Posted in 19th Century Reviews Victorian

review: The Testament of Sophie Dawes

The Testament of Sophie Dawes The Queen of Chantilly and a Scandal at the Heart of Victorian Society by Robert Stephen Parry Author Website / GoodReads / Amazon During the Victorian era, a few months after Prince Albert’s untimely death, an archivist arrives at the Queen’s residence of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. His job is to sort documents and file leftover memorandum that the staff had already sifted through and depleted of personal and sensitive information. This gentleman, who was never named, kept a diary to detail his hobby of observing nature and it’s in this format that the story is related. However, it’s not only birds, flowers and weather he records. Upon settling in his own rented house in St Helens–a…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 19th Century 20th Century Author Interview Belle Époque Victorian

author interview: Robert Stephen Parry on The Hours Before

Author Interview: ROBERT STEPHEN PARRY The Hours Before begins with an interesting character perspective. Can you explain why you chose this path for the introduction? Perhaps one of the easiest mistakes we can make in life (and the more successful, wealthy or comfortable one becomes the easier it is to make it) is to assume that humility and modesty are indications of inferiority in those we encounter – when in fact they can be, and often are, just the opposite. The world’s great religions, and even many of our most popular stories and myths teach us this. I have always been fascinated by the scenario outlined in the Bhagavad Gita – the Hindu spiritual classic – in which, on the eve of battle, the hero…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 19th Century Author Interview Victorian

author interview: Robert Stephen Parry on The Arrow Chest

1. Many reviewers have called The Arrow Chest hauntingly beautiful–which is true–but the supernatural elements are so subtle that only those well-versed in Tudor history see the glaring similarities between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and Oliver Ramsey and Daphne. Firstly, I applaud you for not making it sickening obvious; my question is: did you begin writing with the idea of blending histories or did it piece together as you were writing? The structure was set out way before the writing began in earnest. So yes the question, as you suggest, was always going to be just how much should the Tudor other-worldliness impinge on the Victorian reality in which the story itself is set? It’s all about striking the right balance. If it’s too…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 19th Century 20th Century Belle Époque Reviews Victorian

review: The Hours Before

The Hours Before By Robert Stephen Parry Set during the Belle Époque era, The Hours Before is the story of Deborah Peters, a once-celebrated clairvoyant turned dejected society matron, who is bent on revenge and readying herself for a final assignation with her adversary. Readers take a backward look at the events leading up to the protagonist’s current wretched state, and uncover the step-by-step truth of her daughter’s mysterious disappearance and possible demise. Penelope Peters, an English twenty-something student studying in Europe, is caught up in an occultist group focused on turn-of-the-century doomsday. Her father, Hugh Peters, is the head of a popular gossip newspaper which has of late determined to smear his ex-wife’s name and ruin her while covering up his daughter’s scandalous affiliations….

Continue Reading...
Posted in Author Guest Post Tudor

author guest post: Robert Stephen Parry

Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry So who is the Virgin and who is the Crab? Well, it probably comes as no surprise that the Virgin refers to Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth I. The Crab is a little less obvious – but it represents Elizabeth’s guide and confidante John Dee, a person perhaps not quite so well known. It is in a bid to rectify this sorry state of affairs that I first began to write my story. The whole thing takes place during the turbulent decade of the 1550s – shortly after the demise of Henry VIII. The character of Elizabeth is therefore not as we generally…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Non-Fiction Reviews Tudor

review: Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her

Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her by Robert Stephen Parry A unique mixture of fact and fiction, this volume contains 14 short chapters on Queen Elizabeth I’s relationships with the various men in her life—from her cold and distant father to her trusted councilors and, of course, the well-documented round of suitors. While some chapters give a brief history and descriptions of life at court, others are dedicated to a character, including a bio as well as a vignette. These fictionalized short stories display an insightful scene between the Queen and the man in question. Also included is a discussion on what the term “Virgin Queen” meant in Elizabethan times and the significance of the Queen’s astrological sign, Virgo—a link to…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 18th Century Georgian England Reviews

review: Wildish

Wildish by Robert Stephen Parry Set in Georgian England during the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, this is the story of Matthew Wildish, Master Wig Maker, socialite and something of a ladies’ man. Though he is not a titled gentleman, he moves in the most elite circles and has befriended many people in high places, however is still in the unique position of mixing with those of lower classes as well. This distinction serves him well in many facets, as one of his side-jobs consists of passing along information on those who may be a threat to the Hanoverian King George II. Matthew, with a little prompting from his muse, Johanna, begins working on a set of poems that will represent the seven celestial bodies (The…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 19th Century Reviews Victorian

review: The Arrow Chest

The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry Blending the life of a 19th century Pre-Raphaelite painter with famous Tudor personages, The Arrow Chest is the story of a Victorian couple in an eerily similar situation to the most famous of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn. Amos Roselli and his lifelong muse, Daphne, meet again after her marriage to a wealthy industrialist. Upon her parents urging, and her own desire to live comfortably, she chose Oliver Ramsey, not for love but lifestyle. He was at first an ardent admirer and happy enough to have her on his arm. But after the initial honeymoon period he began to count the disadvantages she brought–no money or connections, and ultimately no heir. Meanwhile, Daphne too began to see him for…

Continue Reading...