Latest from the H for History blog

The Conqueror’s Christmas by David Churchill

Posted on: 01/12/2016 with tags: Charlemagne, christmas, david churchill, devil, duke, william the conqueror, Medieval

Two great empire builders were crowned on Christmas Day. The first, in the year 800, was Charlemagne. He liked to claim that it had happened by accident. He’d popped into St Peter’s Basilica in Rome for Christmas Mass, knelt down at the altar to pray and the next thing he knew, Pope Leo II was placing the crown of the Roman Empire on his head and calling him Emperor. It seems less than entirely credible that one of the greatest rulers in all European history could have received his mightiest tit…

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H for History’s Jo Liddiard reviews The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane by Jane Housham

Posted on: 29/11/2016 with tags: Book review, historical crime, The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane, true crime, Victorian, Victorian England, Victorian

At the start of The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane Jane Housham explains that ‘recounting a true story as it unfurled means you have to take it as it comes.’ She explains that it might not have a neat and tidy ending that you might expect, and that the story won’t unfold in the way a novel would – and she’s right but her engrossing book does not suffer because of this. I would always say – if asked to choose – that I would pick fiction over non-fiction because I need that narrative drive which yo…

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Jack Lark’s Christmas – Paul Fraser Collard

Posted on: 28/11/2016 with tags: author blog, christmas, historical fiction, Paul Fraser Collard, Redcoat, Victorian, Victorian

Jack Lark’s Christmas Paul Fraser Collard explores Christmas for a Victorian redcoat soldier Jack Lark awoke with a groan. Reveille was sounding, the bugler giving it a louder and longer flourish than usual. But it was not a day to linger under the blanket even though, like on a Sunday, he could have rested there for another hour. Already the chill barrack room was noisy, his messmates up and exchanging loud greetings, for once without their usual swearing and abuse. ‘Come on, Mud.’ Pike, the so…

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How the Victorians Changed Christmas by Anna Mazzola

Posted on: 24/11/2016 with tags: Anna Mazzola, christmas, Christmas Cards, Christmas Tree, Crackers, Father Christmas, The Unseeing, Victorians, Christmas, Victorian

Hate Christmas? Blame the Victorians. At the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas was barely celebrated. It wasn’t just Ebenezer Scrooge who begrudged his clerk the day off – many didn’t consider the 25th December to be a holiday. There were no crackers, no cards, no Santa, and no Christmas trees, at least not in England. By mid-century, however, Christmas was big business. Charles Dickens himself was partly to blame. A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, helped to popularise among the newly…

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Author David Morrell on escaping to Victorian London

Posted on: 17/11/2016 with tags: author blog, crime fiction, David Morrell, historical fiction, Victorian

For the past seven years, I’ve been a time traveller, writing a Victorian mystery trilogy about 1850’s London.  The three novels (Murder As a Fine Art, Inspector of the Dead, and Ruler of the Night) feature a controversial literary figure from the era, Thomas De Quincey, who was notorious for having written the first book about drug addiction, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), and who praised mass murderers in his famous essay, ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’. Seven ye…

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