In the early eighteenth century, Newstead Abbey was among the most admired aristocratic homes in England. It was the abode of William, 4th Baron Byron – a popular amateur composer and artist – and his teenage wife Frances. But by the end of the century, the building had become a crumbling and ill-cared-for ruin. Surrounded […]
Edinburgh, December 1743. Redcoat Captain Robert Catto is between the Devil and the deep blue sea. His investigations have turned up compelling evidence of a real threat posed to the House of Hanover by a plan to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. His duty is to draw out as many Jacobites […]
London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, she is astonished when she is told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries […]
Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars, writes for Historia about the inspiration behind her latest book, The Foundling: tokens left by mothers to help identify the babies they gave up at the Foundling Hospital in London. Some are beautiful, some simple, but all are poignant reminders of desperation and loss. A pink silk purse. A […]
Marilyn Pemberton tells Historia about the history behind her latest novel: the lives of castrati, the choristers and opera stars with the voices of boys and the lungs of men. As all writers know, inspiration for a novel can come in many guises. The seed for what became my second historical novel, Song of the […]
When Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse. Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, […]
Laura Shepherd-Robinson tells Historia how a shameful period in Britain’s history spurred her to write Blood & Sugar.
“She thought of time as like a ribbon unspooling; the present moment was the only inch of the stuff you could grasp as it cascaded past you, framed by the diamond buckle of now.” I shall confess to two things from the start of this review: a love of Martine Bailey’s previous books and a […]