Latest from the H for History blog

Review of The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

Posted on: 18/02/2016 with tags: 18th century, janet ellis, Reviews, the butcher's hook, Georgian

From the start Janet Ellis’ The Butcher’s Hook draws you in to the sights, sounds, smells and textures of Georgian London – be they pleasant or unpleasant. It is an incredibly sensory book – as you walk the streets of London with Anne, to Leveners, to see Fub, the butcher’s apprentice you feel as if you are with her. And Anne is an amazing central character. Determined to say the least – and prioritising her own happiness and future, whatever the cost. Even as it says in the blurb, it means she…

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Janet Ellis discusses The Butcher’s Hook

Posted on: 15/02/2016 with tags: janet ellis, the butcher's hook, Georgian

Here’s a real treat for you, the fabulous Janet Ellis discussing her dark debut The Butcher’s Hook. Janet Ellis talks to editor Lisa Highton on her debut novel The Butcher’s Hook, becoming an author and recording the audiobook. The Butcher’s Hook is the dark and twisted tale of a young girl in 18th-century London determined to take her life in her own hands, no matter the cost. Janet Ellis trained as an actress at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She is best known for presenting Blue Pete…

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Top ten books on the East by Lucy Cruickshanks

Posted on: 12/02/2016 with tags: Book Recommendations, lucy cruickshanks, World History

1.     The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh takes the reader on an epic journey through more than a hundred years of Burmese history, chronicling the formation of a modern nation via the stories of three generations of intertwined families. It’s rich with cultural insights and colour, and with his ability to evoke a sense of time and place like few else, Ghosh deftly explores the complexities of colonialism, war, multiculturalism, dictatorship and the challenges to personal loyalties each brings. 2….

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Henry VIII – tyrant or hero?

Posted on: 02/02/2016 with tags: alison weir, henry viii, Tudor

It’s easy to get the wrong idea about Henry VIII. Some see him as a Charles Laughton caricature, throwing chicken bones over his shoulder, changing wives and chopping off heads at a whim – or as a dangerously suggestible ‘great puppet’. The multiplicity of propagandist images of the mature King, which derive from Holbein’s ‘annihilating’ portrait, have overlaid all other perceptions the of younger, less embittered and tyrannical monarch. Henry was complex – you can’t just label him a monster, al…

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Review of The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements

Posted on: 29/01/2016 with tags: english civil war, katherine clements, Reviews, the silvered heart, Stuart

I have never read a book by Lady Katherine Clements before, and have not read many pieces of fiction that are set during the civil war, so I was really intrigued when I picked up this book. From the first page, I knew I would soon be hooked as Katherine plunges the reader straight into the action! The year is 1648 and we meet a young and frightened Lady Katherine Ferrers travelling along a treacherous road, away from her beloved home. By page 2, the coach they’re travelling in is stopped by a pa…

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Inspired by The Killing Fields

Posted on: 29/01/2016 with tags: Cambodia, Jacob's Colours, Lindsay Hawdon, The Killing Fields, 20th Century, Asian History, World History

Lindsay Hawdon has written this brilliant and moving article for us about her trip to Cambodia which helped inspire her novel Jakob’s Colours: ‘In October 2011 I set off with my two young boys on a trip around South East Asia for a year.  Though Jakob’s Colours is set during WWII, the following story very much affected a large part of the writing.  The events that occurred in Cambodia, only thirty six years ago, are very similar to what occurred during the holocaust.  Tragically they are still o…

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H for History February Highlights

Posted on: 26/01/2016 with tags: Book Recommendations, Reviews

The Road to Rangoon Lucy Cruickshanks In 1980s Burma, the British ambassador’s son goes missing. Discovered in the north of the country, Michael Atwood is in imminent danger, trapped between sides fighting a bitter civil war and with no way of getting back to Rangoon. His best hope of salvation is to trust Thuza, a ruby smuggler who offers to help him escape. Beautiful and deeply scarred, Thuza has spent her entire life in a frontier town between rebel and government forces, never choosing a sid…

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My inspiration for ‘Deep Trouble’ by Rob Lofthouse

Posted on: 26/01/2016 with tags: Deep Trouble, Rob Lofthouse, WW2

I have always been interested in Military History, but I’ve a particular interest in the Second World War as my Grandfather served in 6th Airborne Division as an artilleryman. I was only young when he told me his stories – of taking part in D-Day and making drops throughout North West Europe – but they stayed with me and have inspired me ever since. Did it have an impact on my own decision to join the army? Perhaps, but what is certain is that when I left the army in 2013 and decided I wanted to…

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The Man Who Cancelled Christmas

Posted on: 09/12/2015 with tags: civil war, katherine clements, oliver cromwell, the crimson ribbon, the silvered heart, Stuart

Katherine Clements, author of The Silvered Heart and The Crimson Ribbon, writes about the man who supposedly cancelled Christmas. Ask people what they know about Oliver Cromwell and you get the same answer time and again: He’s the one who cancelled Christmas. It’s an enduring story and one that fits the caricature of Cromwell as a Puritan killjoy who didn’t believe in having any fun. It’s easy to imagine Old Nol turning up his famous warty nose at the plum pottage or snuffing the candles and bol…

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Roast peacock for a medieval Christmas

Posted on: 07/12/2015 with tags: christmas, karen maitland, Medieval, richard II, the raven's head, wassial, Medieval

Karen Maitland, author of The Raven’s Head, writes about a typical medieval Christmas banquet… If you’re feverishly shopping for all those meals you’ll have to cook during the extra-long Christmas weekend this year, spare a thought for medieval cooks. In centuries past, Christmas lasted not just two or three days but twelve, from Christmas Day to Epiphany on 6th January. In 1398, after King Richard II remodelled Westminster Hall, originally built in 1097/8 by William the Conqueror’s son, Rufus,…

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