A Glimpse of Elizabethan Norwich

I am currently revising my next novel, The Bridled Tongue, which is set partly in Norwich. Although Norwich suffered extensive bombing during World War II, there are numerous areas where Norwich's history is still plain. In 2016 I visited Norwich and so was able to glimpse the streets and sights that would have been familiar … Continue reading A Glimpse of Elizabethan Norwich

‘The great daunger of childbyrth’

While not an absolute rarity, portraits of pregnant women were not common in the Renaissance period. Surprisingly, there are  a number of late Elizabethan and early Jacobean portraits of women at an advanced stage of pregnancy, sometimes surrounded by their children, sometimes alone. Many of these were painted by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. When I … Continue reading ‘The great daunger of childbyrth’

One Minute Book Review – Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

London 1595 and Richard, younger brother of William Shakespeare is a player in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men where William is both playwright and a sharer (a senior member of the company who shared both its expenses and its profits). Richard’s arrival in London a few years earlier was not welcomed by William. He packed Richard … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

One Minute Book Review – Shakespeare’s Restless World by Neil MacGregor

In 2012 Neil MacGregor, then Director of the British Museum, gave a series of fifteen-minute talks on Radio 4 called Shakespeare's Restless World which took twenty objects from the late Elizabethan/early Jacobean period and examined them in detail, setting them not only in their historical setting, but also in that of Shakespeare’s plays. This book, … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Shakespeare’s Restless World by Neil MacGregor

Forsaking All Other Love is no game for women; the price is far too high. England 1585. Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a … Continue reading

Sir Philip Sidney – The Death and Burial of a Most Noble and Valorous Knight

Even in his own lifetime, Sir Philip Sidney was seen a peerless knight. Born in 1554,  he was the  eldest son of Sir Henry Sidney and Lady Mary Dudley, sister of Elizabeth's favourite Robert, 1st Earl of Leicester. In 1571 Philip Sidney began a tour of the Continent with the aim of improving his languages … Continue reading Sir Philip Sidney – The Death and Burial of a Most Noble and Valorous Knight

One Minute Book Review – Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant

Sacred Hearts is set in the Benedictine convent of Santa Caterina in Ferrara in 1570, a time of upheaval with changes brought about by the Counter-reformation, the Church's response to the Protestant Reformation, threatening to alter the way the nuns lives are lived. The Church reformers have not yet set their eyes on Santa Caterina … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant

One Minute Book Review – La Princesse de Clèves by Madame de Lafayette

This edition of La Princesse de Clèves also includes two earlier works written by Madame de Lafayette – La Princesse de Montpensier published in 1662, and La Comtesse de Tende published posthumously in 1718 although this is probably the earliest of Madame de Lafayette’s works. Both are short, no more than thirty pages and deal … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – La Princesse de Clèves by Madame de Lafayette

One Minute Book Review- Fair Helen by Andrew Greig

In Fair Helen Andrew Greig takes the Border ballad 'Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea' and weaves a story of intrigue and doomed love in the Scottish border lands of the late 16th century. The not quite reliable narrator is Harry Langton cousin of Helen Irvine and best friend of Adam Fleming, the Scottish Romeo and … Continue reading One Minute Book Review- Fair Helen by Andrew Greig