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Plymouth: Maritime Icon by Julian Stockwin

Posted on: 16/10/2019 Age of Sail, British History, English History

I have the great good fortune to live not far from Plymouth, Devon, that lovely county in southwest England. Given that I write Age of Sail fiction and have a long-held interest in all things to do with Neptune’s Realm, I probably couldn’t have chosen a better location! My latest book To The Eastern Seas opens with a crowd of onlookers standing on Plymouth Hoe, a large cliff-top south-facing grassy open space. They are peering out to sea awaiting the arrival of the ships returning from what was…

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Battling Bandoleros in the American Civil War

Posted on: 22/07/2019 with tags: Bandolero, Paul Fraser Collard, The Lost Outlaw, American Civil War

Bandoleros – it’s one of those beautifully evocative words that conjures up a hundred images all by itself. When I started planning for THE LOST OUTLAW – the eighth Jack Lark novel set in Mexico in 1863 – I knew I needed a powerful foe for Jack to face, and this time I did not have the luxury of a neatly defined enemy as I have had previously. However, it was not long before my research led me to the bandoleros who preyed on the hundreds of cotton trains making their way to Mexico from the south…

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The Scarlet Ladies by Paul Fraser Collard

Posted on: 26/07/2018 with tags: Frances Clayton, historical fiction, Jack Lark, Paul Fraser Collard, The Rebel Killer, American Civil War

I blame the Monocled Mutineer for my love of impostors. The story of Percy Toplis first caught my attention when it became the basis for the TV series of the same name that was shown in the 1980s. I still remember watching it and being fascinated by the idea of someone taking advantage of the world simply by putting on a fancy uniform and speaking with the right accent. Young Percy, a rogue with little education and a strong northern accent, successfully impersonated British army officers during…

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What’s a passionate man to do? Sarah Shoemaker

Posted on: 15/11/2017 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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