An Accidental Confession

One of the things I love most about history is the stories of people who lived in the past, particularly those who don’t have a historical event attached to their names. We find them in diaries, in footnotes, and in anecdotes. I often wonder what they must think if they were suddenly transported to the present and shown proof that their name and their story has been somehow preserved hundreds of years later. I’m reminded of the young man who went courting but ended up embroiled in a skirmish (“Young” Cambusnethen), or the mayor of a small Midlands town who…

Rambling through 17th century Ireland

In the course of researching day to day life in 17th century Ireland, I came across an interesting little volume called Teague Land or A Merry Ramble to the Wild Irish (1698). It’s a series of letters by John Dunton, written during his travels through Ireland, or as he liked to call them, rambles. The letters were eventually published when he returned to London. Dunton was a London bookseller who enjoyed travelling and often combined both passions. Before hitting Ireland, he travelled to the New England states where he auctioned off a huge stack of books and made quite a…

Stubborn Characters: A study of Nathaniel Lewis #amwriting #DDRevsStorySong

I’m convinced that writers straddle the fine line between being creative and slightly delusional. Our characters are real to us, we’re not above having exasperating discussions with them, and we take great delight in their little quirks. All this is true for my character Nathaniel Lewis, barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, a title he never fails to add as though it were a suit of armour. I suspect it is to him. He appeared on my doorstep one day, legal brief in hand, offering his services to the heroine of the first draft of my first book, who was at her…

Pepys’s Passion for the Theatre: A guest post by Deborah Swift #17thcentury #StuartAge

One of my favourite series in recent years has been Deborah Swift’s Pepys series. Samuel Pepys is a famous 17th century diarist who wrote about his day to day life, his business, and yes, even his sexual indiscretions. Thanks to Pepys, historians have excellent insights into life during Restoration London. Deborah Swift has quite brilliantly written a trio of books based on women mentioned in Pepys’s diary. I loved the first two novels, Pleasing Mr Pepys and A Plague on Mr Pepys, so it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to the final book in the series, Entertaining…

Prince Rupert of the Rhine: Pirate Prince of the Caribbean #17thCentury #StuartAge

One of the most dashing and iconic figures of the War of the Three Kingdoms is Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The son of Frederick V, Elector of Palatine, and Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James VI of England, he fought for King Charles I’s against Parliament. The force and swiftness of his cavalry charge usually struck terror in the Parliamentarians (although it could have been more disciplined). To this day, portraits of Rupert still causes hearts to flutter.  While Rupert is mostly known as a Royalist cavalry commander, he did enjoy a brief sojourn as a Pirate Prince, sailing…