‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’
A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll Factory, The Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.
My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story.
The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England.
They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story.
Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together.
Praise for The Smallest Man:
‘Not your ordinary historical fiction, centring on a special relationship between two unique souls set against the English civil war’ Stylist, Best New Fiction of 2021
‘Remarkable’?The Independent, Best Books of Jan
‘I haven’t come across a character I’ve loved as much as Nat Davy for a long time?. it’s Nat’s journey to overcome perceptions and achieve big things that makes this debut so good’ Good Housekeeping
‘Davy is based on Sir Jeffrey Hudson, Henrietta Maria’s dwarf who was immortalised in paint by Van Dyck. His tale is extraordinary, and Frances Quinn has used it well in this fascinating debut’ The Times
‘It’s an unforgettable story about being different, brave and hopeful in diversity’ Woman’s Weekly
‘Full of vim and vigour, this is winningly warm-hearted’? Daily Mail
‘An enchanting tale about a small man with a big heart. Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City
‘A perfect fusion of history and invention. It’s so purposefully written, cuts right to the chase, galloping along. Nat’s wit and humour makes the poignancy of his story all the more powerful – The Smallest Man has the biggest heart’ Beth Morrey, author of Saving Missy
‘What a page-turner! A timely tale celebrating courage, determination and friendship, it serves as a warning against prejudice and superficial judgements’ Anita Frank, author of The Lost Ones
‘I absolutely loved it. It’s a rare thing to get a historical fiction that is wonderfully researched, pitch-perfectly voiced and unputdownable, but this is the real deal. A perfectly formed masterpiece. I raced through it’ C.S. Quinn, author of The Bastille Spy
‘I loved this book – a fascinating tale of extraordinary accomplishment, and a story about how anything is possible and how love has always been a beacon of hope’ Phillip Schofield
‘I adored Nat Davy’s witty narrative as his personal struggles and triumphs unfolded alongside the compelling events of a troubled court and a Queen in jeopardy. I found myself rooting for the Smallest Man in England from the very first page’ Sonia Velton, author of Blackberry and Wild Rose
‘Great memorable books are made by great, memorable characters. Frances Quinn’s Nat Davy is such a character. The Smallest Man is a beautiful, heartwarming tale, weaving history and fiction intricately and seamlessly. I was rooting for Nat from the first page. Quinn shows us how a big heart and strength of character can lead anyone, perceived disability or not, to achieve great things, and that kindness and compassion are the most important of human qualities. I loved this book’ Louise Fein, author of People Like Us
‘This book took me on an epic journey with a character that will always have a special place in my heart, I shall miss Nat Davy immensely!’ Emma Cooper, author of If I Could Say Goodbye
‘Written with a wonderful lightness of touch, full of humour and humanity… An engaging, compelling, thought-provoking story of a life less ordinary’ Caroline Scott, author of The Photographer of the Lost
‘A beguiling and well-written tale, whose mysterious protagonist is plucked from a famous painting; the carefully crafted historic context uncannily reflects contemporary politics’ Ellen Alpsten, author of Tsarina
‘What a wonderful romp through such a turbulent period of history. I absolutely fell for the book’s narrator: an ebullient character whose voice and world view I adored’ Polly Crosby, author of The Illustrated Child
‘A wonderful character in a compelling story’ Choice
‘The author vividly depicts life in 17th-century England, from the small village of Nat’s childhood, through to the splendours of court and the horrors of a country at war. Nat is an entertaining and joyous narrator, whose determination and courage shine through the pages of the book. His love for his friends and family is the anchor which enables him to cling to hope and bravery, despite a backdrop of cruelty, war and treachery. It is a truly delightful novel. Highly recommended’ Historical Novel Society
‘An unlikely friendship blossoms between the two as they navigate the scary world of the Civil Wars. The Smallest Man is inspired by the true story of the court dwarf Jeffrey Hudson, who could be found in the court of Charles I’ History Extra