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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Castles, Customs, and Kings..." ~ Historical Fiction True Tales

SUMMARY :


A compilation of essays/"True Tales by the English Historical Fiction Authors" blog, this book provides a wealth of historical information from Roman Britain to early twentieth century England. Over fifty different authors share hundreds of real life stories and tantalizing tidbits discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.


From Queen Boadicea's revolt to Tudor ladies-in-waiting, from Regency dining and dress to Victorian crime and technology, immerse yourself in the lore of Great Britain. Read the history behind the fiction and discover the true tales surrounding England's castles, customs, and kings.


PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK :

Published by:  Madison Street Publishing
Pages:  514
Genre:  Non-Fiction/ Historical England
Authors:  Historical Fiction Authors
Blog may be found here:  http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com
Purchase the book:  Barnes & Noble  or Amazon    5 star rating


BOOK SPOTLIGHT and About Author Barbara Kyle:

Barbara Kyle is one of the contributing authors of "Castles, Customs, and Kings..."  Here's a bit more about her and her latest book.




 
THE QUEEN'S EXILES

by Barbara Kyle

Publication Date: 27 May 2014
 

Synopsis 

1572. Europe is in turmoil. A vengeful faction of exiled English Catholics is plotting to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and install her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. And in the Netherlands the streets are red with the blood of those who dare to oppose the brutal Spanish occupation. But amid the unrest, one resourceful young woman has made a lucrative enterprise. Scottish-born Fenella Doorn salvages crippled vessels. It is on one of these ships that she meets wealthy Baron Adam Thornleigh. Secretly drawn to him, Fenella can’t refuse when Adam enlists her to join him in war-torn Brussels to help find his traitorous wife, Frances—and the children she’s taken from him. But Adam and Fenella will put their lives in peril as they attempt to rescue his young ones, defend the Crown, and restore a peace that few can remember.  

With eloquent and enthralling finesse, Barbara Kyle illuminates one of history's grimmest chapters. The Queen's Exiles breathes new life into an extraordinary age when love and freedom could only be won with unmitigated courage.
 

Advance Praise for The Queen's Exiles
 

"This moving adventure pulses with Shakespearean passions: love and heartbreak, risk and valour, and loyalties challenged in a savage time. Fenella Doorn, savvy and brave, is an unforgettable heroine." - Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival




  

About the Author
 

Barbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed, internationally-published Thornleigh Saga novels which follow a middle-class English family's rise through three tumultuous Tudor reigns:

 

The Queen's Exiles

Blood Between Queens

The Queen’s Gamble

The Queen’s Captive

The King’s Daughter

The Queen’s Lady

 

Barbara was a speaker in 2013 at the world-renowned Stratford Festival with her talk Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers' organizations and conferences. Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S. Visit www.barbarakyle.com.

 

 

Praise for Barbara Kyle

“Real-life events merging with fiction vibrantly bring history to life in an exciting, accessible way. Kyle knows what historical fiction readers crave.” RT Book Reviews on Blood Between Queens

“An intimate look into the minds and hearts of the royal and great of Elizabeth’s England. A beautifully written and compelling novel. Again, Barbara Kyle reigns!” New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper on Blood Between Queens

“Gaspworthy treachery and the poignant sweetness of steadfast love make this a book of quickly and eagerly turned pages.” Best-selling author Sandra Byrd on Blood Between Queens

“An all-action thriller, bringing to life the passion and perils of the Tudor period.” Lancashire Evening Post on The King’s Daughter

“Riveting…adventurous…superb!” The Historical Novels Review on The Queen’s Gamble

“A complex and fast-paced plot mixing history with vibrant characters” Publishers Weekly on The King’s Daughter

“An exciting tale of the intrigue and political manoeuvring in the Tudor court.” Booklist on The Queen’s Captive

“Boldly strides into Philippa Gregory territory…sweeping, gritty and realistic.” The Historical Novels Review on The Queen’s Lady


INTERVIEW W/ MS. KYLE:

Happily Barbara has consented to an interview!!  Here it is:




1)      Tell us something about yourself, please.  How do most people describe you?


My readers would describe me as the author of five historical novels set in Tudor England. But my family might describe me as the lady who spends her days behind a closed door communing with imaginary people.

2)      Briefly, from where did the idea for your novel germinate?

The Queen's Exiles sprang from a character I'd previously created, Scottish-born Fenella Doorn. In The Queen's Gamble she played a small but crucial role as the young mistress of a garrison commander. I always liked Fenella, and it's been a pleasure making her the "star" of The Queen's Exiles. It takes place eleven years later and Fenella has become an entrepreneur who salvages crippled vessels. It's on one of these ships that she meets wealthy Baron Adam Thornleigh. Drawn to him, Fenella can’t refuse when Adam enlists her to join him in war-torn Brussels to help find his traitorous wife, Frances—and the children she’s taken from him.

3)      Who first told you you could write well, and how did it affect you?

I began as most writers do: with short stories. My first efforts were awful, full of high-flown language and no drama. But I learn fast, and I eventually wrote a story that won a contest. It was nothing grand, just a competition held by my county's library association, but winning it meant everything to me. Bless all libraries and librarians!

4)      Which contemporary authors do you most admire?

Fiction: Ian McEwan, Kate Atkinson, William Boyd, Robin Maxwell, Herman Wouk, James Clavell, Robert Harris. Non-fiction: Adam Hochschild, Charles Nicholl, Stephen Greenblatt, Caroline Alexander, Dava Sobel.

5)      Who are your favorite classical authors?

E.M. Forster. Dickens. Austen. Fielding. Shakespeare (on the stage; can't say I sit and read him).

6)      What was your first book as a child?  What’s your all time favorite book?

The first book I remember reading as a child was an Enid Blyton story, though I can't recall the title. It was one of her marvelous Adventure series and I went on to read them all. My all-time favorite novel is James Clavell's Shogun. (Proves my love of adventure tales, then and now.)

7)      Read any good books in the past 6 months?

I was knocked out by Jim Crace's superb Harvest, a hypnotically poetic tale. And I've just finished Robert Harris's brilliant An Officer And A Spy, which was so nail-bitingly exciting I could hardly put it down. Seriously, I would rush through making dinner just so I could dash back to the couch and read it.

8)      What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

A terribly boring play I did back in the 1980s. Before writing full-time I made my living as an actor on TV and on stage, and this particular play (it was about four women whining about their lives) was so tedious that many nights after the show my husband would have a martini ready to revive me!  

9)      What’s your earliest memory?

Tracing numbers with crayon in kindergarten. I can still see those vivid-colored crayons. And sunshine streaming through the window onto my big red-yellow-blue 8.

10)   What’s your most treasured possession?

A scarab necklace, the first gift my husband ever gave me, back when we were paupers. I wear it often. I also cherish a small pine cone that a reader sent me from the grounds of Hever Castle, the home of Anne Boleyn. The pine cone has pride of place on my desk.

11)   Are you working on a new novel?

Yes, I have a deadline to deliver the new manuscript to my publisher in a few months. It's an Elizabethan spy thriller. The heroine, code-breaker Kate Lyon, represents the third generation of the Thornleigh family in my Thornleigh Saga. And she's doing a fine job!



GUEST POST WITH AUTHOR ROSEANNE LORTZ:


We are so happy to have you visit us today with a guest post, Ms Lortz.  I've been wondering what specifically draws certain authors to write historical fiction.  I think you've given us a good grasp of what you and your fellow authors love about it.  Thank you for writing for A Bookish Libraria today!


By Rosanne Lortz:


"Most historical novelists are drawn to their craft not only from a love of history but also from a burning desire to share that love of history with others. There are stories that speak to us from the pages of creased letters, old chronicles, and dusty research books—we want to bring those stories before other readers in a new and more accessible way, to give the breath of life to things long dead so that they can speak once more and be heard.

We read and research and reconcile sources, creating a skeleton from the bones of the past on which to hang the flesh of fiction. That skeleton, if we do our job well, remains hidden beneath the story that animates it. But sometimes, we want to show everyone how the humerus connects to the ulna, and what exactly it is that makes the spine stand so straight. Sometimes, the bones are so lovely we want to let them show through.

The English Historical Fiction Authors blog, started by Debbie Brown in 2011, is the perfect venue for authors of British-related historical fiction to share interesting tidbits and little known facts gleaned from the research they have done for their novels. It is the perfect place to highlight the lovely bones that form the framework of our fiction. Every day one of our fifty-or-so member authors posts an essay on some piece of British history, ranging anywhere from Roman Britain and Boadicea’s revolt to the twentieth century and the history behind Downton Abbey.

My own period of interest is medieval. I love being able to share history that has formed the background for, but not been front and center in, my own historical novels—the power struggle between the popes and the kings of England, the role that dead saints like Thomas Becket played in medieval culture, and the possible Anglo-Saxon subtext stitched into the borders of the Bayeux Tapestry. I even get to delve into fun trivia like how the system of “B.C.” and “A.D.” dating started.

One of my greatest delights is reconciling conflicting primary sources, and in several pieces like my “Alternate Histories of the Norman Conquest,” I get to talk about what the different chroniclers say happened. This is the sort of thing that gets hidden behind the story of a novel. We novelists do our research, determine which account of things seems most plausible (or best suits the story!), and then present one viewpoint. We don’t clutter up the story with unnecessary exposition simply because it is interesting. But on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, we get to let the research—the lovely bones—show through.


After a year of daily postings, one of the member authors suggested that perhaps these essays deserved to be not just background for novels, but a book in their own right. And so the idea was conceived for Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors. A selection of the best essays from the first year of the blog, it is a fascinating compendium of all aspects of British history. Elizabeth Chadwick, one of the most respected historical novelists in the field, describes it as “thoroughly enjoyable and diverse…leisure reading for any history fan.”

Coming in at over five hundred pages, this hefty tome is a little longer than your average novel. But just like with historical novels, the goal of the book is the same—a passion for the past that is meant to be shared—history brought to life by the people who love it."

 

Rosanne E. Lortz is a historical novelist, a copy editor, a former high school teacher, a mom to four boys, and a native of Portland, Oregon. She has two published novels, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince and Road from the West: Book I of the Chronicles of Tancred, and loves working with young authors to help develop their writing skills. You can find out more about her at her Author Website where she blogs about writing, mothering, and things historical.
http://rosannelortz.blogspot.com






*Note:  Both Barbara Kyle and Rosanne Lortz's novels are as follows:

By Ms. Kyle:

TUDOR PERIOD (1485-1603)

"The Queen's Lady"
"The King's Daughter"
"The Queen's Captive"
"The Queen's Gamble"
"Blood Between Queens"


By Ms. Lortz:

LATE MEDIEVAL PERIOD (1001-1485)

"I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince"
"Road from the West: Book I of the Chronicles of Tancred"



THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS "CASTLES, CUSTOMS, AND KINGS:  TRUE TALES BY ENGLISH HISTORICAL FICTION AUTHORS:

When I very happily received this beautifully bound book in the mail, I was first completely boggled by the size of it and the gorgeous cover.  This is a weighty one and quite worthy of keeping on your bookshelf for reference and rereading over the years.  I read it through on a Sunday afternoon.  Actually, was mesmerized by it and took it in because it's written in small vignettes.  My husband couldn't believe I'd read the whole thing in one afternoon!  We were sitting at one of his real estate Open Houses.  It made the time fly by. 

I found the tales of queens and kings from the historical fiction I've loved and learned to treasure just absorbing in the small bites these authors provide.  I read about: Boadicea, the Warrior Queen of early Medieval times who led the Britons to war against the Romans; the strong and brilliant Eleanor of Aquitaine who nearly toppled kingdoms for her own ambitions; the beginnings of the Knights Templar; the Plague that really isn't an example of our "Ring Around the Rosies!"   I read about prophets, pirates, superstitions, medieval bathtubs/hotubs, the selling of orphans, Halloween in Tudor England, washing clothing in ancient times, mirrors, cross-dressing women, The Blue-Stocking Circle we've read about before, metrosexuals in Georgian England, interesting Regency Era Classified Ads, ladies' slippers and half-boots, Mr. Darcy stripping off his clothing!  I read about the joys of flirting with fans, and what The Rebecca Riots were all about...

This is a book just full of information on English history, and it's all wonderfully compiled and edited.  There's not one single dull entry!  I loved reading about all the above...  The historical chapters are 2 and 3 pages long; just snippets, just long enough to give you the information in short-hand but enough to inform in the most enjoyable way. They are light-hearted while the information is serious.

I highly recommend this book to all fans of historical fiction.  I've left out the obvious entries of queens and kings you know well...the Henry's, the Williams and the Tudor queens of old.  You'll find true stories about them and their times galore.  You need to buy your copy as a companion with your historical fiction asap!

5 stars                    Deborah/TheBookishDame

9 comments:

MK McClintock

I just ordered this based on another reviewer's recommendation. It's nice to hear that you agree.

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