Historical Tidbits

Haworth Then and Now by Karen Perkins

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in 19th England, Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits | 1 comment

Haworth has a great deal to offer today’s visitors, including a working steam railway, the iconic cobbled high street (thankfully lined by a myriad of interesting shops and teashops that provide very pleasant rest stops along the climb), and of course wonderful walks through the stunning moorland that makes up so much of Brontë Country. As a booklover, I can think of no more inspiring place than the home of my literary heroines, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, and I visit as often as I can. The Brontë Society and Parsonage Museum has lovingly re-created their home, demonstrating how they...

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Ah, the spa! A short history of the long soak, by Anna Castle

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in 19th England, Featured Book, Historical Tidbits | 1 comment

I’ve always loved a long soak in a hot tub, especially with some fragrant salts or oils added to the mix. I’m not alone! Tolkien wrote a poem about the pleasures of the bath, “Sing hey for the bath at the end of the day.” He seems to be channeling fellow Oxonian A. E. Houseman with these lines: “But better beer when drink we lack, and water hot poured down the back.” Personally, I prefer hibiscus-mint tea with a swirl of agave nectar to beer. Bathe away your blues Alienists and other health practitioners in the Victorian period prescribed many forms of...

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The (Not Quite) True Story of the Real Cinderella By Libbie Hawker

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Ancient Egypt, Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits | 2 comments

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them whenever I get the chance—while I’m going for walks, working in my garden, cleaning the house, or traveling to the mainland to take care of all the errands and chores I can’t do here on the island. Not too long ago, I came across a podcast called Disney Story Origins, a well-produced and fascinating show that explores the real history behind all the best-loved Disney films. Sadly, the podcast hasn’t had any recent updates, but it led me to research the source material behind of many of the films that hadn’t yet been covered by Disney Story Origins....

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The Wild Man, The Goat Woman & the Mississippi Miser by Michael Llewellyn

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in 20th Century US, Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits | 1 comment

Southerners didn’t write the book on eccentricity, but we’ve certainly supplied literature with more than our share of audacious characters and plots. From the Lesters of Tobacco Road and Boo Radley, to Ignatius J. Reilly and the denizens of Yoknapatawpha County, Dixie has produced a bumper crop of picaresque folk. Fiction, however, rarely eclipses fact. The real-life 1932 Goat Castle Murder in Natchez, Mississippi, was the perfect paradigm, screwy and sensational enough to demand, for the first time in American history, two special tourist trains to a crime scene. It seemed few could resist...

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The Normans in Ireland by Sarah Woodbury

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Featured Book, Historical Tidbits | Comments Off on The Normans in Ireland by Sarah Woodbury

The Normans were conquerors. Even more, they conquered. It was what they did. It was only natural, then, that eventually one of them would set his sights on Ireland.  That someone, in this case, was Richard de Clare, otherwise known as Strongbow. Now, Strongbow wasn’t entirely at fault for what came next. In fact, in 1169 he was invited into Ireland by the ousted king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada. Murchada had been removed from power by the High King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor, and, naturally, he wanted his lands back. He knew about Norman military prowess and looked to south Wales,...

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Taking the Cure in Regency Brighton by Libi Astaire

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in 19th England, Featured Book, Historical Tidbits | 3 comments

If you write a mystery series set in Regency England, eventually you will have to send your sleuth down to Brighton, the seaside playground of the Prince Regent and his cohorts, because the possibilities for crime are too tempting to resist. Those bathing machines and bathhouses used for taking the cure could also provide a perfect setting for some nefarious deed—such as the vanishing act that sets in motion the plot for my newest Jewish Regency Mystery, The Vanisher Variations. By the Sea, By the Sea Taking the sea cure at Brighton became fashionable when George, the Prince of Wales, first...

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