One Minute Book Review – The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl

In 1612 William Shakespeare gave evidence in a case at the Court of Requests brought by Stephen Belott against the tire-maker, Christopher Mountjoy who was his father-in-law and with whom he had served an apprenticeship. Belott was suing Mountjoy for failure to pay in full the dowry promised when Belott had married Mountjoy's daughter Mary … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl

Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures 2017

In the Reith Lectures this year Hilary Mantel discusses what is at the heart of good historical fiction, our relationship with the past, and the central elements in a historical novelist's attempt to bring the past alive for us today. As Mantel herself says 'The reason you must stick by the truth is that it … Continue reading Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures 2017

Early Modern Women – Elizabeth Paston (1429-1488)

I have been fascinated by the 15th and 16th centuries since I studied Early Modern British history in my first year at university. In my reading over the ensuing years I have caught sight of people who had no influence on the grand scheme of things yet they  brought history to life, reminding me vividly that … Continue reading Early Modern Women – Elizabeth Paston (1429-1488)

One Minute Book Review – The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter Englund

The Beauty and the Sorrow is subtitled 'an intimate history of the First World War' and comprises a collection of letters and diary entries from twenty people who lived through the First World War. The diaries and letters are interspersed with narrative which traces the war, year by year. The individuals followed come from a … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter Englund

One Minute Book Review – The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson

The starting point of The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson is the legal case brought by George Norton against William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, in 1836 for compensation for illegal use of his property, Norton’s wife Caroline. Norton was, in essence, suing Melbourne for adultery. Norton lost the case, Melbourne remained as Prime … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson

Not What it Used to Be by Livi Michael

This interesting article by Livi Michael, published in Historia Magazine, looks at the way the writing of historical fiction has changed over the last fifty or so years in response to developments in historiography and the contemporary world view. In the course of my lifetime, historical fiction has been on a journey, from mass-market romance … Continue reading Not What it Used to Be by Livi Michael

One Minute Book Review – Australia’s Birthstain : The Startling Legacy of the Convict Era by Babette Smith

This book deals with Australia’s convict beginnings and the attempt, in the century following the ending of transportation, by both families and society, to cover up the past. Smith focuses on the convicts of six ships who are representative of the range of convict experiences and traces their lives from their conviction to freedom. Their … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Australia’s Birthstain : The Startling Legacy of the Convict Era by Babette Smith