What You Call Free

“In this wonderful debut novel, Flora Johnston prises open a forgotten window to give a rare view onto the lives of women in one of the darkest periods in Scotland’s history.”
James Robertson, award winning author of And The Land Lay Still

My debut novel What You Call Free was published by Ringwood Publishing in March 2021. You can order it in ebook or paperback from Ringwood, from bookshop.org, from Amazon and other bookshops, and watch the launch event with novelist James Robertson here.

Set in lowland Scotland in 1687, it’s the story of two real historical women and their struggle for freedom in an oppressive and divided society.

Pregnant and betrayed, eighteen-year-old Jonet believes nothing could be worse than her weekly public humiliation in sackcloth. But soon she discovers that a darker fate awaits her.

Desperate to escape, she takes refuge among an outlawed group of religious dissidents.  Here Widow Helen offers friendship and understanding, but Helen’s own beliefs have already seen her imprisoned once. Can she escape the authorities a second time?

From the exposed Pentland hills to the narrow closes of Edinburgh, both Helen and Jonet find their fate becomes inextricably linked with that of fugitive preacher James Renwick. As the net closes on him, they too risk everything.

What does it mean to be free?