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What’s a passionate man to do? Sarah Shoemaker

Posted on: 10/05/2017 with tags: Charlotte Bronte, Divorce, Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester, Nineteenth Century, Sarah Shoemaker, 19th Century

Love, marriage and divorce in the world of Jane Eyre Sometimes, seeing Mr Rochester tied down to an insane wife and loving Jane, it would seem easy to ask: Why doesn’t he just get a divorce? That may be cruel, but, indeed, what kind of marriage have they anyway? Or have they ever had after the first few months? I’m sure I must have asked that question when I first read Jane Eyre. Some history will make Rochester’s situation a little clearer: Before the latter part of the nineteenth century, marr…

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Alice Morley reviews Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Posted on: 24/10/2016 with tags: Daisy Goodwin, English History, fiction, historical fiction, Victoria, Victorian

For the many fans of ITV’s Victoria series (amongst whom I count myself!) this is a must read: a novelisation of the first half of the series by its writer. (Spoiler: there’s not much Albert, sadly). All the memorable scenes between Victoria and her beloved Lord M are recreated, with the internal thoughts of the characters adding more depth to their feelings for each other. Even if you haven’t watched the TV, this is a fantastic read. Opening at the moment Victoria became queen, the novel charts…

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Ed O’Loughlin on why the historical novel has more fun

Posted on: 09/09/2016 with tags: 18th century, Arctic Canada, Canada, Ed O'Loughlin, historical fiction, Minds of Winter, Modern history, Polar Exploration

Historical novels are a cheap form of tourism: the past is another country, they do things more exotically there. We don’t really know what it felt like to live in Victorian London, any more than we understand the lives of the poor of Peru or Cambodia, but we can drop in for a while and be charmed by the quaintness, titillated by the strife and the poverty, then return to the dull here and now. Historical novels are an escapist resort for people who are dismayed by the dreariness of contemporary…

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