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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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Review of The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

Posted on: 18/02/2016 with tags: 18th century, janet ellis, Reviews, the butcher's hook, Georgian

From the start Janet Ellis’ The Butcher’s Hook draws you in to the sights, sounds, smells and textures of Georgian London – be they pleasant or unpleasant. It is an incredibly sensory book – as you walk the streets of London with Anne, to Leveners, to see Fub, the butcher’s apprentice you feel as if you are with her. And Anne is an amazing central character. Determined to say the least – and prioritising her own happiness and future, whatever the cost. Even as it says in the blurb, it means she…

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Julie Walker on female pirates in the 18th century

Posted on: 28/11/2013 with tags: 18th century, Anne Bonny, Bahamas, Calico Jack, Caribbean, English History, female pirates, Golden Age of Piracy, Jack Rackham, Mary Read, New Providence, pirates, role of women, seafaring, women in history

On the anniversary of the trial of notorious pirate Calico Jack (November, 1720) – famous for having two women as part of his crew – writer Julie Walker looks back at some of the women who dared to pass as men …  While the role of women was strictly regimented in the 18th century, not all took this to heart. The 18th century press gang is a familiar concept, with the British Navy taking men by force into the service where brutality, terrible conditions and even worse pay were par for the…

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