Posted in 17th Century Author Guest Post

guest post: The Most Famous Author You’ve Never Heard Of

Guest post by Hester Velmans, author of Slipper. He is the man who wrote some of the most famous stories of our time, but his name doesn’t ring a bell. He lived a full century before the Brothers Grimm and two hundred years before Hans Christian Anderson. And yet if you ask around if anyone has heard of “Charles Perrault”, you’re likely to be met with blank stares. That was the reaction I would get when I told people I was writing a novel about a young woman living in the 17th Century whose life could have been the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s most famous fairy tale. I don’t know how I came to the assumption that Perrault was a household name; I only know…

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Posted in 17th Century Guest Post

Tony Morgan: Remember, Remember the Gunpowder Plot

A big welcome from Historical-Fiction.com to UK author Tony Morgan as he introduces his novels set in early Seventeenth Century England. It all started with the Gunpowder Plot… Religious tensions, terrorists on the streets of London, conflict with Europe and concerns over increasing levels of government surveillance – does this sound familiar? 1605 was a time more like our own than we usually imagine. Following Queen Elizabeth I’s death in 1603, King James VI of Scotland was crowned King James I of England. Despite his mother Mary Queen of Scot’s Catholicism, James was raised a Protestant. In Scotland and England, he shared his palaces and bed, although the latter less frequently, with his Queen, Anne of Denmark. Anne was the mother of their children and…

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Posted in 17th Century Author Guest Post

Susan Holloway Scott: The Mad Earl, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-1680) appears in all four of my royal mistress books. To some of these ladies, he was an annoying gadfly, and to others, a devoted, amusing friend. To Katherine Sedley, the heroine of The Countess and the King, he was the kind, droll friend of her father. Either way, he was undeniably one of the most unforgettable and most tragic figures of Charles II’s Restoration court. Rochester’s father, Henry Wilmot, was a royalist officer in the army who earned his earldom by helping the soon-to-be Charles II escape Parliamentary forces. Though Henry died in the future king’s service, Charles remembered his loyalty, and always regarded his son with almost filial devotion. But the boy had gifts beyond the king’s favor….

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Posted in 17th Century Europe Restoration

First Line Friday: 01/06/17

“This is the last night of the year and I have sat here alone by the fire while my dear husband is out and about, and in thinking over how much has happened in the last twelve months I have resolved to keep a journal, and it will be private.” THE JOURNAL OF MRS PEPYS: Portrait of a Marriage by Sara George 31st December 1659 This is the last night of the year and I have sat here alone by the fire while my dear husband is out and about, and in thinking over how much has happened in the last twelve months I have resolved to keep a journal, and it will be private. I shall keep it hidden, and it will be mine…

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Posted in 16th Century 17th Century Reviews Tudor

review: Watch the Lady

Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle Penelope Devereux, daughter of Lettice Knollys, the woman Queen Elizabeth I called the “She-Wolf” for marrying the royal favorite, is pitted against the Essex faction’s rival, Robert Cecil, in this panoramic Tudor narrative. Penelope, beautiful, level-headed and witty, makes a perfect waiting lady and voice for the out-of-favor Devereux family, though it is her brother who catches the Queen’s attention. Robert Cecil, son of the Queen’s most trusted advisor, Lord Burghley, has loathed Robert Devereux since childhood, when the latter joined in to bully the physically weak Cecil. Thus an enmity existed when they each became an important fixture at court. Penelope, ever her brother’s champion, lead the family through the tangle of intrigues, deftly extracting herself from scandal…

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Posted in 17th Century

review: The Murder in the Tower

The Murder in the Tower by Jean Plaidy Set in the court of James I of England, this is the story of Frances, Countess of Essex, and the path she took to rid herself of her husband so that she could marry the king’s favorite, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset. Written in classic Plaidy style, many would not enjoy this novel because it’s lack of flowery prose. As usual, however, there is plenty of political intrigue and the characters dispositions and motives are perfectly portrayed. The book description tries to make it more mystical than it is; the witchcraft is entirely explained by a normal sequence of events, though the characters see what they wish to see in the circumstances. If you’ve read The Wise…

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Posted in 17th Century Restoration Reviews

review: The Merry Monarch’s Wife

The Merry Monarch’s Wife previously titled The Pleasures of Love by Jean Plaidy ‘But when I consider the truth of her heart Such an innocent passion, so kind, without art I fear I have wronged her, and hope she may be So full of true love to be jealous of me O, then ’tis I think no joys are above The pleasures of Love.’ Charles II Convent bred Catherine of Braganza was not prepared for the shock of Charles II’s licentious court when she set sail to England to become his queen. Her romantic ideal was accurate, but for the fact that she wasn’t the only woman loved by King Charles. He loved and respected her, but he could not give up his other loves…

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Posted in 17th Century Reviews

review: Mistress of the Sun

Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland Louise de la Valliere, nicknamed Petite for her small stature, is just a child of six when she delves into the black arts to calm a wild horse. Not knowing the repercussions of such an act, her life takes a downward turn as her beloved father dies a mysterious death and her hopes of joining her aunt at a convent are quelled by her mother’s ambitious second husband. Serving as waiting maid to Marguerite, a princess of the blood, she finds friends and solace through horses once again. A chance meeting with the king interests her in the exciting life at his court — one she never expected. She soon stands out as a horse charmer and hunter,…

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Posted in 17th Century Reviews

review: The French Blue

The French Blue by Richard W. Wise A narrative of the adventures of the French traveler and gem merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, The French Blue starts off with an exciting sea journey and meeting with the Aborigines of Australia as related by a visiting sea captain. Jean, already an excitable young boy, sets his heart on an enterprising future. After attempting schooling, military exploits and a stint as an amateur royal spy, Tavernier finally realized his dream of visiting the lands most likely to supply the precious gems he craved: Persia and India. These transactions, however, required careful diplomacy with the captains, leaders, emperors, moguls, princes, shahs and sultans of the various land and seas holdings. He had to play the perfect gentleman, yet make an…

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Posted in 17th Century Restoration Reviews

review: Forever Amber

Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor Forever Amber is a staple of classic historical fiction, along with Katherine by Anya Seton, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell—yet is set apart by its brow-raising protagonist. While Amber was not by any means a great, admirable woman, the background of this story and its amazingly accurate and eye opening historical details of the lives of every class – from the beggar in the street to the King himself — were poignant, true to form and mesmerizing. It is the best work of fiction I’ve ever read covering the rank in society of 17th Century England. Amber went through every dirty and glamorous occupation open to women of the age, including country…

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Posted in 17th Century Restoration Reviews

review: The Countess and the King

The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott Katherine Sedley is not a well-known name even among history lovers, but a closer look reveals a lady of wit who had the ironic position of being the Catholic King James II’s Protestant mistress. Because her mother was emotionally unstable, Katherine was raised by servants and began accompanying her father, Sir Charles Sedley, at an early age to places not quite suitable for her years. That he was a debauched, self-proclaimed poet with lecherous friends encouraged Katherine’s already quick retort and feisty tongue, making her into an enigma: a lady of quality with a serving girl’s manners (it’s no wonder she fast became friends with Nell Gwyn). Lacking standard court beauty, Katherine set herself apart with…

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Posted in 17th Century Reviews

review: The Secret of the Glass

The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin With elegant prose and alluring style, Donna Russo Morin brings 17th century Venice gloriously to life! Based on a glassmaker’s daughter and the invention of the telescope by Galileo Galilei, the story is both a tale of a young woman’s plight when faced with an arranged marriage and a retelling of the birth of modern science. Venetian glass has been the one of the most sought-after luxuries for centuries, and for good reason — only the glassmakers on the island of Murano knew the secret formulas and methods of creating the exquisite works of art. For this they were forced by the Venetian government to guard the secret, even on pain of death. Sophia, the premier…

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