Book Review: “Minette” by Melanie Clegg

Published by Madame Guillotine in 2013, Minette is the first part of Melanie Clegg’s two-part series of historical fiction books about Henrietta Anne, youngest daughter of King Charles I of England and his French-born queen, Henrietta Maria. Melanie Clegg is best known for her works about Marie Antoinette, and her books set during the eighteenth century. For this,… Read on

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Galileo Galilei and the Medici: A Guest Post by Samantha Morris

One of the greatest names associated with the Enlightenment of the Seventeenth Century is that of Galileo Galilei, the infamous polymath who ended up getting on the wrong side of the Inquisition. Born on 15 February 1564 not far from Pisa, Galileo was the son of a humble musician however it soon became clear that the young man… Read on

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Fake History & the Story of the Whipping Boy: A Guest Post by Leanda de Lisle

Fiction and other works of imagination have an insidious way of working their way into history. Stories that ring true, that look true, that appeal to our prejudices, become ‘fact’. It is a form of historical truthiness in which plays, pictures, and propaganda create a past that is accepted as the genuine record. I unearthed one example, which… Read on

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Book Review: “Nathaniel’s Nutmeg” by Giles Milton

In the present day, most of us can easily find spices such as nutmeg, mace, and much more at our local supermarkets. It certainly wasn’t always that easy to obtain such exotic spices – and, thanks to this book, I’m never going to look at my spice rack in the same way again. Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, originally published in… Read on

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The Mystery of the Dobson Triple Portrait – A Guest Post by Nicola Cornick

The Mystery of the Dobson Triple Portrait Recently there has been some excitement at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford generated by the arrival of a splendid 17th century portrait by William Dobson, court painter to King Charles I. A dramatic work, it features three leading Royalist commanders including Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Colonel John Russell, commander… Read on

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Book Review: “To Catch A King: Charles II’s Great Escape” by Charles Spencer

With To Catch a King: Charles II’s Great Escape, out on the 5th October 2017, Charles Spencer has done it again. As the author of some fantastic books about seventeenth-century Britain, such as my personal favourite, Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier, Blenheim: The Battle for Europe, and his most recent work, Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared… Read on

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Book Review: The White King – Charles I by Leanda de Lisle

The White King, Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle certainly has quite a provocative title. Charles I remains a very polarising figure, in much the same manner as his contemporary, Oliver Cromwell, and the labels of “traitor” and “murderer” will undoubtedly ruffle feathers of the more staunch monarchists out there. By the same token, “martyr” can… Read on

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Review: “Pleasing Mr Pepys” by Deborah Swift

Pleasing Mr Pepys is the newest work by Deborah Swift and set to release this September (2017), and I was fortunate to have been given an advance review copy. To me, Swift brought Deborah Willet, the Pepyses, and the London of the 1660s to life in an exciting and sometimes touching way. I found this to be a really enjoyable story, with its various… Read on

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New article on Queen Anne out now!

Hear ye! We’re nearly at the end of July, but there’s still time for you to grab a copy of this month’s (Issue 17) History of Royals magazine, for it contains my latest article, “Crossing the Line” about the tumultuous relationship between Queen Anne and her decades-long favourite, Sarah Churchill. Those of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram,… Read on

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Review: Lorna Doone: The Wild & Wanton Edition by M.J. Porteus

Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore is considered a classic work of literature and for good reason. John Ridd is an amiable protagonist who falls in love with the equally amiable Lorna Doone, a young woman from a criminal, thuggish family which he has always hated (and for good reason – his father was murdered by the Doones and… Read on

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Review: The Devil on the Road by Robert Westall

The Devil on the Road by Robert Westall was published in 1977 and recommended by my husband. Apparently, according to my husband, was a title on a reading list at school and he read it back in the early 1980s. I had never heard of this book before, but as he had very fond memories of it, and as… Read on

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Bank Holiday fun at Stokesay Castle

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK. These are usually jam-packed with events of all sorts. Some people enjoy romantic getaways, BBQs with friends (if the weather is good), attend sporting events, go to concerts, and others like to visit historic sites. I fall into the latter category, especially if said historic sites having… Read on

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Review: Arbella Stuart – The Uncrowned Queen by Jill Armitage

Arbella Stuart: The Uncrowned Queen by Jill Armitage, published by Amberley Publishing in 2017, (the title on Goodreads is Arbella Stuart: England’s Almost Queen) takes readers back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and begins with the formidable Bess of Hardwick’s invitation of Meg, Countess of Lennox, to one of her houses. Now, Bess of Hardwick was… Read on

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The Golden Boy of the Jacobean Age: A Guest Post by Sarah Fraser

The Golden Boy of the Jacobean Age: first Prince of Wales of Great Britain, is this perhaps one of the greatest Kings we never had?   Discovering Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales (1594-1612), the drama, excitement and heartbreak of his all too brief life enchanted me. I have sons. I recognised in Henry the same young man’s insatiable… Read on

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Review: Sweet Alice by Leelou Cervant

Being as I’m reading absolutely anything set in the seventeenth century at the moment, it’s no surprise that includes a bit of erotica, as Sweet Alice by Leelou Cervant is. I don’t mind erotica, it’s not totally my cup of tea, but neither am I against it. If you find explicit sex scenes unpleasant or offensive, this book… Read on

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Review: Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682 by Robert Goodwin

Being as I don’t know as much as I’d like about the history of early modern Spain, I’m currently trying to rectify this at present. Enter Robert Goodwin’s book, Spain: The Centre of the World, 1519-1682, which I listened to in audiobook format with a duration of some 21 hours. This is, in my opinion, an excellent overview… Read on

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Review: Lady on the Coin by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Lady on the Coin, written by Margaret Campbell Barnes and first published in the early 1960s, follows the life of Frances Stuart, the woman who was the model for Britannia. Frances Stuart was related to the Royal House of Stuart and this story begins during the Stuarts’ exile in France following the English Civil Wars and ends during… Read on

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Review: Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre

A few years ago, I went to a classical violin concert at the Wigmore Hall in London. The music selected was the kind you tend to get on Radio 3, slightly weird, postmodern, and lacking any discernible melody. I was absolutely bored out of my mind until the end when the violinist played Massenet’s Meditation from Thais. Given… Read on

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Lady Johanna’s Recipe: A Guest Post by Elizabeth St. John

Today, we welcome Elizabeth St.John, author of The Lady in the Tower, a novel set in the seventeenth century. Heads up, folks, Elizabeth will be giving an Author Talk at Lydiard House as part of the Swindon Festival of Literature on May 4th, 2017.  The Vertues of Gilberts Water and other Curatives from Lady Johanna’s Recipe Book by… Read on

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Historical Fiction: How important is historical accuracy? A conversation with historian Sara Read

Last year on The Seventeenth Century Lady, we had a guest post by literary historian Dr Sara Read, entitled Menstruation & Female Bleeding in Seventeenth-Century England. To this day, this is one of the most popular guest posts in this site’s history, with over 17,000 reads. I’m delighted to welcome Sara back today, conversing with me about historical… Read on

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Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

As I’m no longer bound by deadlines for my own work, I’ve been making progress on my list of books to read for fun. One of these was The Miniaturist, which was published in 2015 and widely acclaimed. This book was, largely, unputdownable and I looked forward to the few minutes of reading time I have at the… Read on

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