Quilter asks her new lover. It's London, summer 2019, and Frances, a Member of Parliament, is distracted from affairs of state by affairs of the heart. She misjudges public opinion over the future of a local housing estate—with disastrous results.

Once the estate was farmland, home to feisty Elizabeth Gardiner, sold as an indentured labourer in the English Civil War, and put on a sailing ship for America.

Two women, separated by 400 years of history, linked by a twist of fate.

Can Frances salvage her career—or her love life? Does Elizabeth survive? And who's the enigmatic American who turns up to work for Frances at the start of that fateful summer.

This pacy dual timeline novel by former MP Sally Keeble lifts the lid on Westminster intrigue and weaves an enthralling story of women finding freedom.

Freeborn Girls by Sally Keeble was published on 9 February 2024 by Eleanor Press. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.

Extract from Freeborn Girls by Sally Keeble

London: 5 June 2019

It was the summer of my undoing

The summer Stephanie came.

Not that it was her fault, of course. Nothing that happened  that summer was down to her.

But the image of her in the doorway of my parliamentary office that June morning was the last fixed point before life unravelled; neat grey suit, string of pearls, sensible shoes  “Hi, I’m Stephanie Gardiner, your American intern.”

She’d managed to get past security and arrived unannounced at my office three floors up in Portcullis House in Parliament, epicentre of the political universe. I shrugged off a moment’s discomfort and held out my hand, already hot from the aggravations of the day. ‘Frances Quilter. You’re very welcome.”

Her hand was cool. 

I hadn’t wanted an intern, least of all an American. But her Rust Belt university had phoned so often asking for a placement, and given her such glowing references that in the end I said, “OK, three months this summer.” Then shoved her to the back of my mind, behind the daily grind of committee meetings and casework lightened by flashes of shame or glory that e up the life of a backbench MP.
One of those highlights was about to happen. It was a Wednesday morning, and I was number eight on the list of MPs drawn in the ballot to ask the Prime Minister a question. 

I planned to raise the plight of the Cooper Estate, a patch of  ‘60s council housing in my constituency down the Old Kent Road. It was due to be demolished as part of a multi-million-pound regeneration scheme, with the loss of 800 housing units. No, not units, homes where people had lived, fucked, raised families, fought, died, survived, despaired, laughed, dreamed and clung on. And from which they were about to be kicked out into…. That was the problem. There was nowhere for them to go. 

Sally's debut novel, She, You, I, has been hailed as "a book of our time," and "a gem of a
It's an emotional roller-coaster of a story of lost love, buried hurt and strong women over three generations. 

Sally writes about the things she’s passionate about—the triumphs and tragedies of people’s lives. It’s what originally took her into journalism and then politics, in the UK and beyond. 
She spent her early years in the USA, Switzerland and Australia, returning to the UK after working as a journalist in South Africa. After serving as an MP in the UK, she worked in international development and travelled widely, especially in Asia and Africa.

Now she splits her time between Northampton and Bawdsey, a village in coastal Suffolk.

You can find out more about Sally on her website at or follow her on Facebook: at Sally Keeble Author or on Instagram @sallykeeblebooks or Tik Tok @sallykbooks

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