The Embroidered Book

Cover by Andrew Davis

‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all’

1768. Charlotte arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Two years later, her sister Antoine is sent to France to marry another stranger. In the mirrored corridors of Versailles, they rename her Marie Antoinette.

But the sisters are not powerless. When they were only children, Charlotte and Antoine discovered a book of spells – spells that seem to work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.

In a world of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, Charlotte and Antoine use their secret skills to redefine their lives, becoming the most influential women of the age.

But every spell requires a sacrifice. As love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.

Content note here. Reading list here.

Brimming with romance, betrayal, and the hidden power of women, THE EMBROIDERED BOOK reveals and reimagines a dazzling period of history as you have never seen it before.


Pre-order at Waterstones
(and you can also pre-order their exclusive sprayed edge edition)

Blue sprayed edges edition, exclusive to Waterstones.


Sacrifice, family, dreams, greed, and deep, dark magic, The Embroidered Book is a triumph, examining all through the hearts and minds of two sisters at a pivotal era in history. You may know the story of Marie Antoinette and Queen Charlotte of Naples. I guarantee you, after reading Heartfield’s incredibly crafted and eloquent reimagining, you will love and bleed with them. Most highly recommended.

Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Gossamer Mage

The Embroidered Book is superb from its opening scene to its heartbreaking end. It is at once a fast-paced pageturner to inhale and a rich historical novel to savor slowly. Heartfield makes magic in 18th century Europe utterly believable and uses the magic to humanize and reconceive one of history’s most famous women, Marie Antoinette. Politics, magic, love, and sacrifice compete on equal terms in a sweeping, absolutely splendid epic novel about two sisters and familial love. If you like historical feminist fantasy, you will love The Embroidered Book.

Lisbeth Campbell, author of The Vanished Queen

Richly imagined and skilfully told, The Embroidered Book is an intricate and spellbinding tale.

JJA Harwood, author of The Shadow in the Glass

Kate Heartfield seamlessly weaves together real historical events into a stunning narrative that I’m sure will grip readers from the very first page to the very last. I could almost believe the book itself had been enchanted! The two women at the heart of this book were both wonderfully realized and achingly flawed. It was a real treat to see the struggles and ambitions of such powerful women in history.

Ann Sei Lin, author of Rebel Skies

What can I say about this book? It is extraordinary. I didn’t know how deeply I needed a story about sisters Charlotte and Antoine (later Marie Antoinette) and their complicated, courtly, beautiful, magical world. This book was a journey in the best of all possible ways. I am better for having read it and so will you be.

E. Catherine Tobler, author of The Necessity of Stars

Reminded me in places of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I loved the depth of characterisation and the feel of the magic … beautifully written.

Elizabeth Chadwick, author of The Coming of the Wolf