Falkland Palace

James V and Marie de Guise, anon artist, c1542. Photo: National Trust for Scotland. Oh dear, it’s now over a month since I returned from my amazing research trip to Edinburgh and I still haven’t finished writing up all of my adventures for this blog! In my defence, I’m incredibly busy right now with my other writing projects so haven’t […]

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Bletchley Park – The Imitation Game

Long term readers (you poor poor things) may well recall that around a year ago, I came clean about my shameful lack of knowledge about the Second World War. This was not entirely my fault – despite going to three different secondary schools, all of which have since been ranked as ‘outstanding’ by Oftsed (God only knows how or why), […]


Outlander

Oh Jamie Fraser, how I love you. Sorry Poldark fans but he could totally take Ross in a fight. And he’s much hotter too. I actually first tried to read Cross Stitch, the first Outlander book, about fifteen years ago when I was pregnant and feeling all bored and fed up and enormously fat. I didn’t get very far as […]

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Stirling Castle

Although I am hardly what one might call a morning person, I was still up bright and early for my second day in Scotland, which was to be spent at Stirling Castle, where the infant Mary Queen of Scots was crowned and lived until she was whisked away to the safety of her mother’s native France in 1547. Of all […]


Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty

Although I might not look it, I am actually pretty fashion literate, in that I take more than a passing interest in the work of various designers, even if I will probably never be able to actually own anything that they make. As you might expect though, my tastes definitely lean more towards the gothic and historically inspired and so […]

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Edinburgh Day One

Writing books can be a really long, hard, thankless slog but there are a myriad of compensations for the misery, not least the fact that if you’re really canny about subject matter, you can justify going on epic research trips to amazing places. It should come as no surprise whatsoever therefore to learn that as soon as I got my […]


Poldark redux

One of my happiest memories is a brief period just after the birth of my youngest son, when all I was fit for was lying on the sofa and feeding him while watching every single episode of Poldark. I’d read the books as a child (veteran readers of this blog may recall that I wasn’t allowed to read normal children’s […]

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Final thoughts on Wolf Hall

Well. Wolf Hall came to an end last night and I am still REELING from the final, brutal, awe inspiringly bleak episode, which charted Cromwell’s part in the swift and shocking demise of Anne Boleyn. What an absolutely wonderful series and almost certainly one of the best that I have ever seen. As you know, I had really high expectations […]


Thomas Cromwell – Tracy Borman

As if my terrible Thomas Cromwell crush after reading Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (which I finished rereading last night and can confirm is still very much one of the greatest books that I have ever read) wasn’t already bad enough, it seems to have increased ten fold lately thanks to the BBC version of the novels, which […]

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The Life and Times of Fanny Hill

The Life and Times of Fanny Hill

In a week where everyone is talking about the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey film (did anyone actually like that book? I haven’t read any of them and have no plans to do so or to see the film but it seems to have inspired unmitigated loathing everywhere. SOMEONE must have liked it though, surely?), it seemed oddly […]


Secret Diary Promo

Meticulously researched and elegantly crafted, The Secret Diary of a Princess is my first novel and was born from a desire to tell the story of Marie Antoinette from an unusual and yet still fascinating angle, focusing on her early life at the Viennese court, the machinations behind her betrothal to the Dauphin Louis and then finally her initial impressions […]

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Rubens and his Legacy at the Royal Academy

The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower, Rubens, c1609. Photo: Alte Pinakothek, Munich. (Not in the exhibition!) It sometimes comes as something of a surprise to people when they find out that I have a degree in History of Art. I’m not entirely sure why that is but suspect that it’s down to a combination […]


Minette promo

My poor little mother was on the run from Parliament’s forces when I was born. Sickly, exhausted, frantic about the fate of her husband and other children and massively pregnant, she was forced to seek refuge in the west country city of Exeter and gave birth to me there in a rickety little house close to the centre of town. […]

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Tudor fun at Hampton Court Palace

As you will all no doubt know by now, I have been a fan of the Historic Royal Palace team’s work for a really long time. It’s hard to think of many other organisations so wholeheartedly committed to bringing the past to life and who consistently work so hard to make learning about history so fun and fresh and relevant […]


From Whitechapel promo

There was a pain, a terrible empty, lonely ache of sorrow and loss, within my ribcage while my heart felt like it had turned to ashes. This then was the end of my journey, this then was the answer that I had sought for so long, this then was the secret that Whitechapel had been withholding from me. Alice Redmayne, […]

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La Mode à la Cour de Marie Antoinette

How beautiful is this book? I was pleased as punch when I got La mode à la Cour de Marie-Antoinette from my brother in law as a Christmas present, and also rather astounded by how big it is as it is HUGE. Which can be a bit annoying when it comes to finding it a space on my many bookcases, […]


Wolf Hall – 1. Three Card Trick

Well, like no doubt millions of people I tuned in last night for the first episode of the long awaited BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 2). As you might imagine, as a HUGE fan of the books and the RSC play, I was pretty much pre-disposed to absolutely love […]

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A War of Flowers – Jane Thynne

I’ve already reviewed the first two brilliant books in Jane Thynne’s Clara Vine series and had to come back and let you all know how much I absolutely loved A War of Flowers, the third instalment in this gripping and darkly evocative series of books set in the glittering but dangerous world of pre-war Berlin, where people are already scared […]


Edinburgh here I come

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. Ooh la la, or maybe that should be och aye the noo? It’s okay, simmer down, I’m born and bred Scottish so I’m allowed to say that. Even if I somehow managed to grow up without the slightest trace of a Scottish accent and so say it in […]

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