Giving voice to women of the past

A recent interview by Dame Hilary Mantel, of Wolf Hall fame, has generated a number of discussions in the historical fiction community on how women have been portrayed in the past. Dame Mantel went on to say women writers who write about women in the past “can’t resist retrospectively empowering them.” The discussion got me thinking about Æthelflæd, daughter of King Albert of Wessex, who led an army of Mercians into Wales. I first learned about Æthelflæd by reading the novel To Be a Queen, written by Annie Whitehead. I loved her portrayal of Æthelflæd and found her to possess…

Spotlight: 1066 Turned Upside Down (Part 2)- Continuing the conversation

On my last blog post, I featured an exciting new speculative historical fiction anthology, 1066 Turned Upside Down. I had the opportunity to chat with many of the authors about what inspired them to create this anthology. If you missed Part 1, click here to read. Today for Part 2, we continue the conversation about their writing and the anthology. Without further ado, I present Annie Whitehead, Alison Morton, Richard Dee, Carol McGrath, Anna Belfrage, and Joanna Courtney. Helen Hollick, in Part I of this blog, Annie Whitehead speculated about post-Hastings Britain if Harold had been victorious. What are your thoughts about how England…

Spotlight: 1066 Turned Upside Down (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered ‘what if’ history turned out a little differently? What if  John F. Kennedy wasn’t shot; what if Charles II had a legitimate heir? Historical fiction authors have a great deal of respect for what actually happened in history and will undertake years of research to ensure they get it right. But once in a while, it’s fun to let the imagination loose and contemplate an alternate reality. This is what an illustrious group of historical fiction authors did. In honour of the upcoming 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, when King Harold of England was defeated by William the…

Classicism vs Naturalism: French and Dutch art in the 17th century

As a special treat, I turn my blog over to Annie Whitehead, indieBRAG honouree and author of Alvar the Kingmaker and To Be A Queen. Annie’s novels are set during the Early Medieval period, but her knowledge of history extends centuries beyond her chosen era to include the 17th century. In this article, she illuminates the differences between two opposing artistic traditions of the 17th century, Classicism and Naturalism. Enjoy!  Artistically, the period of Richelieu and Mazarin saw the rise of French Classicism. Patronage of the arts was strong; Fouquet (the Superintendent of Finances in France), in particular used his money with exceptional taste. He gathered round…