Latest from the H for History blog

Anthony Riches awards reader with a piece of genuine roman history!

Posted on: 21/09/2018 with tags: Anthony Riches, Roman

Anthony Riches, author of the historical fiction series The Centurions and Empire has awarded one eagle-eyed reader a piece of genuine roman history – a solid gold coin Vespasian Aureus coin! Riches says: ‘My original motivation for buying the coin was primarily one of avarice. I thought to put it on display (too small) or wear it as a pendant (not allowed, my numismatist told me as my chest hair would – genuinely – rub off the soft gold detail!) or perhaps even in a ring (except that’s really n…

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How the Massachusetts Coast Inspired the Setting for Elizabeth Lowry’s Dark Water

Posted on: 17/09/2018

Dark Water grew out of a love of the Massachusetts coast, and of Poe and Melville, and of their maverick nineteenth-century American sensibility. Those quest tales of land and sea, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and Moby-Dick, are archetypal stories of escape from home and family, of a rite of passage; each, in its own way, charting the contradictions and tensions of American society at a time of great change. I wanted to write a story which shared not just the landscape (and seascapes) of t…

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Reading Guide for Karen Maitland’s A GATHERING OF GHOSTS

Posted on: 07/09/2018 with tags: A Gathering of Ghosts, Discussion Guide, karen maitland, reading groups, Reading Guide, Medieval, Middle Ages

We think that Karen Maitland’s A GATHERING OF GHOSTS would be a great choice for reading groups – particularly those who like reading historical fiction. If you do choose it here are some questions to help your discussions! ‘You can stamp and frown as much as you please, Mistress, but this is a battle I am going to win.’ Prioress Johanne rules the priory with a firm hand, but her authority is challenged with the arrival of Knight Brother Nicholas. To what extent is this book about power? The wel…

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The facts behind the e-short, The Unhappiest Lady in Christendom – Alison Weir

Posted on: 06/09/2018 with tags: alison weir, henry viii, Jane Seymour, Six Tudor Queens, The Unhappiest Lady In Christendom, Tudor

‘Lord! What lamentation shortly after was made for the death of Queen Jane, and of none in this realm was it more heavily taken than of the King’s Majesty himself.’ Jane Seymour’s passing at 2am on 24 October 1537 ‘was as heavy to the King as ever was heard tell of. Directly she expired, he withdrew himself, as not to be spoken to by anyone.’ Henry VIII could not bear anything to do with death. That morning his horror of remaining in the same house as Jane’s corpse got the better of him, and he…

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Goblin Gold by Karen Maitland

Posted on: 05/09/2018 with tags: Gathering of Ghosts, Goblin Gold, karen maitland, Medieval, Middle Ages

In A Gathering of Ghosts, pilgrims visiting the holy well beneath the priory see the rock walls of the cave shimmering with gold. I’m sure that some readers will think that is a detail I simply invented, but this is a case where fact is as strange and amazing as fiction. For centuries, people on Dartmoor walking past caves, ancient stone huts or even old rabbit holes would glimpse something shining like gold inside. But, when they reached in to grab it, they found themselves clutching only a han…

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Listen to Norman Eisen’s THE LAST PALACE – read by Jeff Goldblum

Posted on: 04/09/2018 with tags: audio extract, Jeff Goldblum, Last Palace, Norman Eisen, 20th Century

Jeff Goldblum narrates the audio book of Norman Eisen’s THE LAST PALACE – a masterfully told narrative that illuminates a hundred years of European history, as seen through an extraordinary mansion – and the lives of the people who called it home. And you can listen to an extract here. When Norman Eisen moved into the US ambassador’s residence in Prague, returning to the land his mother had fled after the Holocaust, he was startled to discover swastikas hidden beneath the furniture. From that di…

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A Gathering of Ghosts – Tuesday Tidbits

Posted on: 04/09/2018 with tags: Gathering of Ghosts, karen maitland, Tuesday Tidbits, Medieval

For her new novel, A GATHERING OF GHOSTS, Karen Maitland picks out some special Tuesday Tidbits relating to Dartmoor where the novel is based: Long-cripple Long-cripple is the Devonshire dialect word for a snake, usually an adder. It can also mean a dragonfly, lizard or slowworm (blindworm), all once believed to be venomous. Some leech wells or healing wells were given the name long-cripple, either because they cured snakebites or because they cured the same ailments as adder skins were thought…

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The Death of Hitler

Posted on: 28/08/2018

A dramatic and revelatory new account of the final days in Hitler’s bunker, based on new access to previously unseen Soviet archives and cutting-edge forensics. On 30 April 1945, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker as the Red Army closed in on Berlin. Within four days the Soviets had recovered his body. But the truth about what the Russian secret services found was hidden from history when, three months later, Stalin officially declared to Churchill and Truman that Hitler was still alive and…

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Who was Queen Victoria? – Lucy Worsley

Posted on: 28/08/2018 with tags: author blog, Lucy Worsley, Queen Victoria, Victorian, Video, 19th Century

Who was Queen Victoria? Some of the most memorable images of Victoria show her as a little old lady, potato-like in appearance, dressed in everlasting black. We also know Victoria as a passionate, young princess who loved dancing. And there is a third Victoria – a woman who was also a remarkably successful queen, one who invented a new role for the monarchy. She found a way of being a respected sovereign in an age when people were deeply uncomfortable with having a woman on the throne. Discover…

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Celebrating female translators for #WITMonth

Posted on: 22/08/2018

Today is the publication of the brand new riverrun Editions series – three classic books released with their best ever translations. And it turns out that many of the books we now know as modern classics were translated by women. Female translators were so important to the literary modernism, as it was a career that was open to women, so often barred from academic roles. It was also flexible, so suited women with children. We’ve been delving into the lives of the extraordinary women who translat…

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