When I first began exploring titles for my Publishing Production project I was really struck by how many of Margaret Oliphant’s works I had never heard of before, and speaking with peers, family and friends I realised I wasn’t alone. When I came across the powerful and driven voice of the central character in Oliphant’s novel Kirsteen (1890), I knew I had to help bring this largely forgotten story to readers today.

Set in the early 19th century, Kirsteen tells the story of a refreshingly feisty Scottish woman who rejects the conventional path which had been laid out for her before she was even born. Described by the narrator as ‘one of those who make a story for themselves’, she was determined to shape a future for herself through her trade and natural skill; a sentiment echoed in Oliphant’s own life, herself a woman who wrote to support her large extended family.

Oliphant was an unstoppable force – her work being abundant and widely popular in its day, even favoured by Queen Victoria. It is easy to see why – Kirsteen celebrates complex and interesting women, with a powerful narrative driving the novel that makes it impossible to put down. She was truly a force to be reckoned with.

This book will be edited and designed by Elizabeth Eagan. Find and follow me on Twitter