Category Archives: Book Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Book Review: ‘Royal Mistress’ by Patricia Campbell Horton

‘Royal Mistress’ by Patricia Campbell Horton follows the story of Barbara Villiers from her adolescence, her passionate relationship with her first love, Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, through her marriage to Roger Palmer, her notorious reign as Charles II’s long-term mistress, through Charles’s marriage to Catherine of Braganza, her rivalry with Frances Stuart, up to her becoming Duchess… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Mistresses’ by Linda Porter

Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II, written by historian Linda Porter and published by Picador in 2020, is the second book on the Stuarts of the seventeenth century by Dr Porter, the first being, Royal Renegades: The Children of Charles I and the English Civil Wars. Porter previously wrote several books on Tudor history,… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The Bitter Trade’ by Piers Alexander

I came across a Facebook post by historical fiction author Kate Quinn recently in which she wrote: ‘sometimes we come across books at the wrong time. We’re in the wrong mood for a particular book at a particular time, or we’re at the wrong age for it. But we find it later and –chef’s kiss– perfection’. This quote… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The Tragic Daughters of Charles I’ by Sarah-Beth Watkins

Far more has been written about the sons of King Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria, than about the daughters who were born of the couple—perhaps understandably, since both Charles and James became kings. But with such works as Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VIII, The Tudor Brandons, Catherine of Braganza, Margaret Tudor,… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Killing Beauties’ by Pete Langman

KILLING BEAUTIES is a gripping historical fiction novel set during the Protectorate of the 1650s and focuses on the underworld of espionage through the actions of the main character, Susan Hyde. Susan, sister to Edward Hyde (he who is best known for being the powerful advisor to Charles II and for his History of the Rebellion) is a… Read on

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Book Review: ‘Entertaining Mr Pepys’ by Deborah Swift

Entertaining Mr Pepys is the third and final chapter of Deborah Swift’s trilogy on that most famous naval administrator/diarist of the late seventeenth century: Samuel Pepys. That said, it can be read as a standalone work – although I read the first book in the series, I wasn’t able to read the second one, but that did not… Read on

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Book Review: “The Royal Art of Poison” by Eleanor Herman

Eleanor Herman, who earlier this year posted a guest post here on The Seventeenth Century Lady (“A Glorious Poison: The Deadly Toxins of Palace Life”), is a popular historian whose past book titles include Sex With Kings and Sex with the Queen. In The Royal Art of Poison: Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Poisons, and Murder Most Foul, published this… Read on

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