Latest from the H for History blog

THE YEAR AFTER by Martin Davies on the BBC Radio 2 Arts Show!

Posted on: 15/10/2013 with tags: backlist, BBC Radio 2, Bookseller Choice, first world war, Martin Davies, The Arts Show, The Year After

On last week’s episode of The Arts Show on BBC Radio 2, independent bookseller Samantha Buckley was asked to talk about two new releases and also pick one favourite book to talk about. How delighted were we when we heard that Samantha chose the wonderful THE YEAR AFTER by our very own Martin Davies!  THE YEAR AFTER is set in 1919 in an England still reeling from the loss and devastation of the First World War. Samantha mentioned that all of Martin’s historical novels are beautifully…

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A French Jumble (in honour of Episode 9 of The Great British Bake Off)

Posted on: 15/10/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, cookery, debut novel, eighteenth century, food, French food, historical fiction, Hogarth, Martine Bailey, The Great British Bake Off

What greater challenge could the contestants on The Great British Bake Off face than this week’s tasks, which all focus on super-fiddly French food? After all, French food is the pinnacle of gastronomy, oui? Not to the Eighteenth-century traveller, it wasn’t. ‘For my own part, I hate French cookery,‘ wrote Smollett in his bestselling Travels through France and Italy ‘and abominate garlick, with which all their ragouts, in this part of the country, are highly seasoned.’ Even the Gentleman’s…

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Historical Novelist Julian Stockwin on the inspiration behind his Thomas Kydd series

Posted on: 11/10/2013 with tags: bbc radio 4, bookclub, Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel, historical fiction, historical novels, inspiration, interview, Julian Stockwin, Thomas Kydd

On a recent episode of BBC Radio 4’s Bookclub, Hilary Mantel spoke about the inspiration behind her latest novel Bring up the Bodies: a paw print on a brick dating back to the 1530s.  We thought we would ask one of our best-loved historical novelists, Julian Stockwin, whether he had ever been struck by an object in a similar way, or whether seeing a historical artefact had immediately compelled him to pick up his pen and start writing. This is what he told us: ‘In writing the Thomas…

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Anthony Riches walked Hadrian’s Wall!

Posted on: 09/10/2013 with tags: Anthony Riches, Empire, Hadrian's Wall, Roman Britain, roman empire, walk

Back in April, one of our authors Anthony Riches and two of his friends and fellow writers Ben Kane and Russ Whitfield walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall for charity in full Roman kit!  Though Tony kept us all updated via his blog, we thought it would be fun to bring all his posts together, which we have done for you here:  1. WALL WALK DAY 1 Firstly a huge apology to the people who turned up to Waterstones in Carlisle expecting to see three authors, including myself, at 1400 today. Our t…

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Oats and Wheat (in honour of Episode 8 of The Great British Bake Off)

Posted on: 08/10/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, Biddy Leigh, Boswell, charles dickens, coeliac disease, Dr Johnson, georgian england, Gluten Free, Margaret Thatcher, Martine Bailey, Oats, Oliver Twist, Proverbs, The Great British Bake Off, Wheat

Bread With Pleasure This week the Great British Bake Off contestants have to create gluten-free bakes. So was there such a thing as a gluten-free diet in Georgian times? Well, no and yes. No, because the essential link between disorders such as coeliac disease and the gluten in wheat was not made until the 1940s, when a Dutch doctor noticed an improvement in his patient’s health during a wheat famine. But yes, there was a widespread wheat-free diet that much of the British population ate – namel…

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MURDER AS A FINE ART: David Morrell, the Ratcliffe Highway Murders and the Manchester Literature Festival

Posted on: 07/10/2013 with tags: 1854, addiction, crime fiction, David Morrell, drugs, Edgar Allan Poe, Freud, historical crime, historical fiction, historical thriller, Jack the Ripper, laudanum, London, Mulholland, opium, private detective, psychoanalysis, Ratcliffe Highway Murders, Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas de Quincey, true crime

International thriller writer David Morrell, best known for his novel First Blood on which the Rambo films were based, is in the UK this week to attend the Manchester Literature Festival on Wednesday evening where he will speak about his latest book, MURDER AS A FINE ART. (You can find out more, and book tickets here.) Set in Victorian London and expertly blending fact with fiction, MURDER AS A FINE ART is a harrowing exhumation of the infamous Ratcliffe Highway murders, a series of mass killing…

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I Love Thee Like Pudding (in honour of Episode 7 of The Great British Bake Off)

Posted on: 01/10/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, Biddy Leigh, food, Food History, georgian england, Martine Bailey, plum pudding, pudding, recipes, The Great British Bake Off

Nostalgia and puddings go together so perfectly – like hot pudding and custard you could say. The highlight of my school dinners had to be the steamed puddings – chocolate, syrup or a lovely pink one with jam and coconut. The Georgians also delighted in a huge variety of hot puddings. One surprise is that their famed roast beef and plum pudding were sometimes cooked and served together, the pudding absorbing the gravy from the roast, just as we might cook a Yorkshire pudding beneath a beef joint…

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Of Tea Loaves, Toast and Tea (and The Great British Bake Off)

Posted on: 24/09/2013 with tags: afternoon tea, An Appetite for Violets, bread, cake, food, historical recipes, Martine Bailey, recipes, tea, tea loaf, The Great British Bake Off

Yes, it’s that time of the week again (hooray!) and on tonight’s episode of The Great British Bake Off, the contestants will be asked to make tea loaves. The East India Company started importing tea to Britain in the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that tea consumption really took off. It was allegedly Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who started the fashion of afternoon tea with a light snack in order to avoid what she called ‘that sinking feeli…

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Authors Rebecca Mascull and Kerry Drewery interview each other

Posted on: 19/09/2013 with tags: authors, fact, fiction, historical fiction, historical research, inspiration, interview, Rebecca Mascull, The Visitors, writing

Rebecca Mascull Kerry Drewery What are your research methods? KD: I tend to start off quite wide, just to get a feel for the place; reading novels set there, watching documentaries, etc, and as I get to know where the story is going the research will become more specific to do with time/place/event etc. With A Brighter Fear, I wanted to get a range of opinions on what was happening, so I read accounts by soldiers, people living there, journalists. I also created a ‘picture board’, with photos of…

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History in the Court, Goldsboro Books 26th September 2013

Posted on: 18/09/2013 with tags: Anthony Riches, authors, event, Goldsboro Books, historical fiction, history, History in the Court, robyn young

Next week sees the return of History in the Court at the fabulous independent bookshop Goldsboro Books in the heart of London. Held in conjunction with the Historical Writers’ Association, History in the Court is an evening dedicated to celebrating the very best of historical writing.  If you’ve never been before, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to meet some of your favourite historical writers (our very own Robyn Young and Anthony Riches will be there), buy some first ed…

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