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Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors

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An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share the stories, incidents, and insights discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.From medieval law and literature to Tudor que An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share


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An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share the stories, incidents, and insights discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.From medieval law and literature to Tudor que An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share the stories, incidents, and insights discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.From medieval law and literature to Tudor queens and courtiers, from Stuart royals and rebels to Regency soldiers and social calls, experience the panorama of Britain’s yesteryear. Explore the history behind the fiction, and discover the true tales surrounding Britain's castles, customs, and kings.

7 review for Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Pickstone

    Good overview book but the essays are too short and don't go into enough detail for me. There was one very fascinating story about Thomas Cranmer's greatest achievement being the writing of the liturgy for the Church of England that is still used today - as it was put - Mary Tudor won the battle but Thomas Cranmer definitely won the war in that regard! Good overview book but the essays are too short and don't go into enough detail for me. There was one very fascinating story about Thomas Cranmer's greatest achievement being the writing of the liturgy for the Church of England that is still used today - as it was put - Mary Tudor won the battle but Thomas Cranmer definitely won the war in that regard!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin Al-Mehairi

    Several years ago, the English Historical Fiction Authors group decided to take some of the various articles and essays written by authors and compile them in one collective book called Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales from English Historical Fiction Authors. I thought that was a marvelous idea, as many of these blogs and essays and articles get lost in cyber space, and yet, are full of research and tidbits that are interesting and useful! Debra Brown and the now late M.M. Bennetts did a Several years ago, the English Historical Fiction Authors group decided to take some of the various articles and essays written by authors and compile them in one collective book called Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales from English Historical Fiction Authors. I thought that was a marvelous idea, as many of these blogs and essays and articles get lost in cyber space, and yet, are full of research and tidbits that are interesting and useful! Debra Brown and the now late M.M. Bennetts did a marvelous job putting them all together.This year, a voluminous second edition, now in memory of M.M. Bennetts, was released and the collection edited by Debra Brown and Sue Millard. This is a very large book to read at 600 pages, but it’s size is what makes it a great well-rounded collection to purchase to have on your shelf for a time you want to read a tale or two or use for research. Due to my limited reading time, I couldn’t quite get through all the stories in a few weeks, but I did get through many of them, reading a few every night, and I plan to continue on with that long after this review done.The essays are absorbing and played right into my inquisitive, history loving mind in all the right ways and offer a wealth of knowledge on all various sorts of British history. Many are delightful, some sad, some useful, some funny, many adventurous, and all fascinating. It’s easy to be swept away into lands far in time and place and to want to keep heading into the next essay after completing a former. The voices of these particular authors are very strong and captivating.Upon sliding to the first essay, I smiled to see the first was my friend Nancy Bilyeau’s essay about her dream coming true in flying to England during the research for her Joanna Stafford historical suspense series. It was the perfect essay to begin with as it encompasses the feelings most historical and fantasy readers have had in regards to being entranced by the worlds of Kings and Queens (and the lot) in our teen years. Didn’t we all wish to travel abroad? To see where the history happened we read about? It was fitting, her thoughts and evident enthusiasm, as this edition of Castles, Customs, and Kings is a way to do just that for those of us who can’t get back to England anytime soon to revel in exploring the history. This book allows us to steal into the history of England through words, until we can see her again, or for some, for the first glorious time.With a perfect set-up into the collection by Nancy’s essay, they came one after the other in their uniqueness or lesson. I have a few other favorites so far, such as An Anglo-Saxon Christmas by Richard Denning (an essay everyone of most religions should read) which tells us definitively how paganism and Christianity became entwined. It’s something I knew from studies, but it was a great essay that would teach quite a few people about the origins of Christmas. I love anything about the history of Christmas so I enjoyed this article, as well as the very last one at the end of the book about plum pudding! Now I want to make some!Being an advocate for women’s rights, and women’s history, I enjoyed Octavia Randolph’s Women’s Rights in Anglo-Saxon England: Why They Were Much Greater Than You Think. For women that don’t realize that before 1066 many women held great power and rights, this would be an excellent article. I also liked Randolph’s essay on Lady Godiva, which for all visual remembering of her, taught us that she was actually was a very rich woman.Another of my favorite essays was Carol McGrath’s The Medieval Garden, which was interesting to me as I love gardens, mills, and orchards. I had never really read anything particularly about the history of them, though obviously, to this day they are glorious in England. (On a side note, when little and growing up in England, our neighbors had a huge garden that came up and through our fence. I couldn’t stay away from the flowers or plants then, and upon exploring all of them with my fingers during my terrible toddler years, ended up with pesticide in my eyes. A terrible few days at the hospital for my mom and me, but alas, I’m fine and still very curious about gardens!)Quite a different essay that caught my eye, was Anne O’Brien’s The Power of a Red Dress, which was about my favorite color to wear–red, but also utilized one of my favorite classics, Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Her original style of writing this article made me read it twice. And yet, I wear red…..I can see what that says about me! (You’ll have to read it to find out)There are articles stemming from medicinal uses and cures to art, music, weather, military battles, monarchy, nobility, religion…basically, you name a period and subject of history and you’ve got some sort of set of essays to fit your desires. I especially liked how many author’s essays balanced each other or built off one another, sometimes probably without even the authors having planned it that way. The editors did a good job of balancing an array of technical and educational essays with others that were more for the historically curious and sometimes ticked the funny bone or were surprising and witty.I really could go on and on picking out essays and articles that already are my favorites or must reads, but it would take all night. I highly recommend if you have any love of English Historical Fiction that you escape quickly with a copy of this book for your shelf, either digital or tangible, but I can see that it would make a great print copy staple for your nightstand or your reference library (or a great gift!). This conglomerate of amazing authors know how to do their research and write up historical stories that leave us wanting more. I’m thrilled that all these essays will never be lost, but treasured.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Kelly

    Castles, Customs and Kings Volume 2 Have you ever wanted to know more about British history but you don't want to read a dry boring history book with data that you will never remember? Yes, me too. I love reading about British history, Tudor era especially. Castles, Customs and Kings Volume 2 is perfect, not only does it follow the first volume in that it kind of continues or actually contributes more to the reader. I have read both of the volumes now and equally impressed. The articles come fro Castles, Customs and Kings Volume 2 Have you ever wanted to know more about British history but you don't want to read a dry boring history book with data that you will never remember? Yes, me too. I love reading about British history, Tudor era especially. Castles, Customs and Kings Volume 2 is perfect, not only does it follow the first volume in that it kind of continues or actually contributes more to the reader. I have read both of the volumes now and equally impressed. The articles come from well known historical authors such as Sandra Byrd, Anna Belfrage, Nancy Bilyeau, Debra Brown, Stephanie Cowell and so many more.  One of the things I liked about how the ebook was set up was the listing under each author's name for their websites, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media they contribute to. I think that gives the reader an insight into who their favorite authors are, all in one book. After the list of authors, about 50 of them, there is a section on the list of novels each author has written. Wow, that is one long list of books to read. I went through the list and there are quite a few that I have read, but there are so many more to get to.  The book starts off with Pre-Roman to Early Medieval Britain (pre-55 B.C.-A.D. 1000 to Victorian Era and the Twentieth Century), now that is a lot of history covered. Within each section, the articles range from a glimpse inside a Roman home, The London Tornado of 1091, the Making of a Medieval Queen and The Lady's Monthly Museum. Once you get through all that there is another section called Historical Tidbits across the Ages. We learn about some castles such as Leeds and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Witches, Midwives and Childbirth to Beds and Bugs through the Centuries. All of the articles within the covers of Customs, Castles and Kings Volume 2 come from the English Historical Authors blog. All impeccably researched and fun to read. If you love British History like I do, then this book needs to be in your library.   

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is a BIG book! A BIG book of fascinating historical goodness. I have to admit that I have not finished this giant masterpiece. I'm taking my time, reading an essay or article at a time - and thoroughly enjoying myself. The amount of research these fantastic authors do always impresses the heck out of me. I am really finding it interesting the many things they come up with that don't end up making it to the actual stories they're writing. The way this book is compiled makes it easy to stop a This is a BIG book! A BIG book of fascinating historical goodness. I have to admit that I have not finished this giant masterpiece. I'm taking my time, reading an essay or article at a time - and thoroughly enjoying myself. The amount of research these fantastic authors do always impresses the heck out of me. I am really finding it interesting the many things they come up with that don't end up making it to the actual stories they're writing. The way this book is compiled makes it easy to stop and start and pick and choose whatever you're in the mood for reading at the time. One of my favorite parts of book reviewing is doing interviews with the authors and/or having them write guest posts for the blog. This book, along with the first volume, are like candy for me in that respect. I feel like I'm getting "behind the scenes" glimpses into the process in a big extra helping. The varying emotions that are evoked from many of these offerings were also a surprise for me. I pretty much hit the full range from sadness and tears to full belly laughs. Any lover or writer/wannabe writer of  historical fiction needs to have this tome on their shelf. It is a fabulous reference as well as a place to go for an entertaining and informative look into the early times of Britain. Those who are just in search of some great stories to while away a winter's night will also benefit from getting this/these books. Full review posted at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf. Book was received in exchange for an honest review. 

  5. 4 out of 5

    Terry Kroenung

    Despite the title indicating that these might be stories, this is a collection of essays about what historical fiction authors learned while researching their books. It's thick, it's dense, and it's endlessly interesting. You'll learn things you never knew you cared about in history. Despite the title indicating that these might be stories, this is a collection of essays about what historical fiction authors learned while researching their books. It's thick, it's dense, and it's endlessly interesting. You'll learn things you never knew you cared about in history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Jones

    Loved this!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Swift

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