Book Review: The Sewing Machine
Valerie Fergie, The Sewing Machine. Unbound Digital, London, 2017, ISBN13 9781911586043 (I read the Kindle version)
Singer sewing machine
I just finished reading The Sewing Machine, a delightful debut by Valerie Fergie. The central “character” is a Singer sewing machine which connects four generations of two families over a period of more than 100 years. The earliest is Jean, who works at the Singer factory in Clydebank in 1911. The last is Fred, who inherits the machine in 2016. Initially, he wants to get rid of it, but then starts growing attached to it. Continue reading
Book Review: Troubadour
A guest post by Julia Redlich
Isolde Martyn, Troubadour. Harlequin Mira, 2017, rrp $24.95. ISBN 9781489220370
We thank Julia Redlich for reviewing Isolde Martyn’s latest novel for us here on Dottie Tales.
Members of the New South Wales branch of the Richard III Society will have read and enjoyed our fellow member Isolde Martyn’s historical novels. Most of them have concerned real people from the period that interests us most: from Katherine Bonville to the Duke of Buckingham, and women who play a role in Edward IV’s life – Elysabeth Woodville and Elizabeth “Jane Shore” Lambard. Her presentation of real characters and the events of their time in English history is always combines romance with impeccable research. Continue reading
Book Review: How to Bury a King:
The Reinterment of King Richard III
Pete Hobson, How to Bury a King: The Reinterment of King Richard III. Zaccmedia, 2016
On 26 March 2016, the one year anniversary of Richard III’s reinterment in Leicester Cathedral, three books and a CD were launched in St Martin’s House adjacent to Leicester Cathedral.
The launch was held in the great hall of St Martin’s House, with the choir singing to publicise the release of the CD. He lieth under this Stone features much of the choral music performed at Leicester Cathedral during the reinterment week in March 2015. Of course, it also includes ‘Ghostly Grace’, composed especially for the occasion by Judith Bingham.
The three books were How to Bury a King by Rev Peter Hobson, acting canon missioner at Leicester Cathedral, Flowers for a King by Rosemary Hughes, who was responsible for the floral arrangements in the Cathedral, and Richard III – His Story, by Leicester artist Kirsteen Thomson. Continue reading
The Consequence of Coincidences –
A guest post by Julia Redlich
We welcome Julia Redlich to Dottie Tales, who tells us in today’s guest post about finding Richard III as a Consequence of Coincidences.
This is not just a coincidence, but having written a recent contribution to the Richard III NSW Branch website called Not Looking for Richard, this is just a natural consequence. The first feature dealt with finding mention of King Richard in unexpected novels and the pleasure derived from discovering authors who viewed him as a human being, not necessarily a villain. Continue reading
Book Review: Memorial to the Duchess
Jocelyn Kettle, Memorial to the Duchess. Coronet Books, London, 1974 (first published 1968) (Pbk)
While we are on the topic of Alice Chaucer, here is a look at another novel on this fascinating historical character.
Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk, was a fascinating person, but I have yet to find any in-depth analysis of her life, preferably non-fiction.
However, you would think that she would also make the perfect protagonist for a work of fiction. As seen, she is frequently a minor character (not that there is anything minor about Alice!) in the Sister Frevisse novels by Margaret Frazer, like for instance in the short story The Stoneworker’s Tale. There is one full length novel about her, Memorial to the Duchess. I had been warned, but I was still prepared to give it a try. I should have headed the warning! Continue reading
Short Story Review:
The Stone-Worker’s Tale
Margaret Frazer, The Stone-Worker’s Tale, Kindle edition, Dream Machine Productions, 15 April 2011
The Stone-Worker’s Tale is a short story by Margaret Frazer, featuring her medieval sleuth Dame Frevisse. Gail Lynn Frazer, wrote a series of novels under the name Margaret Frazer. The majority feature Dame Frevisse, a medieval nun, while several books have Joliffe, member of a troupe of travelling players, as the protagonist. Unfortunately Ms Frazer passed away in 2013, so there will be no new encounters with either Dame Frevisse or Joliffe to look forward to. Therefore it is even more rewarding to return to the old favourites. Continue reading
Book Review: Catherine of Aragon
Giles Tremlett, Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen. Faber and Faber Ltd, London, 2010 (Pbk)
Several years ago, I bought Catherine of Aragon at Heathrow looking for something to while some time away during a 24-hour flight. And I was hooked – compared to Catherine, the normal inflight entertainment didn’t stand a chance. Continue reading
Book Review: Gutenberg’s Apprentice
Alix Christie, Gutenberg’s Apprentice. Headline Review, London, 2015 (Pbk)
Gutenberg’s Apprentice tells the story of the creation of the Gutenberg Bible through the eyes of Peter Schöffer (or Schoeffer instead of the Umlaut). Peter was the apprentice of Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden, called Gutenberg. Though the narrative takes place in the 1450’s, there are short chapters in between, where Peter is talking to abbot Trithemius of Sponheim Abbey 30 years after the Bible was printed, between September 1484 and March 1486. With the distance of time and Trithemius’ remarks, they allow Peter (and the reader) to reflect on what had happened. Continue reading
A Reunion with Old Friends – Gaudy Night
Book Review: Dorothy L Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935)
Note: Contains spoilers
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. For me this particular novel will always be connected with my memories of a holiday in Oxford, where most of the action of this novellater takes place. This holiday in the ‘city of dreaming spires’ was in 1973, and I bought the book a couple of years later. For years it remained one of my favourite books – amply documented by the by now rather tatty state of my copy – but as time went by it was pushed aside by new favourites. So I decided to have another look. And I read it and was hooked again. Since my first stay in Oxford in that magical summer of 1973 as a German school girl, I have been back a number of times. Whatever the circumstances, the novel still holds its old magic.
Book Review: She-Wolves
Helen Castor, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth. Faber and Faber, London, 2010 (Hbk)
She-Wolves deals, as the subtitle tells us, with “The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth”, ie. Matilda the Empress, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou and, less thoroughly, Queen Mary. It is an easy to read account of these ladies’ lives and “reigns”. For me the parts dealing with Matilda and Isabella were of particular interest, because my knowledge about these two had been rather limited. It certainly will make me investigate them further. If this was Helen Castor’s aim, she was successful. In this respect the book serves the same purpose as a well-written historical novel, which is actually what this book feels like.