It’s usual, they say, for a young person coming to London for the first time to arrive with a head full of dreams. Well, Endurance Proudfoot did not. When she stepped off the coach from Sussex, on a warm and sticky afternoon in the summer of 1757, it never occurred to her that the city would be the place where she’d make her fortune; she was just very annoyed to be arriving there at all.
Meet Endurance Proudfoot, the bonesetter’s daughter: clumsy as a carthorse, with a tactless tongue and a face she’s sure only a mother could love. Durie only wants one thing in life – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. It’s a physically demanding job, requiring strength, nerves of steel and discretion – and not the job for a woman.
But Durie isn’t like other women. She’s strong and stubborn and determined to get her own way. And she finds that she has a talent at bonesetting – her big hands and lack of grace have finally found their natural calling.
So, when she is banished to London with her sister, who is pretty, delicate and exactly the opposite to Durie in every way, Durie will not let it stop her realising her dreams. And while her sister will become one of the first ever Georgian celebrities, Durie will become England’s first and most celebrated female bonesetter. But what goes up must come down, and Durie’s elevated status may well become her undoing…
Praise for Frances Quinn’s brilliant first novel, The Smallest Man:
‘Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare
‘A perfect fusion of history and invention… Nat’s wit and humour make the poignancy of his story all the more powerful’ Beth Morrey
‘What a page-turner! A timely tale celebrating courage, determination and friendship’ Anita Frank
‘A perfectly formed masterpiece’ C.S. Quinn
‘I loved this book – a fascinating tale of extraordinary accomplishment, and a story about how anything is possible and how love has always been a beacon of hope’ Phillip Schofield
‘I found myself rooting for the Smallest Man in England from the very first page’ Sonia Velton
‘A beautiful, heartwarming tale, weaving history and fiction intricately and seamlessly… I loved this book’ Louise Fein
‘This book took me on an epic journey with a character that will always have a special place in my heart’ Emma Cooper
‘An engaging, compelling, thought-provoking story of a life less ordinary’ Caroline Scott
‘A beguiling and well-written tale’ Ellen Alpsten
‘I absolutely fell for the book’s narrator: an ebullient character whose voice and world view I adored’ Polly Crosby