Book Review – A Murder by Any Name by Suzanne M Wolfe

A Murder by Any Name is set in 1585, a time when England was providing arms and support to the Dutch in their fight against Spain, the King of Spain had already begun building his great armada and the English government was ever alert to plots against the life of Queen Elizabeth I. The story … Continue reading Book Review – A Murder by Any Name by Suzanne M Wolfe

The Devil’s Dye by Jeni Neill

Today, I’m delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Jeni Neill's debut novel, The Devil's Dye which is set in and around Norwich in the 1560 and 1570s and follows the fortunes of a family of Strangers, Protestant refugees escaping persecution in the Spanish Netherlands. Excerpt Apprenticing the two Wright boys to Jowan has been … Continue reading The Devil’s Dye by Jeni Neill

Drake – Tudor Corsair by Tony Riches

Today, I'm delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Tony Riches' new book Drake - Tudor Corsair as part of his blog tour with the Coffee Pot Book Club. This is the first book in his new Elizabethan Series. Excerpt Gorhambury Manor, home of the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Nicholas Bacon, May 1577 … Continue reading Drake – Tudor Corsair by Tony Riches

Early Modern Women – Sabine Johnson (c1521-1597?)

There is no known portrait of Sabine Saunders.This portrait is of Jane Pemberton (1518–1602) whose life bears some similarities to Sabine's, She was the daughter of Christopher Pemberton, a Northamptonshire gentleman and married Nicholas Small, a London cloth merchant, probably in about 1540.Hans Holbein c1540 / Public domain Sabine Saunders was the daughter of Thomas … Continue reading Early Modern Women – Sabine Johnson (c1521-1597?)

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

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

The Bridled Tongue – My new novel

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Last Saturday I released my second novel, The Bridled Tongue. This is a story that, once again, takes place in the 1580s with fictional characters set against what I hope is a reasonably accurate historical background. While the developing relationship of the two main characters, … Continue reading The Bridled Tongue – My new novel

Norwich Castle – Palace and Prison

Norwich Castle’s square keep has dominated the centre of Norwich for centuries. It has dominated my thinking, too, for at least four years since I visited it in 2016. It could almost be said that I have obsessed over, particularly, the arrangement of the interior of the castle as a section of my latest novel, … Continue reading Norwich Castle – Palace and Prison