The Embroidered Book

The Embroidered Book

Published in 2022 from HarperVoyager UK. About 670 pages.

Edited by Jack Renninson.

Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles they rename her Marie Antoinette. The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless. When they were only children, they discovered a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.

The Sunday Times, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star bestseller.

Winner of the Aurora Award for Best Novel.

Finalist for the Ottawa Book Award.

On the Locus recomended list.

Available in audiobook, paperback, hardcover and ebook from your local bookseller (mine is Perfect Books) or from WaterstonesIndigoAmazon CanadaAmazon UKAmazon USBarnes & NobleBookshop, or wherever you buy books.

‘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’

Brimming with romance, betrayal, and enchantment, The Embroidered Book reimagines a dazzling period of history as you have never seen it before.

Heartfield (The Chatelaine) injects some magic into European history with this lush and enchanting outing. … As tension mounts both politically and in the magical world, the sisters find themselves on opposing sides, turning from close confidants to bitter rivals. Heartfield’s accounts of both queens are detailed and insightful, with a fresh take on Marie Antoinette and a fascinating look at her less famous sister.

– Publishers Weekly


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