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Friday, 30 October 2015

The Betrothed Sister - an 11th century epic

I have read all of Carol McGrath's Hastings Trilogy, and have been entranced by this little-known period of English history. Her most recent novel features a woman about whom little is known, but McGrath's research into the politics, events and atmosphere of the time have filled in the gaps .
Betrothed Sister

Carol McGrath's beautifully detailed novel of the exiled Princess Thea is a treat for the senses. For much of the novel Thea is on a journey to find her Russian Prince Vladimir, and we are in her company as she braves the icy Northern waters in a Dragon boat, crosses the vast steppes and fights off pirates and brigands. We are taken with her to chilly monasteries, fortress castles, and the 'terem' the womens' quarters at the Rus Court.We watch her embroidering her 'rushnyk' - her ritual wedding cloth, and visiting the local cunning woman.
The characters in this novel provide the reader with plenty of tension - the jealous Olga, the faithful Gudrun, and the men battling for land, and lusting for power. The finale is a gripping and spectacular battle for a city besieged, and it makes a wonderful climax to what has been a great series.

If you like well-researched historical biography with a wealth of period detail, you will love this. Highly recommended.

Find out more about Carol and the other books in the trilogy on her website

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Book Blog Tour - Spirit of the Highway

Here is the schedule for the blog tour for Spirit of the Highway
Big thank you to all historical fiction bloggers participating, and to Amy for organising it.

Monday, October 26
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 27

Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 28
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, October 29

Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, November 2

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, November 3
Spotlight & Excerpt at Brooke Blogs

Thursday, November 5
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, November 6
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Just One More Chapter
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Please do drop by to support these bloggers. See you there!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

New Anthology of Historical Essays

My post at English Historical fiction Authors this month is on the plunder of Basing House in the English Civil War. Read the post here.

The Plundering of Basing House exhibited 1836 Charles Landseer 1799-1879 Bequeathed by Jacob Bell 1859

Basing House inspired some of the events in the Highway Trilogy where I imagined the occupants of Markyate Manor might have suffered a similar fate. The painting above is The Plundering of Basing House by Charles Landseer, 1836, courtesy of the Tate.

Another related post which features in their new anthology, Castles Customs and Kings Volume II, is about what happened when soldiers came to stay. Find the original blog post here. During this period, if soldiers were billeted on you, you had little choice in the matter, and their stay could be dangerous and destructive. 

This whopping new anthology features several more articles from me, and also great articles from all your favourite historical fiction authors. Whether you like Romans, The Wars of the Roses, the Tudor Court, or Victoriana, there'll be something in here to tempt you, and much food for thought.

Castles Customs Kings II