Monthly Archives: February 2015


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 books when I was growing up and instead subsisted on a diet of my grandmother’s historical fiction collection from a perhaps too early age) but hadn’t attempted to watch the iconic seventies series until I was much older. I was […]


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 for the adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s brilliant novels and I have to say that they have been completely surpassed by Wolf Hall. Yes, it started off slowly (which I think lost some viewers right at the very outset), but it […]


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 ends this week (woe and lamenting), in which Cromwell is played with superlative skill and panache by Mark Rylance. I really wasn’t sure about Rylance at first as he seemed to me to be lacking Cromwell’s trade mark bulk and […]


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 fitting to make a trip to the beautiful Old Vic theatre in Bristol to watch April de Angelis’ play about its shocking eighteenth century forerunner, Fanny Hill, a book that scandalised and titillated Georgian society after its release in 1748. […]


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 of her new home, Versailles. All told by Marie Antoinette herself as she grows from an enchanting, wilful child into a poised and beautiful young woman. Marie Antoinette, Krantzinger, 1771. Photo: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. It seems like a million years […]


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 of this blog being more weighted towards the history side of things and also my own demeanour being somewhat unlike that of the stereotypical Art History graduate, which I suppose is understandable as I didn’t really fit in with my […]