Science and Faith

Science and Faith

The following is a short article I wrote as part of my Science and Faith page. You can find this, a discussion on the topic with three other writers, book recommendations, and online resources on the main page here:

Science, Faith, and Us


In The Nature of a Lady, I have a heroine who is a naturalist, studying the nature all around her. If you’ve read many of my books, then you’ll know I’ve also featured chemists, nurses, mathematicians, physicians, mechanical geniuses, and more. I’m no scientist—but my liberal arts education did include three years of scientific study and four years of math, covering everything from biology to the beginnings of quantum physics, from geometry to astronomy to calculus. More than learning each fact, we were taught how to engage with scientific discovery, how to value it for what it has right and how to ask questions about what doesn’t seem right in a way that will lead to the next discovery. It’s a way of thinking that I’ve attempted to maintain in the years since my college education came to an end, because it’s one of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned.

As a homeschool mom, I’ve come across quite a lot of debate about how science and faith interact. I’ve heard other mothers get angry when an old-universe timeline was assumed in a class taught to our local kids—so angry that the facilitators issued an official apology and assured us that this teacher would not be asked back. I’ve heard moms talk about protecting their kids from harmful philosophies like evolution. I’ve heard, over and over, that a biblical worldview must be protected.

And I’ve recoiled from this. Because my education has taught me that the truth doesn’t need to be protected. The truth simply is. And anything else discovered cannot contradict it. It can only challenge our understanding of it. Philosophies may be right or wrong, but learning about them isn’t harmful—so long as one’s foundation is firm.

I operate from the understanding that God is Creator, God is omniscient, God is omnipotent, God is omnipresent. God existed before and outside of time. He reveals himself through the Bible, but also through the world. The Bible, however, was never intended to be a scientific treatise—it was meant to show us how God interacts with man. This means using words. Meeting us where we are. In the ancient days, that didn’t include an understanding of quanta or the speed of light or astrophysics. This is not a failure of the Bible. And it certainly isn’t a failure of God. But trying to put both God and the Bible into a box of my own understanding…that is a failure. That leads to contradictions and often ridiculousness, as we try to cling to understanding that is clearly faulty.

I approach both science and faith from the standpoint that neither can ever disprove the other. Faith tells me that God is, that God has done these things. Science can help me understand how. And if science shows me something that doesn’t seem to fit with the Bible, then it’s not the science or the Bible that’s wrong—it’s my reading of it. I am the weak link here. I am the one who is limited, who is finite, who is biased. God certainly isn’t—and He doesn’t need my ignorant defenses, either. He does not need me to bend over backwards, trying to dismiss new discoveries or rewrite them to jive with passages from the Bible. God did these things however He did them. He doesn’t have to explain himself to me. And He doesn’t have to apologize either. What if the days in Genesis are literal? What if they’re metaphorical? This does not change my faith, either way. What if He used a Big Bang to get the universe started? What if He spoke it into being exactly as we see it now? What if He chose to use evolution to move the animals from sea to land to air? What if He created each species distinctly, never to cross? The answers can be whatever they are—because whatever it is, that’s how God did it, and that makes it good. Because He is a God without limits, and He is our definition of good.

Science as we know it today actually got its start because godly men believed that our Lord is a God of order—that He created a universe that is not chaotic, but which has rules. It was this belief, this understanding, that inspired them to start looking for that order and trying to understand those rules. But of course, over the centuries, lines were drawn. There came those who tried to use science to disprove God. And there were those who rejected science because discoveries didn’t line up with their understanding. This is a tale as old as time. But it doesn’t need to be our story. We can instead say, “My faith will not be defined by my own limited understanding.” We can say, “I will not put God in the box of what I can comprehend.” We can say, “Nothing we can learn can ever actually contradict His truth.”

I’m not a scientist. And I’m not a theologian. But I’m a thinker. And more, I’m someone who wants my kids to understand that they can seek, they can learn, they can discover…and that whatever they find through observation, it’s okay. Because it’s part of the world God made, and maybe He did it this way…or that way…or some other way. Believing one method over another does not negate one’s faith. God is bigger than our understanding, bigger than our doubts, bigger than our questions. He created a beautiful, orderly, complicated world.

And trying to figure out how, trying to understand His methods…well. That can be a form of worship. As long as we remember that He is at the heart of it all.

Piper’s Hole

Piper’s Hole

If there’s anything more beautiful than a cave carved from a cliff by the sea, I’m not sure I’ve seen it. There’s just something breathtaking about that visual reminder of the power of the waves, isn’t there? Words like erosion and corrosion just don’t capture the majesty and beauty of it.

When my family visited Cornwall in 2016, we saw many places along the coast at Land’s End with gorgeous columns of rock and crevasses cut by the water and time.

And the same sort of beautiful sea-made wonders can be found dotting the coasts of the Isles of Scilly—the largest and most famous of which is Piper’s Hole.

About Piper’s Hole

The sea cave is actually subterranean. The entrance is a rocky opening at the beach at the base of a cliff, and for the first bit of it visitors actually have to crawl over the huge boulders guarding the entrance. Back in the days when the historical guidebook Guide to the Isles of Scilly was written (1880s), lanterns or torches would have been the order of the day in order to see. By the time The Nature of a Lady takes place in 1906, electric torches (aka flashlights to those of us not from the UK) would have been a far more convenient way to light our path.

Once one has scrambled over the rocks, there’s a ledge you can drop over, beyond which is the true attraction: a pool. In days gone by, a small boat was actually kept there so that visitors could paddle around the small lake and explore, perhaps pull up at the sandy beach on the opposite side. Locals would sometimes place candles throughout the cave for tourists as well, which is said to have turned it into a romantic grotto.

The entrance to Piper’s Hole looks similar to the coastal rocks at Land’s End, seen here.

How Piper’s Hole Got Its Name and Other Legends

Where, you may ask, did this sea cave get its name? There are various theories. One more modern one says it’s named after clay smokers’ pipes (because there are seams of clay in the cave), but the more appealing theory is that back in the misty past, it was believed to be a fairy cave and it was said that one could hear the fairy’s playing their pipes from its depths.

I personally find that theory much more in line with many other whimsical names abounding in the islands.

Visitors to the isles may also notice there is a second Piper’s Hole. This one—smaller and not as impressive—is located on St. Mary’s island. Why, you may ask, does it bear the same name as the other cave on Tresco? Well, legend has it that the two are connected by an underground passageway. Men, it’s been said, have vanished into these caves never to be seen again…but there’s an old story about a dog going into the cave on one island and, a week later, emerging from the cave on the other, nearly starved and missing much of its fur from the tight passages it had to squeeze through.

Truth or tall tale? We’ll never know. But it’s a story that has persisted for hundreds of years, even appearing in the works of historian Samuel Drew, who is known for sharing only the facts—he presents this tale as being unbelievable, but he still includes it, which is unlike him. What made him write about this tale, even to scoff at it, as opposed to others he simply refused to include in his work? Perhaps there’s something about the idea of labyrinthian passages under the waters that struck a chord of truth in his mind. (You can find Drew’s book, The History of Cornwall, in Google Books. The story in question is on page 265.)

The History of Piper’s Hole ~
Yesterday and Today

In the 1600s, Piper’s Hole was actually a mine. There’s a vein of tin in there that was discovered and exploited. But that’s not actually where the cave’s history begins. It was already a cave at that point in time, not one created for the sole purpose of mining or anything. Historians agree that the cave has been around far longer than the seventeenth century…but what purpose it may served in the days of the Druids is still a mystery.

By the nineteenth century, tourism had become a major draw of the islands, and Piper’s Hole was one of the primary attractions. To that end, it was outfitted with the boat and lights mentioned above.

Today, the sea cave is a “visit at your own risk” location. If you want to tour it by boat you’d have to make special arrangements with a local to provide a dingy, and one scientist who toured it recently in search of evidence of the mine that once existed there, declared the water cold and appealing and littered with evidence of people—bits of wood and Styrofoam floating on the surface. Visitors are encouraged to check the tide charts and go only at low tide, and make sure someone knows where you are and what you’re doing so help can be sent if you don’t reappear in good time. After all, no one wants any modern tourists going the way of those dogs from the legends. 😉

John Mucknell, Pirate Admiral

John Mucknell, Pirate Admiral

Once there lived, and once there was a man born and raised a Cockney who, like so many others, took to the sea. John Mucknell was in many ways what we think of as a stereotypical sailor—he drank too much, cursed too much, and when he was in his cups, he was mean. But he was a man who knew how to get a job done, and so he rose through the ranks of the East India Company. By 1642, he was a Master and Commander, in command of a vessel called the Blessing.

But in 1642, England was in turmoil. And that turmoil was about to find a home in the already-trouble-prone heart of John Mucknell.

The English Civil War

1642 began what we now call the English Civil War—which was, in fact, a whole series of wars and political upheaval usually divided in three separate conflicts. The First Civil War lasted from 1642-46; the Second from 1648-49; and the Third from 1649-51.

As with so many other civil conflicts, the strife was rooted in disagreement over the best form of government. England had of course had a monarch for centuries, but during this era there was huge disagreement over how much authority a king should have. Royalists believed in the divine right of kings and absolute monarchy; Parliamentarians believed in rule by an elected body that would limit the power of a king or even abolish the monarchy. Often called “Roundheads” because of their simple, close-cropped haircuts (as opposed to the elaborate curled coiffeurs of the Royalists), supporters of the limited monarchy were often made up of religious groups like Puritans and Presbyterians who abhorred not only the abuse of power they saw in absolute monarchy, but also the vanities so often associated with life at court.

The English Civil War had its culmination in a (temporary) removal of the monarchy in 1649, when Oliver Cromwell took control and declared England to be a Commonwealth.

But what, you may ask, did the royal family do during these years of upheaval? Well, they didn’t sit around waiting to be captured and executed, that’s for sure. They went into exile, and they rallied their supporters to fight back.

Enter John Mucknell.

From Flagship to Pirate Vessel

Mucknell was a Royalist. Maybe he just felt intense loyalty to his king…or maybe he felt immense hatred for the reforms the Puritans tried to push on the populace—we’ll let you be the judge of his motivations. Either way, when the war began, he found himself in an interesting spot.

The East India Company wasn’t exactly political…but they were very much profit-focused. And King Charles had cost them a lot of money. He had a habit of seizing whatever cargo he desired, always promising to pay but never actually giving the Company their fair due. So when Parliament seized power, the East India Company was only too happy to keep operating and supplying the government with all the goods they needed—for a fair price.

This didn’t make Mucknell happy. So when he learned that the Company was giving him command of their new flagship, the John, he began to hatch a plot for mutiny.

Though in execution the plot was complicated and involved many players, in concept it was simple: steal the John from the East India Company with its Roundhead loyalties and sail it to the Isles of Scilly, where the exiled royalty had set up a base of operations. He’d present the ship to his rightful sovereign and thereby earn himself their respect. They’d know the name of John Mucknell, and he’d be more to them than a mere Master and Commander for the Company.

It worked. There were some hiccups in the plan, of course, and some near failures, but the result was that Mucknell and his stolen ship did indeed sail into port in the Isles of Scilly and present their prize to the Prince of Wales.

The islands, however, weren’t exactly fit for royalty at the time. They were bare rocks, barely producing enough to support the locals who lived there, never mind the royal court that had dropped in on them. The added influx of people was enough to bring the whole island chain to the brink of desperation. So to have the finest, best equipped vessel on the seas dropped in their lap was a boon that surely felt like divine providence.

Charles II, Prince of Wales at the time

The prince welcomed Mucknell most heartily and commissioned him to “fight” for king and country…by capturing any vessels that sailed through the straits and seizing their cargo in the name of the king.

The John had just become a pirate vessel, preying on the fleet that it was once the flagship for. Because who do you supposed sailed most often through the waters between the Isles of Scilly and the Cornish mainland? East Indiamen.

Vice Admiral of a Pirate Fleet

Of course, Mucknell wasn’t the only captain of a ship who swore loyalty to the royal family instead of the Roundheads, and many more also found their way to the islands to pledge their lives and vessels to the prince. Given that his ship was by far the best, Mucknell was soon placed in command of the entire “royal” fleet. He was named Vice Admiral—but there was no denying that this fleet was a fleet of pirates. Most of them had rather checkered pasts to begin with, and now they had a blank check for mayhem.

Piracy is certainly nothing new; but pirates weren’t known for being team players. Mucknell’s pirate fleet is one of the few known to history to operate in cooperation with each other. And oh, were they fearsome! They caused serious trouble for the Company and for Parliament…which meant that eventually, the Company and the Roundheads deemed it time to fight back. John Mucknell soon became Enemy Number One.

The End of the John

Only 19 July 1645, after evading the enemy for years, Mucknell found himself in a tight spot he couldn’t get out of easily. He’d just taken a ship, so his holds would have been heavy. He engaged with another vessel sent out to hunt him that morning off Land’s End. He was making for port in the Isles of Scilly, when three enemy vessels closed in.

His fleet was nowhere nearby to help…and likely wouldn’t have, regardless. They were, after all, still pirates. But these ships, commissioned by Parliament to hunt him down at all costs, stood between him and safe harbor. He had no choice but to engage them. The result wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been—he held his own and hit plenty of blows against them, despite being outnumbered. The John, however, took serious damage.

For centuries, historians had no idea what actually happened to it. All we know for sure was that it never haunted the waters again, though Mucknell and his crew certainly did. Did the ship sink, there off the Isles of Scilly? Did they limp it to shore and strip it down? These questions have intrigued history buffs and divers for years.

Because if the John sank, then its last haul was no doubt still on it, which means treasure buried with the wreck, so close to the shores of the islands.

Todd Stevens, a Scilly-based diver, thought he may be onto the wreck at one point. This spurred him to hunt up all he could find about Mucknell, the John, and the piratical royal navy that operated from his own island home. He published his findings in a book called The Pirate John Mucknell and the Hunt for the Wreck of the John. His theory, which is now widely accepted, is that the John managed to limp into port, that they beached it, emptied it, and then stripped the ship, putting all its materials to use elsewhere.

He’s probably right. But even so, the mystery of what Mucknell did with all the treasure he captured remains unanswered. Did he really turn everything over to the Crown? Highly doubtful. But we do know that he and his wife, Elizabeth, never spent any treasure-money. In fact, after Mucknell eventually died in the Caribbean (where he’d gone hunting more pirating opportunities) after the Civil War ended and his king was back on the throne, Elizabeth petitioned the Crown for Mucknell’s pension—something she certainly wouldn’t have had to do if she was living on pirate treasure.

There are, of course, many simple explanations for what likely transpired with Mucknell and all the booty he seized. But far more interesting is what could have happened. Maybe, just maybe, he didn’t turn it all over the Crown. Maybe, just maybe, he hid some of it in the Isles of Scilly. And maybe, just maybe, an unlikely group of friends stumbled across some of it in 1906.

If so, you certainly don’t want to miss the story about them. 😉 The fun begins in The Nature of a Lady, but it doesn’t end there! My characters will find more of the mysteries Mucknell and his cohorts left behind in To Treasure an Heiress and the final book in the trilogy too!

And now, I’ll leave you with the saying Mucknell was famous for. He would shout this out in the heat of battle, or any time his emotions ran high. So of course, it had to make its way into the prologue of The Nature of a Lady as well:

“I am a prince at sea!
I am the proudest man upon the face of the earth.
I am an Englishman, and were I to be born again,
I would be born an Englishman.
I am a cockney—and that’s my glory!”

A Tour of the Abbey Gardens

A Tour of the Abbey Gardens

The Abbey Gardens

In “Welcome to the Isles of Scilly,” I gave you an overview of this beautiful island chain and introduced you to some of the main places my heroine, Libby, visits in The Nature of a Lady, including a quick peek of the Abbey Gardens, with a promise of more to come. So today we’re going to focus solely on that tour of the Gardens!

Libby convinced her maid, Mabena, to take her to Tresco one Tuesday. It’s a twenty or thirty minute sail between the two biggest islands, and if visitors want to head straight to the Gardens, they’ll usually choose to dock at Carn Near. From there it’s an easy walk to the island’s main tourist attraction.

In the time of my story, 1906, visitors would have still rung for entrance and signed in by placing their names in a visitor’s book. I can only imagine the names that would be written in that over the decades! According to Guide to the Isles of Scilly by Tonkin and Tonkin, written in 1882, the book contained the signatures of many royals and nobility.

The Isles of Scilly have long been a place of many shipwrecks, and that storied history is on display in the Garden Lodge, where figureheads of wrecked ships are arranged, along with old anchors and other nautical memorabilia. One of the former lord proprietors is responsible for what was, by all accounts, an artistic and evocative display.

The Paths through the Abbey Gardens

The Lodge puts you out on what is called the Avenue, and various paths diverge from it into other areas like “Wilderness” and the “Long Walk,” which is the main road through the Gardens. The Gardens are arranged by region, with plants from those regions transporting visitors all around the world. The Wilderness is awash with ferns from all over the empire. 

Immediately upon exiting the Lodge, the Avenue will lead you to one of the many sculptures to found in the Gardens, of Neptune.

From there you’d enter Lower Australia, filled with exotic ferns, aloes, and bamboo. Then comes Higher Australia, with plants from New Holland, Tasmania, and more. You’ll find a cinnamon tree, Winter’s pepper, and the white-blossoming Hakea trees. The most popular tree in the gardens, however, is the Australian iron bark, known as the “blazing bush.”

The Long Walk

This section puts you out at the Long Walk, a path about eight hundred feet long. Strolling along this walkway will show you palms, dracaenas, gum trees, aloes, cacti, azaleas, fuchsias, and more. Smaller paths diverge on both sides, showcasing plants that truly vie for the eye with all their beauty. Together they create a picture to take your breath away—but you’ll want to draw it in again quickly, just to smell the beautiful fragrances always on the air.

With plants from India, China, Japan, and many more countries all nestled amidst the Abbey Gardens, visitors truly get the sensation of traveling the world over.

Counting the Blooms

Each New Year’s Day, the gardener and his team count the blooms and record them. Newspapers all over England have articles sharing the flower count; while it’s still mid-winter everywhere else, the Mediterranean and subtropical species in the Gardens are bursting with life and reminding the rest of Europe that spring is on its way.

I don’t know what the flower count was in 1906, but I daresay it was similar to what it was in 2021—there were an amazing 225 plants in bloom on January 1. You can read the article all about it here.

Ruins of the Old Abbey

In the Gardens you can also find the ruins of the old Abbey, which are now integrated into the garden display itself. You’ll walk through its arches, pass its well, and peer through its crumbling ruins into more flower beds.

In addition to things like an Italian pebble garden where a variety of bulbs flourish, there’s also a vineyard, fig trees, and aloe plants that take up to twenty years to fully mature and bloom. The gardener has also long tended fruit trees like plum, apple, and pear, and vegetables and berries are also grown here.

Libby quickly decided that she could spend a whole lifetime exploring the Abbey Gardens and studying each of the hundreds of species that grow here but can be found nowhere else in England.

Wouldn’t you love to stroll down the Long Walk with Libby and Oliver? I know I would!

Welcome to the Isles of Scilly

Welcome to the Isles of Scilly

It should come as no surprise that I’m excited about The Nature of a Lady, the first book in the Secrets of the Isles series. But I have to say, one of the things I love most about this series is the setting: the Isles of Scilly (pronounced “Silly”). And so, I absolutely MUST take some time to introduce it to you. Which requires some visualization, for sure! So settle in, and get ready for a little visual tour of one of England’s most remarkable island chains.

The entire series is set in the isles, during the summer and autumn of 1906. The series begins with my first heroine, Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, striking off from Land’s End, near Penzance, in Cornwall.

Land’s End, Cornwall

My family and I had the privilege of visiting Cornwall in 2016; we stayed in Penzance, and hiked across Land’s End, which was one of the most stunning vistas we’ve ever seen.

From there one would board a ferry and prepare for a two-hour trip across the 28 miles between the English mainland and its southernmost islands, the Isles of Scilly. These beautiful islands have a bit of a tropical look about them…and they’re in fact in a whole different climate zone from the rest of Europe! Spring arrives in the Scillies two months before it reaches anywhere else, which means that the flower industry has become one of their major sources of income.

The ferry (the last several have been called the Scillonian, though it would have been dubbed something different in 1906) takes its passengers to the main quay in Hugh Town, on the largest island in the chain, St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s Island

This is the island on which my heroine, Libby has rented a holiday cottage for the summer. And there’s much to see on St. Mary’s!

From the quay, Libby and her maid, Mabena (a native of the Scillies), take a stroll through Hugh town. The islands are made of granite, and most of the construction is of stone. Back in the day, these cottages would have had thatched roofs, and many gardens still have upright granite slabs with holes in them that would have had a rope tied through it, and stretching to the roof. These “thatch anchors” bear a resemblence to some Druid-era standing stones but, alas, had a simply practical use.

Libby and Mabena rented a cottage along the Garrison wall. From their holiday home, they’d have been able to follow a path through the sea grass directly down to the shore. Libby is an avid nature-lover and spends many a morning on the beach, studying the birds, the flora, and pretty much anything else she can find.

But over the course of the book, Libby and Mabena explore most of St. Mary’s and many of the other islands in the chain too. No matter where you go on the isles, you’re met with stunning views.

And Libby was extremely fascinated by the unique plantlife to be found in the islands, to be sure. In the image above, on the right side, you’ll note what looks like a palm tree. These are commonly known as Cornish Palms and can be found all throughout the Cornish coast. They aren’t a true palm but are actually a cabbage tree. Still, they add to the tropical flair of the islands and Cornwall in general.

Throughout all the isles, there can be found flora that exists nowhere else in England. Because of its warmer climate, the Scillies can support varieties of plants that can’t live elsewhere, and so specimens from all over the world were transported to the Abbey Gardens on Tresco, where they thrive. Over the centuries, the seeds from these imported plants have been carried by the wind and birds to other islands in the chain. In addition to these “wild” transplants, the islands have many cultivated flower fields, where European favorites are grown and harvested and shipped to the mainland.

But interesting plants aren’t the only things littering the isles. The Scillies have been inhabited for thousands of years, long before there was an England to claim them. All over the islands you can find Druid burial chambers, liths, and cairn fields, with new examples being discovered into the 20th century.

Of course, no one in the Scillies stays on just one island. Visitors today will find that there are boat captains aplenty happy to take holiday-goers island hopping for a modest fee, and it was no different in the Edwardian era. In The Nature of a Lady, the other island Libby goes to the most is Tresco.

Tresco Island

Tresco is the second largest island in the chain and where one can find the only manor house in the islands, Tresco Abbey. This is the home of the Lord Proprietor–the person put in charge of running the isles by the legal owner of the island, the Duke of Cornwall (aka the Prince of Wales). No one in the islands actually owns any property–it all belongs to the duke. But there are very longterm and “permanent” leases in such cases, which can be passed along in a family. My hero’s fictional family, the Tremaynes, had a permanent lease on a house I completely fictionalized; bigger than its neighbors, but smaller than the Abbey. They also own a modest estate on the Cornish mainland, making the Tremaynes landed gentry. Their hearts are in the Scillies, though, so that’s where they live.

Adjacent to the Abbey, you’ll find one of the main tourist draws of the islands–the famous Abbey Gardens. These will have a post all their own coming next week, but for now a really quick overview. The Gardens are filled with plants from all over the British Empire, many of which won’t grow in the climate of the English mainland. Libby, being a naturalist, was very eager to visit the Gardens. I imagine her spending many an hour on a bench like the one below, studying and sketching the plants…when she hasn’t forgotten herself and sprawled on the ground for a closer look.

In my story, I came up with a fictional gardener, Mr. Menna; and my hero Oliver has always been an avid student of botany and is an unofficial apprentice.

A longstanding tradition in the isles is gig racing–gigs are 5- or 7-man rowed boats, and every Wednesday morning, local teams pit themselves against each other to see who can race between islands the fastest. It seems that these races actually began when locals raced to return sailors to their ships, which were anchored in open waters. It’s a fun way the community comes together every week, and I couldn’t pass up including it in my story, even though from what I could find, the Wednesday races hadn’t begun quite yet. We actually meet Oliver Tremayne during an early morning gig race, where we see him pitted against his longtime rival, Casek Wearne, as their teams slice through the water.

In my version of the gig races, there are two steady teams who participate, with the islanders placing just-for-fun wagers on who will win each week–losers get to buy the drinks in the pub that night, or perhaps fetch some treats from a bakery.

After the races, you can well imagine all the islanders laughing their way back to their homes. The main settlement on Tresco is called Grimsby. There are both Old and New parts of the town.

But even Old Grimsby has nothing in age on some of the ruins to be found scattered throughout the islands! The Scillies have countless examples of old churches, priories, monks’ hermitages, and cottages that are now tumbling reminders of the ages gone by.

Included in the ruins are two castles, which feature a bit in The Nature of a Lady too! Cromwell’s Castle reigns over the coastline on the northern tip of Tresco, and you can see in this photo how close it is to Bryher, another of the inhabited islands.

I hope you enjoyed this little visual tour through the two largest islands in the Scillies, which feature most prominently in my book! Next week I’ll take you on an exploration of the Abbey Gardens, and after that, get ready for a pirate tale, because I’m going to introduce you to one of the isles’ most notorious past residents: John Mucknell, vice admiral of a pirate fleet.

(All images of the Isles of Scilly are licensed from Shutterstock)