Grey’s Court-A Medieval Manor

In early May, I visited Grey’s Court near Maidenhead in Berkshire, which like Wolf Hall, is a Tudor house with many additions from later centuries. It possesses a series of courtyards, outbuildings, medieval towers, magnificent gardens and a bluebell wood. As I walked around Grey’s Court I thought of how Wolf Hall could have appeared to the eye during the … Read More

A Visit to Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall lies on the edge of The Savernake Forest and was the familial home of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife. This location does not actually enter into my novel The Woman in the Shadows. My novel is about Elizabeth, Thomas Cromwell’s wife and it, in fact, ends in 1528 before Cromwell becomes a courtier. None the less, The … Read More

Out of the Shadows: Story of the Book Launch in Pictures.

On the 4th August The Woman in the Shadows was published. The launch party was held in Oxford Waterstones on publication day and was attended by over seventy guests. It was a pleasant evening with sunshine pouring in through the long windows of the second floor restaurant. You can see my publisher, Hazel Cushion, in the first picture. She is … Read More

Summer Books by guest author Brenda Brittan

I welcome Brenda Brittan, Writer from The Greek Mani Writer’s Group to share her favoured summer reads. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – Laurie Lee This delightful sequel to Cider With Rosie, is an ideal summer read when one wants to escape the restrictions of everyday life and visit somewhere different. This is a captivating tale of a … Read More

The Tudor Way of Death

My new novel The Woman in the Shadows opens with the death of Elizabeth Williams’ husband’s death. She has kept his secret for years but now she is free. She is a widow, ready to take on the management of her cloth trade. Then, she meets Thomas Cromwell who helps her to overcome her father’s opposition and that of jealous … Read More

Footwear in Paintings by ‘Old Masters’.

Recently, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to visit art galleries in Venice, Haarlem and in The Hague. I focussed on the costumes, hats and shoes worn by the figures in the paintings. As I wandered through the galleries’ Medieval and Renaissance sections peering at shoes, I was amazed at how modern they were. Twenty-first century designers could copy … Read More

Women at the Time of Conquest

This year is a special 1066 anniversary. Recently I was the co-ordinator for The Historical Novel Society Conference in Oxford. I also spoke on two panels, one of which was about medieval women. My angle was how life changed for women after the Norman Conquest as well as what happened to the noble Godwin women and other female survivors. A … Read More

Ill-fated Marriages in Literature

I often think that my favourite novels do not depict marriages in a happy light. This, of course, allows the writer to explore tensions and create jeopardy in the story. It permits the writer to be forgiving. I have selected a few of those ill-fated marriages where I think the author does this well- all rate highly amongst my favourite … Read More

The Street in late medieval London- Trades and Noise

When did the medieval period in London begin and end? We assume that the medieval period began in England when the Romans departed circa 410 AD. However for the previous one hundred years the Romans had been withdrawing from England and they were using Saxon mercenaries to supplement the Roman army’s reduced presence. The country continued to trade with the … Read More

Women’s Rights in Early Medieval Rus

The Ruirikid Dynasty ruled Rus lands during the eleventh century. This marks the early part of a Golden Age for the ruling cities Kyiv/ Kiev and Novgorod. These princes replaced many diverse local customs and created a Rus State that stretched from the Black Sea north of Moscow and St Petersburg, which, if they existed at all then, were tiny … Read More