What irritates me most intensely about family history are things like Ancestry ads and programs like Who Do You Think You Are? that make it all look so quick and easy. As anyone who is serious about tracing their family’s history knows, genealogy is a long, long game. Over fifty years ago my mother started … Continue reading Family History as it is Really Done – William George Bowden alias Watson
1549. Edward VI, the eleven-year-old son of Henry VIII has been on the throne two years. The country is effectively run by the Lord Protector, Edward Somerset. The preceding decade has seen war with Scotland, inflation, unemployment, rising rents and declining wages. A sense of grievance is swelling among the common people against the imposition … Continue reading Book Review – Tombland by C.J. Sansom
In the 16th century, marriage was not a purely personal affair but rather a group effort involving acquaintances, friends or family members. When a young man or woman or, more often, their parents decided it was time to marry, the first step was to find a suitable spouse. After determining that there was no one … Continue reading The Elizabethan ‘Suter’
Set in the fictional village of Oakham, Somerset, The Western Wind starts on Shrove Tuesday 1491. This is Day 4 of the story as this novel is told backwards over four days from Shrove Tuesday to the previous Saturday. It is the first person narrative of the parish priest, John Reve, a gentle and compassionate man … Continue reading Book Review – The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
Tombland by C J Sansom I had been in my chambers at Lincoln's Inn when the messenger came from Master Parry, asking me to attend him urgently. A Pure Clear Light by Madeleine St John 'Simon, there's a woman over there who keeps looking at us.'
The Innocents is set in the American West in 1868. 'The Innocents' are Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy, a nephew and uncle team, who rob only banks and railways and are courteous to the ordinary people they may discommode during the course of a robbery. Abigail McKay, a Scottish woman, has spent weeks travelling by … Continue reading Book Review – The Innocents by C A Asbrey
The Lenten and Easter season in pre-Reformation England was rich in sights and sounds and smells. Shrove Tuesday was celebrated with pancakes and football games, plays and masquerades. Ash Wednesday brought the blessing of ashes and their application by the priest to the foreheads of the faithful with the injunction ‘Remember O man that thou are … Continue reading Easter in Early Modern England
The Familiars by Stacey Halls I left the house with the letter because I did not know what else to do. The Innocents by C. A. Asbrey The blade slipped through the skin, twisting and gouging over and over again until the soft flesh was mushy and yielding to the blade. The Watermelon Boys by … Continue reading My Reading – March 2019
A year ago today I published Forsaking All Other, an Elizabethan love story set against the war in the Netherlands abroad and Catholic plots at home. Forsaking All Other has been almost continuously in the top 50 bestsellers in Amazon’s Tudor Historical Romance Category for the last eight months – and for a brief shining … Continue reading It’s My Book’s Birthday!
I have something of a magpie brain—I like to collect shiny bits of information, not necessarily immediately useful but interesting, to me at least. Over the past few weeks I have been heavily revising my current work in progress, The Bridled Tongue, and checking that I have no glaring anachronisms. These are some of the … Continue reading Elizabethan Magpie Pickings