17th century

The intolerant earl – from loyal servant to Tower prisoner

A week or so ago, I posted about the honourable Arthur Capell , a gentleman whose loyalty to his king, Charles I, ultimately lead to his execution. In that post I hinted  at the fate of his son and namesake, Arthur Jr. So, today I think we should spend some time with the younger Capell, …

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Dying for his king – or how a would-be Parliamentarian ended up a dead Royalist

There is a picture in the National Portrait Gallery that I have always been particularly fond of. Originally, I was drawn to it more because of the formal garden in the background than the sitters in the foreground (this was when I was thinking BIG when it came to garden design), but every time I’ve …

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A lost language, a lost identity, a lost people

The single biggest tragedy to befall the native people of the Americas was the arrival of Columbus upon their shores. Over the course of a couple of centuries, a deadly cocktail consisting of slavery, disease and warfare was to reduce the native population with 40-80% (it varies substantially from area to area) and what had …

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I want out! – or how the history of divorce can inspire a book

It is estimated that approximately 40-50% of all present-day marriages in the Western Hemisphere end in divorce. A rather depressing statistic, some say. A consequence of longer lifespans, the anthropologist will counter, adding that few marriages in the past spanned several decades—usually they ended due to the untimely death of one of the parties. According …

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Like a glowing star – meet Ms St.John and her new release!

I must admit to the sin of jealousy. Yup: lots and lots of jealousy, because today’s guest has such a wealth of recorded family history from which to be inspired when she sets out to write her historical novels. Having said that, what Elizabeth St. John does with all that family history is something akin …

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In pursuit of the Early American Dream

I have something of a fascination with those intrepid ancestors of ours who decided to uproot themselves from everything they knew and start over, in lands they had never seen. Okay, so I must admit to these not being my ancestors – my ancestors remained very rooted to their few acres of land, complementing that …

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From royal sweetheart to Iron Lady

In October of 1611, Karl IX, king of Sweden, died. And no, one should not judge this gentleman by his umm…creative hair-do. Karl was a competent (if rather ruthless) man who used religion as an excuse to wrest the Kingdom of Sweden from his nephew, Sigismund, leaving behind a realm in order, a half-grown son …

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Going back to my roots – or why there now are NINE books in The Graham Saga

Today is the publication date for the ninth book in the Graham Saga. Ninth. What began as a book (with a very sad and depressing ending involving two lonely people dying far, far from each other) developed into a saga and by now I am quite convinced Matthew and Alex and their large family are …

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The adventures of that perennial herbalist, Mr Nicholas Culpeper

Some people are born with a major interest in flowers. Take my eldest son, who at the tender age of fourteen months methodically chomped his way through every single one of my hundred odd tulips, leaving half chewed petals in his wake. Or take Nicholas Culpeper, whose interest in flora was somewhat more scientific. I …

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A colony, a colony – we need a fricking colony!

Sweden hasn’t given American culture all that much: one very famous hymn (How Great Thou Art), one so-and-so famous revolutionary (Joe Hill), and one most emblematic building (the log cabin).  The log cabin? I see my American readers wrinkling their brows. Isn’t the log cabin a home grown invention? Nope. It’s as Swedish as zippers …

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