Latest from the H for History blog

Pied Piper: Memories of World War Two

Posted on: 07/08/2017 with tags: author blog, English History, historical fiction, historical novel, world war II, 20th Century, WW2

In this charming essay, author Frank White, whose novel There Was A Time, was published recently by Hodder & Stoughton, shares two memories of the earliest days of the Second World War. During the second and third weeks of August, 1939, our family was  in Wales  – at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey. We were in Mr. Evans’ cottage, which sat, isolated and self-absorbed, hiding its face behind festoons of ivy, five strides from the beach.  When we arrived, on the Saturday afternoon, we found a bunch of…

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The Venice that inspired CITY OF MASKS

Posted on: 07/08/2017 with tags: author blog, historical fiction, medieval history, s d sykes, Venice, European, Renaissance

Author SD Sykes introduces the Venice that has inspired her latest novel, City of Masks. The approach from the sea.  My first visit to Venice was in 1982, and we had crossed the modern road bridge by car and then parked near the railway station. I’m not criticizing this way of approaching Venice, except that it slightly misses the point of this place. In my opinion, Venice is best approached from the water, so that you can really appreciate her as a city of the Sea. The first time I had the oppo…

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Tuesday Tidbits from Karen Maitland

Posted on: 25/07/2017 with tags: karen maitland, Medieval facts, The Plague Charmer, Tuesday Tidbits, Medieval, Middle Ages

A jolly John of Gaunt! One Lammas Day, John of Gaunt was riding through Ratby in Leicester when some locals invited him to join in their festivities for the end of the haymaking. He enjoyed himself so much that as he left he instructed them to meet him in Leicester, saying ‘I’ll give you something to marry your lamb.’ Given his fearsome reputation only fourteen men dared go but, being in an uncharacteristically generous mood, John gave each man who did a ewe, a wether (a castrated ram) and a pie…

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Commemoration the Great Fire in Thessaloniki 1917 – Victoria Hislop

Posted on: 24/07/2017 with tags: 1917, Great Fire of Thessaloniki, The Thread, Thessalonkik, Victoria Hislop, 20th Century

The first historical event I remember learning about at school was this: It had been a very hot summer, with no rain for weeks.  A fire broke out in small shop, and within hours a huge area of the city had been destroyed: 13,000 homes, 87 churches and a huge cathedral.  Soldiers blew up buildings to make firebreaks but only when the strong winds died down, could the fire be contained.  It smouldered for days. This catastrophe caused huge economic problems and homelessness.  And there were plenty…

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Jane Austen – Reading at Home

Posted on: 18/07/2017 with tags: English History, 19th Century

Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home follows the author throughout her life’s households. Below is an extract from the book detailing the Austen family’s fondness for reading aloud in the Rectory.   Her brother Henry described Jane’s novels, with their many drafts, as ‘gradual performances’. And Pride and Prejudice was written for a more literal type of ‘performance’, too: as entertainment for the family circle. This novel – indeed, all Jane’s novels, with their extended and theatrical dialog…

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Going to the Ball with Jane Austen

Posted on: 18/07/2017 with tags: English History, 19th Century

Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home follows the author throughout her life’s households. Below is an extract from the book detailing the preparation entailed in attending a ball.   The excitement of the evening began with dressing, the moment when ‘the first Bliss of a Ball began’. As Jane would put it in The Watsons, female camaraderie was important for getting up one’s courage. This was the time when strange girls, thrown upon each other’s company by the vagaries of family friendship or sh…

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Paul Fraser Collard: Going West

Posted on: 13/07/2017

It was always my idea that each Jack Lark novel would take place in new surroundings. This sets me a challenge and it is never easy to make the right choice of destination. However, I’ve been nurturing the idea that one day I would take Jack to America and to the American Civil War for a long time. It is a war that has always fascinated me, even though I initially knew only a little of the battles and the campaigns that were fought. But there was something in the bitter struggle between compatri…

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Historical fiction, ancestry and artefacts

Posted on: 07/07/2017 with tags: ancestry, archaeology, artefacts, David Gibbins, history, Testament

My most recent novel, TESTAMENT, contains five chapters of historical fiction – a prologue set at the time of the Phoenicians in the 6th century BC, two chapters set during the British Abyssinia campaign of 1868-9 and another two chapters at Bletchley Park in 1943. That emphasis on historical fiction continues the pattern of my eight previous Jack Howard novels, all present-day thrillers but with settings ranging from the earliest seafaring in the Neolithic to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem…

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Discover the audio editions of Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series

Posted on: 23/06/2017 with tags: alison weir, anne boleyn, Audio, henry viii, Jane Seymour, katherine of aragon, LoveAudio, Six Tudor Queens, Tudor

It’s #LoveAudio Week this week, and we’re celebrating some of our best-loved historical authors and their audiobooks. Up today is the brilliant Alison Weir, author of the Six Tudor Queens series. Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen  Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by bestselling historian Alison Weir, author of The Lost Tudor Princess, is the first in a spellbinding six novel series about Henry VIII’s Queens. Alison takes you on an engrossing journey at Katherine’s side and shows her extraor…

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The best historical audiobooks – Anthony Riches

Posted on: 21/06/2017 with tags: Anthony Riches, historical fiction, Roman

It’s #LoveAudio Week this week, and we’re celebrating some of our best-loved historical authors and their audiobooks. Top of the list is Anthony Riches, author of the Empire and Centurions series. Wounds of Honour (Empire I), read by Saul Reichlin: 13 hours, 32 minutes ‘A master of the genre’ The Times Marcus Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life – condemned to dishonorable death by power-crazed emperor Commodus. The plan is to take a new name, serve in an obscu…

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