Posted in Articles Author Guest Post Non-Fiction

guest post: Leslie Carroll on Royal Pains

I’m pleased to welcome Leslie Carroll with an article related to her non-fiction book, Royal Pains: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds. ROYAL PAINS NOT IN THE BOOK Royal Pains: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes and Bad Seeds Arleigh and I had fun discussing the subject of my guest post and she decided she’d like me to talk about Royal Pains that didn’t make the cut into my book. ROYAL PAINS: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds is my third nonfiction title for NAL, and as always, devising the table of contents was almost as challenging as the research itself, because there’s a never-ending parade of Pains! Ultimately I decided to narrow the field to an even dozen…

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Posted in Articles

Versions of Romeo & Juliet Throughout History

When you think of Romeo and Juliet, what first comes to mind: Shakespeare’s play, the 1968 film adaptation or one of the many beautiful paintings featuring the lovers? Or, perhaps, you recall sitting in high school English, Drama or Literature trying to decipher the archaic language while pretending to find the hidden meaning of it all. Before reading O, Juliet, becoming intrigued and doing further research, I had little knowledge of the legend at all. In fact, I assumed Shakespeare’s was the original. How wrong I was! This research has really opened my eyes to much, not just Romeo and Juliet related, but with the life of Shakespeare, or the person who may have published under the name Shakespeare… but that’s another story (and thoroughly…

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Posted in Articles

Mothers in Literature: HF Version

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I have selected three mothers from literature I have read, each decidedly different from the other. We have an exemplary step-mother of ten, a well-intentioned, but delusional doting mother of five, and a grandmother bent on scheming and revenge. The latter may not be what’s expected of a holiday post, but let’s be honest: in fiction, there are very few protagonists with perfect parents. In fact, it’s fairly common for writers to use a dysfunctional home life as the catalyst for interesting characterizations. Along with the social team at RedEnvelope (who were an inspiration in writing this post), to my own mother, Carol, who instilled in me a love of reading, I dedicate the following trio: mother, step-mother and grandmother,…

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Posted in 15th Century Articles Tudor Wars of the Roses

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Novels

There are three “Princes in the Tower” novels that have intrigued me over the years: To the Tower Born by Robin Maxwell, Figures in Silk and Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett. All three make use of a background character’s view of events, some fictional–such as Bennett’s Isabel Lambert and Maxwell’s Nell Caxton–and others who were indeed on the fringes of the court during the era–Elizabeth of York, Jane Shore and Meg Giggs. While To the Tower Born and Figures in Silk are set during the era, Portrait of an Unknown Woman is indeed a Tudor novel set in the 1520’s, but has roots that lead back to 1485 via Thomas More, known for slandering Richard III in his book The History of…

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Posted in Articles

From Frankenstein to Perkin Warbeck

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is best known as the author of the classic novel Frankenstein, but as I discovered in the author notes of Pale Rose of England, she also wrote The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, a novelized version of his life. Shelley is said to have truly believed Warbeck to be the lost prince and even molded her characters to her own beloved husband’s qualities, and Catherine’s to hers. Courtesy of Google Books, I was able to skim through a little of the book and found it readable, if a little stiff (much like a non-fiction). I’m always interested to learn of an accomplished classic writer’s views on historical events–especially ones like the story of the Princes in the Tower, that are mysterious to us…

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Posted in 18th Century 19th Century Articles

Fact and Fiction: Emma, Lady Hamilton

Emma Hamilton, celebrated mistress of British Naval hero, Horatio Nelson, is only a minor character in A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent, but made a positive impression on this reader. I could tell there were interesting reasons behind the differing opinions of the lady by characters in the book, and an intriguing untold story of her life. After speaking with author Leslie Carroll, who has a published novel on Emma’s life titled TOO GREAT A LADY (written under the pseudonym Amanda Elyot), I found that some information I’ve read (non-fiction, even) is erroneous, and thus I am reluctant to pass it along here. Emma Hamilton is, however, a lady I look forward to learning more about. Along with the beautiful paintings I am displaying here,…

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Posted in 15th Century Articles Wars of the Roses

Eleanor Hibbert: Letter about Jane Shore in The Goldsmith’s Wife

Just days after the announcement that confirmed Richard III’s remains were found, I received this correspondence (purchased from a document seller on eBay) between Eleanor Hibbert (Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr, Eleanor Burford, Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow, Ellalice Tate, Anna Percival) and a reader from the University of Illinois English Department on Jane Shore, and along with her a mention of “the enigmatical Richard III”. This prompted me to compare my 1950 edition of The Goldsmith’s Wife with my 1979 edition, in which an Author’s Note had been added. Did this inquiry have anything to do with the curious addition to later printings? Re-reading the Author’s Note, it does not seem as though she had added any further thoughts relating to Mr. Harner’s questioning,…

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Posted in Art History Articles Impressionism

Edouard Manet and Impressionism

“Concision in art is a necessity and an elegance. The verbose painter bores: who will get rid of all these trimmings?” – Edouard Manet Edouard Manet is sometimes grouped in with the Impressionists of the late nineteenth century art movement, however he was more of a forerunner. Being a decade older than Claude Monet and his contemporaries, Manet’s style did set the tone for the change overcoming the art scene in Paris and with his friend Degas began the shift from Realism to Impressionism. The term Impressionism was coined by a critic who realized the group of artists mostly turned away by the Salon de Paris had in fact founded an emerging new style. Those who were not accepted by the Salon, which was the…

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Posted in 19th Century Articles Reviews Victorian

From Historical Fiction to Suspense: Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn

Today is the 20th anniversary of Eleanor Hibbert’s passing on January 18, 1993 and in honor of her memory I have taken on her first suspense novel, published in 1960 under the pseudonym Victoria Holt—Mistress of Mellyn. While I have previously read The Queen’s Confession and My Enemy, the Queen, both biographical historical novels have the exact same quality and style of her Jean Plaidy novels. In fact, I am unsure why they were even published under Holt, unless it was to keep with the pace of publishing one Holt novel each year (as two other “Jean Plaidy” novels were published during those same years). Mistress of Mellyn is different from Plaidy, Kellow and Tate novels in that it is undeniably of the mystery and…

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