American-English author Tracy Chevalier was able to become a full-time writer after her second novel, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, became a best-seller and the inspiration for the film of the same name starring Scarlett Johanssen and Colin Firth. She credits her time working as reference book editor for the skills of research, accuracy… Continue reading Tracy Chevalier
Richard III reigned for only two years, and for centuries he was villified as the hunch-backed wicked uncle, murderer of the princes in the Tower. Josephine Tey's novel The Daughter of Time is an investigation into the real facts behind the last Plantagenet king's reign, and an attempt to right what many believe to be the terrible injustice done to him by the Tudor dynasty. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains - a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the the Tudors? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard III really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower.
1565, Malta: a vital outpost between the divided nations of Europe and the relentlessly expanding Ottoman Empire. Faced with ferocious attack by a vast Turkish fleet, the knights of the Order of St John fear annihilation. Amongst those called to assist is disgraced veteran Sir Thomas Barrett. Loyalty and instinct compel him to put the Order above all other concerns, yet his allegiance is divided. At Queen Elizabeth's command, he must search for a hidden scroll, guarded by the knights, that threatens her reign.
As Sir Thomas confronts the past that cost him his honour and a secret that has long lain buried, a vast enemy army arrives to lay siege to the island...
Paris, 1895: an army officer, Georges Picquart, watches a convicted spy, Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of a baying crowd. Dreyfus is exiled for life to Devil's Island; Picquart is promoted to run the intelligence unit that tracked him down. But when Picquart discovers that secrets are still being handed over to the Germans, he is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and corruption that threatens not just his honour but his life...
About the book Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her not-so-innocent past in Glasgow, Bessy Buckley - the wide-eyed Irish heroine of The Observations - takes a job as a maid in a big house outside Edinburgh working for the beautiful Arabella. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer, but puzzled by her increasingly… Continue reading The Observations by Jane Harris
In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge friend Cecil Valance, a charismatic young poet, to visit his family home. Filled with intimacies and confusions, the weekend will link the families for ever, having the most lasting impact on George’s sixteen-year-old sister Daphne.
As the decades pass, Daphne and those around her endure startling changes in fortune and circumstance, reputations rise and fall, secrets are revealed and hidden and the events of that long-ago summer become part of a legendary story, told and interpreted in different ways by successive generations.
Powerful, absorbing and richly comic, The Stranger’s Child is a masterly exploration of English culture, taste and attitudes over a century of change.
Anne Neville and her sister Isabel are daughters of the most powerful magnate in 15th century England. Ever ruthless, always plotting, in the absence of a son and heir, Warwick sets about using his daughters as pawns in his political games. Anne grows from a delightful child brought up at the court of Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her life is overturned when her father turns on his former allies, escapes England and invades with an enemy army. Widowed at 14, fatherless, with her mother locked in sanctuary, and her sister a vengeful enemy, Anne faces the world alone. But fortune's wheel turns once again. Anne plots her escape from her sister's house, finds herself a husband in the handsome young Duke of Gloucester, and marries without permission, in secret. But danger still follows her. She finds that she has a mortal enemy in the most beautiful queen in England. Anne has to protect herself and her precious only son from the treacherous royal court, the deadly royal rival, and even from the driving ambition of her husband - Richard III.
About the book The second book in the’ Cousins’ War’ series, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen… Continue reading The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
1910: Distinguished MP Edwin Strafford resigns at the pinnacle of his career, removing himself from the public eye. The woman he loves, and for whom he was willing to sacrifice everything, suddenly and coldly rejects him. All the reasons for his fall from grace are shrouded in darkness. Seventy years later, historian Martin Radford is down on his luck when a mysterious benefactor offers him the opportunity of a lifetime: to uncover what exactly happened to Edwin Strafford. But this apparent good fortune swiftly turns into a nightmare. Radford's investigations trigger a violent series of events, which throw him straight into the path of those who believed they had escaped punishment for crimes long past but never paid for...
1570 in the Italian city of Ferrara. Sixteen-year-old Serafina is fipped by her family from an illicit love affair and forced into the convent of Santa Caterina, renowned for its superb music. Serafina's one weapon is her glorious voice, but she refuses to sing. Madonna Chiara, an abbess as fluent in politics as she is in prayer, finds her new charge has unleased a power play - rebellion, ecstasies and hysterias - within the convent. However, watching over Serafina is Zuana, the sister in charge of the infirmary, who understands and might even challenge her incarceration.