Dramatis Personae – The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

I have been savouring The Mirror and the Light for about a month now and, like most people, when I think of Thomas Cromwell I think of Mark Rylance although I know he looks nothing like Cromwell. Apart from the major players, I have no idea what many of the other characters looked like. So … Continue reading Dramatis Personae – The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

‘To have and to hold from this day forward’ – The Celebration of Marriage in Early Modern England

The final step on the road to marriage in the 16th century was, as it is now, the marriage service itself. At its most basic, all that was needed to create a marriage was a mutual promise to marry followed by consummation.(1) Unfortunately for many women, this was often not enough to ensure that the … Continue reading ‘To have and to hold from this day forward’ – The Celebration of Marriage in Early Modern England

The Bridled Tongue – Some Background

Usually there are years of research over a wide range of topics involved with any historical novel. Although much of it is, thankfully, not described explicitly in the novel, it all helps to plausibly reconstruct the world as it was. I have drawn together here a number of the blog posts I have written on … Continue reading The Bridled Tongue – Some Background

this covid life

don’t you stand so close to mekeep your distancehold your breathand do not sneeze told a man offin the supermarket‘stop fondling the onions’he looked bemused wipe everything over when you get it homerinse bananas cans of tunaremember: wash your hands seventeen cans of black beansninety-one rolls of toilet paperthree slabs of melbourne eleven bottles of … Continue reading this covid life

My Reading – March 2020

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernanThe waiting room was ugly and neglected. A Slanting of the Sun by Donal RyanShe cries sometimes, without noise. Ten Doors Down: the story of an extraordinary adoption reunion by Robert TicknerI have a date with destiny this Sydney summer day in late January 1993. The Black Ascot by Charles … Continue reading My Reading – March 2020

Book Review – A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan

A Slanting of the Sun is Donal Ryan's first collection of short stories. It is written in the same beautifully crafted poetic and uniquely Irish prose as his novels. All but one of the twenty stories are told in the first person, each with a distinctive voice. The characters cover a range of ages, sex … Continue reading Book Review – A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan

Witchcraft Trials in Early Modern England

A far more succinct version of this post was published by The Coffee Pot Book Club on 9 March 2020. ‘The early-modern European witch-hunts were neither orchestrated massacres nor spontaneous pogroms. Alleged witches were not rounded up at night and summarily killed extra-judicially or lynched as the victims of mob justice. They were executed after trial and … Continue reading Witchcraft Trials in Early Modern England