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Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors (Volume 2) Paperback – July 30, 2015
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It's written by a large group of English Historical fiction writers and it's built to be The Book of Actual Historical facts used to build their books. It's a delightful book of historical fact but together by the creame de la crem' of the British historical book writers. Beautiful bound to last a life time of daily use by other devoted writers and readers. If you like this as !much as I do be sure to add on their first book to your list as well. These are extra special books!
One of the things I liked about how the ebook was set up was the listing under each author's name for their websites, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media they contribute to. I think that gives the reader an insight into who their favorite authors are, all in one book. After the list of authors, about 50 of them, there is a section on the list of novels each author has written. Wow, that is one long list of books to read. I went through the list and there are quite a few that I have read, but there are so many more to get to.
The book starts off with Pre-Roman to Early Medieval Britain (pre-55 B.C.-A.D. 1000 to Victorian Era and the Twentieth Century), now that is a lot of history covered. Within each section, the articles range from a glimpse inside a Roman home, The London Tornado of 1091, the Making of a Medieval Queen and The Lady's Monthly Museum. Once you get through all that there is another section called Historical Tidbits across the Ages. We learn about some castles such as Leeds and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Witches, Midwives and Childbirth to Beds and Bugs through the Centuries.
All of the articles within the covers of Customs, Castles and Kings Volume 2 come from the English Historical Authors blog. All impeccably researched and fun to read. If you love British History like I do, then this book needs to be in your library.
I received an ebook for review and was not monetarily compensated for said review, I also plan on getting the print copy of this great book.
The essays are absorbing and played right into my inquisitive, history loving mind in all the right ways and offer a wealth of knowledge on all various sorts of British history. Many are delightful, some sad, some useful, some funny, many adventurous, and all fascinating. It’s easy to be swept away into lands far in time and place and to want to keep heading into the next essay after completing a former. The voices of these particular authors are very strong and captivating.
Upon sliding to the first essay, I smiled to see the first was my friend Nancy Bilyeau’s essay about her dream coming true in flying to England during the research for her Joanna Stafford historical suspense series. It was the perfect essay to begin with as it encompasses the feelings most historical and fantasy readers have had in regards to being entranced by the worlds of Kings and Queens (and the lot) in our teen years. Didn’t we all wish to travel abroad? To see where the history happened we read about? It was fitting, her thoughts and evident enthusiasm, as this edition of Castles, Customs, and Kings is a way to do just that for those of us who can’t get back to England anytime soon to revel in exploring the history. This book allows us to steal into the history of England through words, until we can see her again, or for some, for the first glorious time.
With a perfect set-up into the collection by Nancy’s essay, they came one after the other in their uniqueness or lesson. I have a few other favorites so far, such as An Anglo-Saxon Christmas by Richard Denning (an essay everyone of most religions should read) which tells us definitively how paganism and Christianity became entwined. It’s something I knew from studies, but it was a great essay that would teach quite a few people about the origins of Christmas. I love anything about the history of Christmas so I enjoyed this article, as well as the very last one at the end of the book about plum pudding! Now I want to make some!
Being an advocate for women’s rights, and women’s history, I enjoyed Octavia Randolph’s Women’s Rights in Anglo-Saxon England: Why They Were Much Greater Than You Think. For women that don’t realize that before 1066 many women held great power and rights, this would be an excellent article. I also liked Randolph’s essay on Lady Godiva, which for all visual remembering of her, taught us that she was actually was a very rich woman.
Another of my favorite essays was Carol McGrath’s The Medieval Garden, which was interesting to me as I love gardens, mills, and orchards. I had never really read anything particularly about the history of them, though obviously, to this day they are glorious in England.
Quite a different essay that caught my eye, was Anne O’Brien’s The Power of a Red Dress, which was about my favorite color to wear–red, but also utilized one of my favorite classics, Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Her original style of writing this article made me read it twice. And yet, I wear red…..I can see what that says about me! (You’ll have to read it to find out)
There are articles stemming from medicinal uses and cures to art, music, weather, military battles, monarchy, nobility, religion…basically, you name a period and subject of history and you’ve got some sort of set of essays to fit your desires. I especially liked how many author’s essays balanced each other or built off one another, sometimes probably without even the authors having planned it that way. The editors did a good job of balancing an array of technical and educational essays with others that were more for the historically curious and sometimes ticked the funny bone or were surprising and witty.
I really could go on and on picking out essays and articles that already are my favorites or must reads, but it would take all night. I highly recommend if you have any love of English Historical Fiction that you escape quickly with a copy of this book for your shelf, either digital or tangible, but I can see that it would make a great print copy staple for your nightstand or your reference library (or a great gift!). This conglomerate of amazing authors know how to do their research and write up historical stories that leave us wanting more. I’m thrilled that all these essays will never be lost, but treasured.