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Princess Anne – The Princess Who Married a Hunchback

This is the story of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal was the eldest daughter of George II. Princess Anne was born into what we would call a dysfunctional family in May 1709. (For more information about her grandmother and the House of Hanover read my blog on 15th...

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Sex and the City

Women and Sex There were two ways for a girl to get on in the 18th century and they both involved sex and the risk of disease followed by the likelihood of an early death. The choice for most women was either wife or city prostitute. Prostitution was the riskier...

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Princess Sophia Dorothea the Uncrowned Queen of Britain

This is the history of the shocking case of a Princess who was married against her will, spurned by her husband, divorced, and then imprisoned for 33 years. Princess Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick- Lüneburg did not have a good start in life; she was born illegitimately;...

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A Room of One’s Own – A History of Letter Writing

The history of letter writing is part of women's history. Writing letters to family and friends was one of the new pastimes enjoyed by 18th-century middle-class women. Although the Post Office had been open since 1660  it was not until the 18th century that the use of...

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The Portland Vase – An 18th Century Obesssion

The story of the Portland Vase encapsulates so much about the 18th century. It is a story of fascination with the classical world, the acquisition of antiquities and of technological and artistic excellence of British manufacture. The vase that is known as the...

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Against the Grain – 18th Century British Art

British art has always been slightly different from that of mainstream Europe. Perhaps it's because we're an island. European painting in the eighteenth century is generally conceived as radiating from Paris. There was a strong move during the course of the 18th...

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The Present Past – Writing History

Using the Present Tense to Write About the Past Writing about the past in the present tense is hot with publishers but does it work for readers? In writing and rhetoric, the historical present or narrative present is the employment of the present tense when narrating...

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The Duchess of Hamilton

The Duchess of Hamilton was born in Ireland, Elizabeth Gunning. She was a celebrity beauty who caused a sensation when she and her sister were introduced into high society. Though the sisters had neither dowries nor rank, their physical attractiveness secured them...

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The Palazzo del Re – Home of the Stuarts in Exile

The Palazzo del Re was home to the exiled Jacobite court and the Stuarts in Rome. Owned by the Muti family, it was rented by the Papacy for the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart. Both James's sons, Charles Edward ('Bonnie Prince Charlie') and Henry Benedict,...

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How to Write a Good Love Letter

How to Write a Good Love Letter Benjamin Franklin wrote a good love letter. In 1779, Benjamin Franklin fell in love with Anne Catherine Helvétius, the widow of the Swiss-French philosopher, Claude-Adrien Helvétius. He was serving as the U.S. envoy to France at the...

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Bonnie Prince Charlie and Toad Escape Dressed as Women

Bonnie Prince Charlie and Toad - What do they have in common? It is a surprising thing to say but Bonnie Prince Charlie and Kenneth Graham’s character Toad, (Wind in the Willows, 1908) have much in common. Both were good-natured, kind-hearted and not without...

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Six Rules for Writing Historical Fiction

Six Rules for Writing Historical Fiction Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Historical fiction is an umbrella term; though it is commonly used as a synonym for describing the historical novel....

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The Aftermath of Culloden – 1746

The retribution that followed the defeat of the Jacobite Army at Culloden in 1746 has passed into legend for its brutality and savagery and has formed the backdrop to many classic stories including Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and more recently Diana Gabaldon’s...

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18th Century Smuggling Fact and Fiction

Pirates and Smuggling Fact and Fiction In the 18th century, the British government collected a good deal of its income from customs duties - tax paid on the import of goods such as tea, cloth, wine, and spirits. The tax on imported goods could be up to 30% so smuggled...

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5 Ways to Improve Your Writing

5 Ways to improve your writing So you're thinking about writing - for your blog, for your company, for industry publications, or maybe just for fun. Maybe you've never considered writing but you’re quickly realising you’re going to have to do it and do it well, for...

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How to Make a Character Stand Out in a Novel

The profession or the jobs of your character does plays a major role in making your novel a hit. That's because a character’s profession affects the entire story. A job or profession gives an indication of personality, class, wealth and motivation. You can use it as a...

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Sinclair Extras – Onboard the Sherwell

Sinclair Extracts -This scene was almost entirely edited out of the final version of the book. I enjoyed writing it as I was developing the characters of Sinclair and Greenwood. In these scenes, the men emerged as they appear in the final novel. The scene is based...

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Sinclair_Cover Julia Herdman