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My Freaky Valentine – Romance the Victorian Way

Posted on: 12/02/2018 with tags: historical fiction, historical novel, 19th Century, Victorian

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Victorians invented Christmas. Well; one Victorian in particular, by the name of Charles Dickens. But where did they stand on the next red letter day on the calendar, the one that pops up after boozeless, carbless, joyless January, to remind us that our hearts still beat warmly under all those jumpers? Valentine’s Day, originally the feast day of a Roman martyr, began to gain traction way before Victorian times. It became associated with courtly lo…

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Researching the Nipigon River by Sarah Maine

Posted on: 19/04/2017 with tags: 19th Century, Canada, Nipigon river, research, Scotland, 19th Century

I have two prints on my wall. One is a hand-coloured wood engraving by T. Weber dated 1890 Vue Prise sur la Rivière Nipigon  which shows the lower reaches of  a mighty river flowing past pine-clad cliffs and down to the north shore of Lake Superior in Canada. The other is a black and white photograph of one of the islands in these lower reaches and is dated 1893 – spot on for the year in which Charles Ballantyre, a wealthy Scottish landowner brings his party to fish on the Nipigon. The photograp…

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The Evolution of a Soldier

Posted on: 23/03/2017 with tags: Crimea, East India Company, Jack Lark, Paul Fraser Collard, series guide, Soldier, Victorian

The Evolution of a Soldier Paul Fraser Collard on developing a series character over time If you have read any of the Jack Lark books then it should not come as much of a surprise to read that I thoroughly love writing these novels. There is something rather wonderful in being able to control the events in a story over a period of time, and I cannot tell you how much I enjoy plotting Jack’s path. By writing a series, I am able to take him on a long, often perilous, journey and I am able to explo…

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H for History’s Jo Liddiard reviews The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane by Jane Housham

Posted on: 29/11/2016 with tags: Book review, historical crime, The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane, true crime, Victorian, Victorian England, Victorian

At the start of The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane Jane Housham explains that ‘recounting a true story as it unfurled means you have to take it as it comes.’ She explains that it might not have a neat and tidy ending that you might expect, and that the story won’t unfold in the way a novel would – and she’s right but her engrossing book does not suffer because of this. I would always say – if asked to choose – that I would pick fiction over non-fiction because I need that narrative drive which yo…

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