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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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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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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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Tuesday Tidbits from Karen Maitland

Posted on: 28/04/2018 with tags: karen maitland, Medieval facts, The Plague Charmer, Tuesday Tidbits, Medieval, Middle Ages

First Catch your crocodile Products from the Egyptian cocodryllus or crocodile were highly prized in the medieval markets of the Middle East and Europe. Its dung was made into an unguent which was said to make aged and wrinkled prostitutes appear firm-bodied and youthful, until it ran off as they sweated from their labours. It was also said to fade freckles. And the teeth were believed to be an aphrodisiac, but only if extracted from the living beast.   The beggars are coming to town’ There…

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