The Chatelaine

The Chatelaine
Cover by Andrew Davis.

Published in 2023 from HarperVoyager UK. About 375 pages.

Edited by Jane Johnson. (Armed in Her Fashion, the previous version, was edited by S.M. Beiko.)

In 1328, the city of Bruges is under siege from the Chatelaine of Hell and her army of chimeras. At night, revenants crawl over the walls and bring plague and grief to this city of widows. One of those widows, Margriet de Vos, will do anything to make sure her daughter’s safe, even if it means raiding Hell itself. About 95,000 words. A revised edition of the novel originally published in 2018 as Armed in Her Fashion, with new material added.

A revised edition of the 2018 novel Armed in Her Fashion, originally published by ChiZine Publications. Contains new material. Content note here.


This is a book that ignores the usual boundaries and rules of fantasy. This story will stay with me for a long time.

Robin Hobb review


In Armed in Her Fashion, Kate Heartfield paints a darkly fantastic, humourously grotesque portrait of the European Middle Ages. Heartfield’s deep knowledge of art and literature from and about the medieval period allows her to approach her setting in a way that is simultaneously affectionate and subversive. Her engaging characters wander through a landscape in which horror and absurdity combine, seemingly rigid truths are deconstructed, and it very much matters who is telling the story.

Jury statement, Sunburst Awards


…These fantastic elements and more are skillfully woven into the political and religious machinations of the era, but this is the least of Heartfield’s achievements. The novel is written with arresting detail and challenges literary tropes about women. …

Publishers Weekly, starred review


Armed in Her Fashion is Kate Heartfield’s debut novel, and what a strange, compelling, genre-bending debut it is. Part horror, part fantasy, part history, and part epic, it combines all of its elements into a commentary on gender, power, and patriarchy. It centres around several women (and one man) who want in their own ways to have their due.

That makes it sound deeply serious. Actually, it’s enormously fun…

Liz Bourke,


It’s exactly the sort of thing you don’t see a lot of in a genre that’s dominated by swordplay and explosive magic, and Heartfield constructs it in a way that’s never dry or slow… Armed in Her Fashion has a ton of originality while still hitting on the things you want out of a solid fantasy novel.

Brandon Crilly, Black Gate


Dark, like 72 percent chocolate, but in a good way.

Catherine Schaff-Stump


This book, steeped as it is in excellent world building and with lots of historical references, is unlike anything I’ve read. I couldn’t put it down. – Ivy

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