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Writers of Influence – Mary Wesley

Writers of Influence – Mary Wesley

I loved Mary Wesley's books. I think I read them all in the 1980s and 1990's before my children were born. I really enjoyed the TV adaptations too. Her work was refreshing, vivid and bittersweet, her style was effortless. She is a great influence on me still. Mary...

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Princess Sophia – Seduced, Abandoned and Blackmailed

Princess Sophia – Seduced, Abandoned and Blackmailed

This is the sad story of Princess Sophia. An unworldly and shy woman who was seduced by a man 33 years her senior, gave birth to his illegitimate child and was blackmailed by her son to pay his father's debts. According to biographer Christopher Hibbert, in her young...

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Byron’s Daughters – A Tale of Three Sisters

Byron’s Daughters – A Tale of Three Sisters

Byron's Daughters Julia Herdman writes historical fiction that puts women to the fore. Her latest book Sinclair, Tales of Tooley Street Vol. 1. is  Available on Amazon – Paperback £10.99 Kindle £2.42 Born in London in 1788, the poet George Gordon Byron, or Lord Byron...

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Writers of influence – Hilary Mantel

Writers of influence – Hilary Mantel

The dead are always present, says Hilary Mantel, they live with us in our memory, in our genes and in the legacy of their decisions and actions that shaped the world we live in today. In the words of St Augustine, she says, they are 'invisible, they are not absent'....

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Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

Turquerie was the fashion for all things Turkish. It started in the late sixteenth century and lasted well into the nineteenth. unconcerned with the realities of life in the east it was rather a product of European fantasies about the luxuries of the Orient. Turkey...

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Chocolate and treachery – The drinking dens of St James’s

Chocolate and treachery – The drinking dens of St James’s

Chocolate Drinking in St James's For a city with little tradition of hot drinks, chocolate was an alien, suspect substance drink associated with popery and idleness. The principal chocolate houses were Ozinda’s and White’s, both on St James’s Street, and the Cocoa...

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The pursuit of love and happiness

The pursuit of love and happiness

The pursuit of love and happiness was an 18th-century ideal. Voltaire (1694-1778), the French philosopher and author was one of its chief exponents and is one of the heroes of my character Sinclair. Sinclair takes his copy of Candide, Voltaire's satirical novel to...

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The Jacobites – Romantic or Despotic?

The Jacobites – Romantic or Despotic?

Rebellion The Jacobite movement started when the Stuart King, James II was deposed in 1688. Parliament, not wanting a Roman Catholic king gave the throne of Great Britain and Ireland to his daughter Mary II and her husband and first cousin William of Orange. King...

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Austen’s Letter from Darcy

Austen’s Letter from Darcy

Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice Austen's letter from Darcy is the watershed moment in Pride and Prejudice. From this moment on Elizabeth Bennet knows she has misread him. Oh, how her heart must have ached after reading it. It is an extraordinarily long letter for a...

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Cristallo – Italian Clear Glass

Cristallo – Italian Clear Glass

We take clear glass or Cristallo for granted today but this fragile material was once so prized men were condemned to death for revealing its secrets. Sparklingly clear glass is the stuff of romance. Without it there would be no coup de champagne or glittering...

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Dancing through the bedrooms of Europe

Dancing through the bedrooms of Europe

Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein otherwise known simply as Metternich was probably the greatest diplomat of the nineteenth century. As well as being a towering intellectual he seems to have been a very physical man, if not on...

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Preview – Sinclair, A Novel By Julia Herdman

Preview – Sinclair, A Novel By Julia Herdman

Sinclair By Julia Herdman Sinclair is available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback. Sinclair is a story of love, loss and redemption. The story follows the lives of three people - James Sinclair a Scottish doctor working in London, Frank Greenwood a former Army...

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The History of the Love Letter

The History of the Love Letter

There would be no love letters without pens, ink and that luscious bright-red blob of sealing wax the heroine of the story cracks open at her dressing table. A good goose quill was the love letter writer’s standard kit until the invention of the metal dip nib pen in...

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Harsh Justice – Ross Poldark is in trouble again

Harsh Justice – Ross Poldark is in trouble again

The Poldarks are having their usual brush with the law this season. This time it's the life of Drake Carne, Demelza's brother whose life hangs in the balance. Justice in the 18th century was probably as rare as hen's teeth for the common man. 18th-century law...

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Imperial Crushes

Imperial Crushes

Archduchess Maria Christina was born on her mother's 25th birthday at the Imperial Palace in Vienna, she was her fifth child and fourth daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. Maria Christina Johanna Josepha Antonia was born on 13 May...

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Witch or Saint ? Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Witch or Saint ? Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi  16 May 1718 – 9 January 1799 was an Italian mathematician, philosopher, theologian and humanitarian. Maria Gaetana Agnesi was born in Milan, to a wealthy and literate family the third of 21 children. Her father Pietro Agnesi, a University of...

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