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‘Take the Skull of a Hanged Man …’ – Karen Maitland

Posted on: 27/09/2017 with tags: karen maitland, Medieval, Skulls, the raven's head, Medieval, Middle Ages

The Medieval period was an age of contradictions and none more so than the curious attitude towards the skulls of the dead. Skulls were thought to be where the human soul or spirit resided in life, and after death the skull retained the consciousness of the deceased. This belief is so ingrained in our imagination that, even to this day, if ancient skulls are discovered in houses and removed, some people fear misfortune will follow. The skull of Theophilus Brome was reported to have screamed in f…

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Tuesday Tidbits from Karen Maitland

Posted on: 26/09/2017 with tags: karen maitland, Medieval facts, The Plague Charmer, Tuesday Tidbits, Medieval, Middle Ages

Larks claw Delphinium consolida, also known as larkspur, larks toe and larks heel. In Medieval times this plant was used to pack wounds and treat the stings of scorpions. Oil from the seeds was extracted to kill lice. If tossed in front of any venous beast, it was widely believed the creature would not be able to move until the herb was removed. Leek sops A popular medieval dish. The white part of leeks was sliced and boiled until tender in a meat broth, together with lard or butter. Then the le…

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Gill Paul’s 6 Favourite Historical Fiction Novels

Posted on: 17/08/2017 with tags: andrew miller, Another Woman's Husband, Barbara Kingsolver, Dinah Jefferies, Favourite Novels, Gill Paul, historical fiction, Paula McLain, Rose Tremain, Sebastian Faulks, 20th Century

Gill Paul’s Another Woman’s Husband is available now in ebook and from 2nd November in paperback. Here she reveals her six favourite historical fiction novels: The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, is one of my all-time favourite novels. Set in the Belgian Congo in 1959, it is narrated by the wife and four daughters of a Baptist missionary who goes there to convert the locals. Each of the five voices is distinct and compelling, and the story has comic moments at the start but gradually da…

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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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