Marie Mancini and Louis XIV 2

Portrait of three of the nieces of Cardinal Mazarin portrayed as goddesses, Venus, Juno and Diana, unknown artist. Photo: Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee du Petit-Palais, France. One of my favourite characters while writing my seventeenth century novel Minette was the amazing Marie Mancini – she just seemed to light up every single […]


Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 16.51.50

Windsor Castle 1

When I posted the other day about my forthcoming fortieth birthday (eek!), many of you expressed astonishment that I had ‘visit Windsor Castle’ on my Things To Do Before I Turn Forty List. Which is fair enough – after all, I am a history blogger and have been resident in the UK for my entire […]

Marguerite d’Anjou 5

As some of you may have discerned from various mumblings on my blog’s Facebook page, I am currently frenziedly working away on a novel about Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots. It’s proving to be my most challenging work yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying writing it and hope to have […]


Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 16.30.05

Salisbury Cathedral 1

Buoyed up by our amazingly successful visit to Wells, I decided to persuade my husband that we really ought to attempt a trip to Salisbury to take a look at THEIR cathedral the next day. Which would have been fine, except my husband’s enthusiasm for old things in general and cathedrals in particular is MUCH […]

Wells Cathedral 3

I don’t usually post very much about Medieval history here but due to getting really into the research for my sixteenth century novel (which has led me WAY back into the fascinating and often surprising French family tree of Mary Queen of Scots) and also FINALLY reading Helen Castor’s superb and completely gripping She-Wolves: The […]

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 14.29.31


How to Ruin a Queen

‘On 5 September 1785, a trial began in Paris that would divide the country, captivate Europe and send the French monarchy tumbling down the slope towards the Revolution. Cardinal Louis de Rohan, scion of one of the most ancient and distinguished families in France, stood accused of forging Marie Antoinette’s signature to fraudulently obtain the […]

Do you remember your first time? 9

No, not THAT. I am referring, of COURSE, to your first Georgette Heyer novel. Duh. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here, I was effectively banned from reading childrens’ books when I was growing up but had free range of my grandmother’s enormous collection of the classics, history books and, most crucially, historical […]


Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 15.33.28

The Great War in Costume at Bath Fashion Museum 1

“The war is usually seen through military eyes. However, it could not have been won without the efforts of millions of women. They proved what they could do – what took a great deal longer was to convince everyone that they should do it.” ‘Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World […]

Alexandrine Le Normant d’Étoilles 2

Alexandrine Le Normant d’Étoilles, Boucher, private collection. Although Versailles is better known as a very adult sort of playground, full of gilt and priceless treasures, I’ve always been fascinated by the children who lived there over the decades that it was inhabited by the French court, and to whom it must surely have been like […]


Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 16.55.21

A Georgian Day Out in Bath 3

As I’ve mentioned several times before on here, I am fortunate enough to live less than twenty minutes train journey away from Bath, that most revered and iconic bastion of Georgian elegance and although the town can get a bit much in the summer at the height of tourist season, it’s still rather lovely to […]

Lover’s Eye Jewellery at Tatty Devine 2

Eye miniatures, early nineteenth century. Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum. As we all know, the eighteenth century was a bit of a heyday for weird, wonderful and often super creepy fashion from the amazingly funereal get ups of the Merveilleuses with their white powdered faces, red ribbon chokers (to evoke their guillotined chums) to false […]

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 16.20.31


Red Lodge, Bristol 3

Although this blog is mostly London centric, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some pretty amazing history stuff going on here in Bristol, albeit on a rather smaller scale. I’ve already written about Bristol Museum, SS Great Britain, Georgian House and M Shed on here and thought it was about time that I featured […]

Royal Childhood at Buckingham Palace

‘From well-loved toys and treasured family gifts to tiny childhood outfits, a special exhibition at Buckingham Palace will give an unprecedented glimpse into life as a young member of the royal family growing up at Buckingham Palace.’ I’m a very lucky girl indeed as once again I was invited along to a special blogger’s preview […]

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 15.31.42


Sleeping Beauty’s Daughter – Émilie de Sainte-Amaranthe

Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe. Sadly, not much is known about Émilie, who was reputed to be one of the most beautiful women in Paris in the early 1790s. She was born Charlotte-Rose-Émilie Davasse de Saint-Amarand on the 18th July 1775 in Paris and although her mother was married to Monsieur de Saint-Amarand (Sainte-Amaranthe was a flouncy […]

Charlotte Corday and the Murder of Marat

At 7am on the morning of Sunday, the 13th July 1793, a young woman, just twenty five years of age, with neatly arranged curling chestnut hair and clear blue eyes walked with a firm and steady tread through the already busy sun warmed streets of Paris from her lodging, room 7 in the Hôtel de […]


scarlet pimpernel

Bastille Day Books!

The Storming of the Bastille, Singleton. Photo: Christie’s. Happy Bastille Day! Ah, it’s that time of the year when people better organised than my husband and I head off on their holidays. Oh, don’t pity us, we may have been tardy in getting our holidays sorted out but we’re making up for it in the […]

Ten Historical Fiction Beach Reads

Yup, it’s that time of year again. You know the one. The time when the sun starts to come out and we all start fretting about the state of our winter dry and calloused feet, crash dieting so that we can get a ‘bikini body’ (clue: body + bikini = bikini body) and mentally limbering […]

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 14.05.39