A different throwback thursday this week, looking back to October 2017 when we spent a few days in Scotland. One of the places we visited was Stirling.
The approach to Stirling is impressive with this incredible view of Stirling Castle perched on top of the cliff. Its position was important in the line of defence and the town was granted a Royal Charter in the 12th century. It was witness to battles against the English during the Wars of Independence, including The Battle of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn.
Throwback Thursday this week showcases the first in an excellent historical fiction series, based on fact. There are prequels which are just as good but not essential to read first.
The Rise of the Aztecs follows on from the pre Aztec series and the story picks up in 1409 with two boys from vastly differing backgrounds. Coyotl, a Lowlander, first son of the Emperor and Kuini, a Highlander and son of the War Leader from Huexotzinco. The boys meet by chance on Coyotl’s favourite hill which overlooks his altepetl, Texcoco, the capital of the Acolhua people. A growing friendship develops, both expressing interest in the other’s customs and culture. The story is told from each of their perspectives as they begin meeting in secret.
We had a very interesting visit to the small but very informative RNLI Grace Darling museum during our last trip to Bamburgh. Free entry, lots of historical details, exhibits and videos and friendly staff ensure a pleasant experience. Donations are welcomed but not obligatory and there’s a small shop area as you enter. There are two downstairs areas with interactive models of Longstone Lighthouse and an account of the Darlings’ life at the lighthouse. (Please click on photos if you’d like the full size)
The impressive ruins of Whitby Abbey are perched on a headland overlooking the town of Whitby and the North Sea, and are said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, along with certain areas of the town.
Author: Margaret Skea
Published: October 2017 by Sanderling Books
Category: Historical Fiction, Book Review
Following the death of her mother and her father’s remarriage, five-year-old Katharina is placed in the convent at Brehna. She will never see her father again.
Sixty-five miles away, at Erfurt in Thuringia, Martin Luder, a promising young law student, turns his back on a lucrative career in order to become a monk.
The consequences of their meeting in Wittenberg, on Easter Sunday 1523, will reverberate down the centuries and throughout the Christian world.
Margaret Skea has painted a convincing and sympathetic portrait of Katharina Von Bora, who became the wife of Martin Luther, despite the fact that little is known about her. As the author states: this is a fictionalised account of how her early life might have been. The story is a combination of fiction and the facts gleaned by the author through thorough research.
I hadn’t gone out with the intention of taking photographs, so didn’t have my camera. This was too good an opportunity to miss though, so out came the phone.
Plas Mawr was thought to be the finest town house of the Elizabethan period in Britain.
The owner, Robert Wynn, was a prosperous merchant who loved grandeur. His house, built between 1576 and 1585, said to have cost around £800, reflects his status and wealth.
- Author: William Ryan
- Published: This edition, June 2017 by Pan
- Category: WWII, Historical Fiction, Books, Reading
The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile . . . It must be the morphine . . . He had managed not to think about her for months now.
It’s 1944 and Paul Brandt, a German soldier, horrifically wounded and returning from the front, is on a hospital train bound for recuperation, convalescence and finally, home and his father. The village he had left years before, and the people, were not the same. By the same token, neither was Paul. His experiences have left him demoralised and guilt ridden. Continue reading
Don’t ask a woman her age … and expect the truth
That boys lied about their ages to enlist in 1914 is common knowledge. Less well known is that women did too. This blog features two unusual women who felt age was no bar to ‘doing their bit’.
In 1917, Mabel Lethbridge was desperate to become a ‘mutionette’ and work in the Danger Sheds where highly explosive materials were handled; the minimum age was 18. A rebellious teenager, she was accepted at 7 National Filling Factory at Hayes Common. On her way to work on her first morning, she rather dismissed the comments of a woman in the bus queue who, hearing Mabel’s destination, comfortingly confided, this was “one of them terrible places … twelve months come Christmas I lost my eldest … all blowed to bits she was … we never got her body home.”
In Mabel’s Shed, dangers extended beyond high explosives. The machinery they were using to fill shells with amatol had been condemned over a year ago; replacements had arrived but were not yet operational. Soon disaster struck,
A dull flash, a deafening roar and I felt myself being hurled through the air, falling down, down into the darkness. A blinding flash and I felt my body being torn asunder. Darkness, that terrifying darkness, and the agonised cries of the workers pierced my consciousness. (Mabel Lethbridge Fortune’s Grass) Continue reading