Latest from the H for History blog

Authors Rebecca Mascull and Katherine Clements interview each other!

Posted on: 08/11/2013 with tags: author interview, authors, debut novel, eighteenth century, english civil war, English History, fact, fiction, historical events, historical fiction, historical record, historical research, history, inspiration, katherine clements, literary fiction, real characters, Rebecca Mascull, seventeenth century, the crimson ribbon, The Visitors, writing

Rebecca Mascull Katherine Clements Why do you write historical fiction? RM: As with many debut novelists, my first published novel, THE VISITORS, is not in fact my first completed novel. I wrote three novels before this and only one of these was an historical novel. My third novel was set during World War II, in both London and Poland. At the time, it seemed ridiculously ambitious and I was certain I wouldn’t be able to do it. I researched that novel full-time for over a year, read over a…

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GHOST RULES, by Rebecca Mascull

Posted on: 31/10/2013 with tags: debut novel, ghost story, ghosts, halloween, historical fiction, Rebecca Mascull, The Visitors

I’ve always loved a good ghost story, yet I’d never written one before. When I conceived the idea for the book which became THE VISITORS, I knew it would be about a deaf-blind girl, I knew there would be a love story and a war, but I had no idea there would be ghosts. I certainly did not intend they would take over the whole story and even the title of the novel. Originally, the setting of the story was just after the American Civil War. Thinking about my main character one day, I suddenly had a…

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A Soul Cake for All Hallows’ Eve

Posted on: 31/10/2013 with tags: All Hallows' Eve, An Appetite for Violets, food, Food Historian, Food History, halloween, historical fiction, history, Martine Bailey, Soul Cakes

It is the end of October, the fields are bare, the leaves have been blown from the trees, and the nights are growing longer. The darkness is coming. At this time of year we celebrate the end of summer and the cycle of death and rebirth. From as far back as anyone can remember, on one special night we gather together to share food and drink, play tricks and games. It is a time to connect with our ancestors, and honor the dead. In my home county of Cheshire this gathering has long had a unique nam…

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History Lives at Harrogate History Festival!

Posted on: 25/10/2013 with tags: Anthony Riches, authors, events, Harrogate History Festival, Lindsey Davis, michael jones, philippa langley, robyn young

The inaugural Harrogate History Festival kicks off this afternoon! We are delighted that many of our authors will be attending. Find out when you can see our authors: The Search for Richard IIILearn more about Richard III with The King’s Grave authors Philippa Langley and Michael Jones Friday 25th October 2013The Old Swan Hotel, 8:30pm To Battle! – Conflict in FictionInsurrection Trilogy author,Robyn Young,  will be speaking on a panel with Rob Low and A. L. Berridge. Saturday 26th October…

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Even the Cake was in Tiers (in honour of Episode 10 – the Finale – of The Great British Bake Off

Posted on: 22/10/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, baking, food, history, Hoefnagel, Martine Bailey, The Great British Bake Off, tiered cake, Wedding, Wedding cake

It’s the grand finale of The Great British Bake Off this week, and what could be more fitting than to bake a tiered wedding cake? No bakery item is so laden with superstition, folklore and potential difficulty. Attempting to follow the crumb trail back through history, we discover bride cakes pictured in about 1570 in Hoefnagel’s A Wedding Fete at Bermondsey. Hoefnagel’s A Wedding Fete at Bermondsey showing bride cakes. Looking like gigantic trays slung around the necks of young men parading jus…

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Historic Heston: a Radio 4 Book of the Week

Posted on: 21/10/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, bbc radio 4, Book of hte Week, food, Food Historian, Heston Blumenthal, Historic Heston, history, Martine Bailey, The Great British Bake Off

While we’re waiting for the finale of this year’s series of The Great British Bake Off and Martine Bailey’s post to accompany it tomorrow, we’ve been catching up on last week’s Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4.  If you haven’t listened to it yet, we highly recommend that you do, but hurry, for there are only a few hours left to listen to Episode 1 here. In Historic Heston, world-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal charts the best of British cooking from the mediaeval to…

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The King’s Deception – the new Cotton Malone adventure from Steve Berry

Posted on: 18/10/2013 with tags: conspiracy, Cotton Malone, Elizabeth I, mystery, secret, Steve Berry, The King's Deception, thriller

Look what arrived today! Stunning paperback copies of the latest Cotton Malone adventure by the internationally bestselling author Steve Berry. In THE KING’S DECEPTION, Cotton Malone travels to London and finds himself caught up in a conspiracy born in the time of the Tudors. As Malone races to uncover the secret, his search takes him from the Middle Temple to the chapel at Windsor Castle, and from an Oxford college to the sewers beneath Hampton Court.  Don’t miss this pulse-pounding…

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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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