The Seventeenth Century Lady Interview with Richard Ballard, the author of Louis XIV’s Architect: Louis Le Vau

The architecture created during the seventeenth century in France, in particular, during the reign of the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV, is some of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful ever made. Today, I am joined by the historian Richard Ballard, who has written a biography of Louis XIV’s Architect: Louis Le Vau, which was published in December 2023 by… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The Myrtle Wand’ by Margaret Porter

I recently had the pleasure of reading The Myrtle Wand by Margaret Porter a couple of months ago, a story set in seventeenth-century France during the time of Louis XIV. Porter is the award-winning author of over a dozen books of historical fiction and historical romance (under Margaret Evans Porter). Although I have purchased several of her novels,… Read on

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Interview with C. de Melo, author of The Apprentice: Love and Scandal in the Kingdom of Naples

Today, we welcome a prolific author and history lover: C de Melo! I recently had the pleasure of working on the audiobook production de Melo’s The Apprentice (out today!), which is a dramatic adventure that takes place in the early 1600s, and is set in alluring, stunning Italian cities such as Florence, Siena, Rome, and Naples. The protagonist, ‘Carlo’,… Read on

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Guest Post: ‘Library of Dreams’ by Dominic Pearce

Library of Dreams When I wrote about Queen Henrietta Maria I found surprises such as the attempt by parliament to kill her, then to impeach her. Yes the killing came first, as it were. Happily it failed. I should not mislead anyone by implying parliament sent an executive order to do away with the turbulent lady. What happened… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The Fire Court’ by Andrew Taylor

I had the pleasure of meeting the author of The Fire Court, Andrew Taylor, a few years ago back in Oxford when we were both participating in an author conference and he was most affable and signed my hardback copy of The Ashes of London, his first book in the series. I wish I had read that book… Read on

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Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire

Wentworth Woodhouse, located near Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, is yet another huge stately home that is only a short drive from my home. Yay! Although it is massive, only a small number of its 300 rooms are open to the public. Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1641, lived here. Although only… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Margaret the First’ by Danielle Dutton

Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1623–1673) was one of the most interesting women of the Stuart era. She was a philosopher, the author of The Blazing World, and was the first woman to attend a Royal Society meeting. No wonder such a figure ignited the imagination of author Danielle Dutton in her work, Margaret the First. I… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Sex, Love & Marriage in the Elizabethan Age’ by R.E. Pritchard

‘Sex, Love & Marriage in the Elizabethan Age’, written by R.E. Pritchard, is a fascinating read, full of excerpts from primary source material from the Elizabethan period, it is well worth a read. Even though the title implies that the book is strictly ‘Elizabethan’, it really isn’t, since many of the historical figures mentioned within lived well into… Read on

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A Visit to Chastleton House and Gardens, Oxfordshire

Located near Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxfordshire, Chastleton House was built in the early years of the seventeenth century. It is an amazing (and slightly spooky) Jacobean building, and a perfect place for a Stuart fan to visit. My family and I are members of The National Trust, which looks after this property, and we’ve certainly made good use of our… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Although set only a few years before the seventeenth century, Hamnet is well worth a review on this website. It has been an enormously successful novel and I was intrigued about it since I first heard about it. As many know, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had three children:… Read on

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My Summer of Hell

Hello. I’m writing this from a hospital ward in England where I am tentatively recovering from Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease which went undiagnosed and untreated for five months due to a systemic healthcare failure since my consultant appointments were consistently cancelled and rescheduled by the hospital, despite my worsening condition. After nearing dying two weeks ago from… Read on

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Book review: ‘My Queen, My Love’ by Elena Maria Vidal

This is the first novel I’ve read by E.M. Vidal, although I’ve known her on social media for several years now. With ‘My Queen, My Love’, the first in her trilogy of Henrietta Maria, E.M. Vidal has brought Henrietta Maria’s passion and character to life with remarkable skill. I take my hat off to her for having the… Read on

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Book Review: Wentworth Woodhouse: The House, the Estate and the Family

Happy New Year, gentle readers! Published in May 2021 by Pen & Sword History, Wentworth Woodhouse: The House, The Estate, & The Family by Melvyn Jones, Joan Jones, and Stephen Cooper, is a readable and well-researched overview of the history of one of Britain’s great houses. Although there are twelve chapters, this book is a slim volume, which… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The Guardian’ by Maeve Greyson

Sometimes we need a bit of escapism and, for me, that sometimes means a romance—and this book totally fit the bill. I have to be honest, I wasn’t really interested in the beginning, but that might just be down to me not being in the right frame of mind for it. I even thought about giving up around… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The White Ship’ by Charles Spencer

I do not usually review books that are not about the 17th-century or the Stuart period, but given that this author has written several important works about the Stuart period, I thought I might make an exception this time (and that you’ll forgive me for doing so). I know I’m not the only historian who was surprised when… Read on

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In Memory of Blackie the Cat

In memory of Blackie Margaret Hale, c.1999-August 17, 2021. Those who have followed me over the years know who Blackie was, and I would like to talk about her on this sad day. Earlier today, my family and I decided to have our beloved cat put to sleep due to her irreversible health problems. She was approximately 22… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Legacy’ by John Pilkington

The Gunpowder Plot is one of those major subjects of the early Stuart era (the Jacobean period) that people tend to know about, but, in my experience, very few historical fiction works focus on the period just after that. In John Pilkington’s novel ‘Legacy’, however, we meet Robert Belstrang, a former Justice who leads a quiet life in… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The Imprisoned Princess” by Catherine Curzon

When Queen Anne died in 1714, her throne should have passed to her younger brother, James (son of James II of England & VII of Scotland and Mary of Modena). But since James was a Catholic and the Act of Settlement of 1701 (during the reign of William III) cut all Catholics out of the line of succession,… Read on

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Restoration 360

Hi there! Last year, my friend Claire Hobson had planned for a day of history talks to coincide with the 360th anniversary of the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 with King Charles II. This event was also going to be a fundraiser for the charity, Mind, for mental health. Unfortunately, shortly before we were going to… Read on

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Book Review: The Firefly Witch by Amanda Hughes

I’ve had The Firefly Witch on my bookshelf since it was published a few years ago and I finally had a chance to read it – and I’m glad I did. Set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1662, we meet Circe: a red-haired girl with an amazing skill for weaving. Despite her talents, she doesn’t fit in… Read on

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The Curious Case of Writing Novels about Art: A Guest Post By Brian Howell

The Curious Case of Writing Novels about Art By Brian Howell We all know the adage about those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. I can apply this not only to my total lack of ability to draw or paint (despite some noble juvenile failures), but also to my wannabe non-status as an art historian (which… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The World of Isaac Newton’ by Toni Mount

Isaac Newton is one of the most well-known personages of the Stuart and Georgian periods due to his towering intellect and his role with the Royal Society. When we think of those amazingly multi-talented Stuart people, Newton is definitely one of them. Toni Mount, the prolific author of The Sebastian Foxley Medieval Murder Mystery series of books, is… Read on

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