Mastodon The Writing Desk: September 2022

29 September 2022

Special Guest Interview with Heidi Eljarbo, Author of Brushstrokes from the Past: A Historical Art Mystery

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

April 1945. Art historian Soli Hansen and her friend Heddy arrive at an excavation site only to find Soli’s old archeology professor deeply engrossed in an extraordinary find in a marsh. The remains of a man have lain undisturbed for three centuries,
but there’s more to this discovery…

I'm pleased to welcome author Heidi Eljarbo to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

Brushstrokes from the Past takes place during the last weeks of WWII in Oslo, Norway. Soli Hansen and her resistance group have given all to keep precious artwork out of der Führer’s hands, and that’s far from easy when their country has been invaded by a ruthless enemy. Her personal life has been turned upside-down with danger, lies, and spying. 

This is a story of Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, adventure, suspense, and romance. But there’s more. The dual timeline takes us back to Amsterdam in 1641 and to the brilliant master artist Rembrandt van Rijn and the musketeer he painted.
Brushstrokes from the Past is the fourth book in the Soli Hansen Mysteries. Each novel can be read as a standalone, but they are more enjoyable when read in order as the story progresses.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I write in the mornings and early afternoons but never on Sundays. A day of rest is healthy and important. I also carry pen and paper wherever I go as I never know when a wonderful idea pops up in my mind, and I’d be sure to forget it if I don’t write it down.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read a lot! Write s lot! Make sure the cover and description are of great quality! Learn about the craft and practice! But also, it’s important to remember that even experienced authors write many drafts before the book is finished, and they work with a professional editor and beta readers to help them polish that story.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

When I spend time on quality social posts and small videos with music, I find it’s a fast and easy way for readers to be reminded of my books and the stories.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

When studying the life of Rembrandt, I was touched by his great love for his wife, Saskia. He adored her, and the many drawings and paintings of her verify that. They met the way Saskia explains to Annarosa in the novel, and I’ve described their home as accurately as possible.

Their children were christened in Dutch Reformed churches in Amsterdam. The first son was named Rumbertus after Saskia’s father. The infant died soon after birth. Then followed two daughters, both christened Cornelia after Rembrandt’s mother. Each of them also died after a few days. They called their fourth child Titus van Rijn. He was born in 1641 and survived his father. Unfortunately, the boy saw little of his mother. Saskia died from either tuberculosis or consumption when Titus was only nine months old. In Brushstrokes from the Past, she is pregnant with Titus but far from healthy. Rembrandt confides his worries to Annarosa and is genuinely afraid of losing Saskia.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

I would have to say the sword fighting scene. I’m not a swordfighter and spent quit a bit of time researching moves and terminology. But I love research and learning!

What are you planning to write next?

My next novel is a historical Christmas romance set in the Victorian era. I have the cover, and the story is plotted and well on its way. So excited to share it with the readers.

Heidi Eljarbo

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About the Author

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near. Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter. After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier. Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter. Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical. Find out more at Heidi's website and find her on  Twitter @HeidiEljarbo

28 September 2022

Special Guest Post by Anna Belfrage, Author of Her Castilian Heart (The Castilian Saga Book 3)

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

At times a common bloodline is something of a curse—or so Robert FitzStephan discovers when he realises his half-brother, Eustace de Lamont, wants to kill him. A murderous and greedy brother isn’t Robert’s only challenge. He and his wife, Noor, also have to handle their infected relationship with a mightily displeased Queen Eleanor—all because of their mysterious little foundling whom they refuse to abandon or allow the queen to lock away.

Those unruly Welsh – a post about those that would not give up

Some years ago, I published His Castilian Hawk, where the story is set against the backdrop of Edward I’s conquest of Wales in 1282-83. Some may think that after Dafydd ap Gruffyd was executed in late 1283, Wales was permanently cowed, bowing its neck abjectly before its new overlord. Not at all like in Scotland, where the Scots just wouldn’t give up, no matter what Edward I threw at them.

Hmm. I dare say those medieval Welshmen would snort—rather loudly—at the notion that they somehow lacked in bravery. Also, one must keep in mind that the English king could command vastly more men than the Welsh could. Plus, Wales was not a cohesive unit as Scotland was. No, Wales was subdivided into various little principalities, and since the death of Llewellyn Fawr in 1240 no one had really managed to unite all Wales again. Plus, large chunks of Wales had been under English control for yonks, ruled over by the so called Marcher Lords. 

So it was a fragmented people who were invaded by the English in 1282-83, and in some places people didn’t overly care who sat in the nearby castle. But that does not mean the Welsh had rolled over and given up. In fact, there’d be a sequence of rebellions—of varying size—over the years. What all those rebellions have in common is that they failed, even if the impressive Owain Glyndwr came close to success.

In my (very!) recent release, Her Castilian Heart, the adventures and misfortunes that beset my fictional protagonists, Robert FitzStephan and his wife Noor, are set against the backdrop of another Welsh rebellion, that of Rhys ap Maredudd.

Rhys was a member of the royal house of Deheubarth, a principality in mid Wales. When Dafydd ap Gruffyd prodded his older brother into rebellion in 1282, Rhys sided with the English. Already in the Anglo-Welsh wars if 1276-77, Rhys submitted to England, hoping that by doing so he’d be able to keep his lands—and regain the impressive Dinefwr Castle, the traditional seat of the princes of Deheubarth. 

In the aftermath of the 1282-83 conquest, Rhys was rewarded for his loyalty with more land.

“And Dinefwr?” he asked. 

King Edward likely raised an eyebrow. No way was he about to return such an impressive castle to a Welsh princeling. Instead, he forced Rhys to sign a quitclaim, effectively handing over “his” castle permanently to the English king. Rhys may not have liked this, but he seems to have swallowed his disappointment and instead focussed his attention on fortifying his remaining castle of note, Dryslwyn.

But it must have rankled, losing Dinefwr. Also, Rhys seems to have been under the impression that he’d been promised Dinefwr if he rode with the English against his fellow Welshmen. Whatever the case, in 1287, Rhys rebelled.

He had some initial success, but King Edward’s appointed regent, Edmund of Cornwall (the king himself was in Gascony) acted with speed, assembling a huge host that marched into Wales. By October, the rebellion had effectively been stamped out until all that was left was a core of determined men besieged at Dryslwyn. This was when King Edward’s interest in siege machines came in handy: soon enough several huge trebuchets began bombarding Dryslwyn’s walls with projectiles. In all that upheaval, Rhys managed to slip away. 

For some weeks, things were quiet and then up popped Rhys, urging his fellow Welshmen to join his rebellion. A new, much smaller force was assembled to sort things out—one in which I’ve included Robert FitzStephan and his friend, Roger Mortimer. Rhys took refuge in yet another castle, this time the triangular-shaped Newydd Emlyn.

The English packed together their siege weapons, loaded them onto carts, requisitioned forty oxen and hauled them all the way up to Newydd Emlyn. Ten days of siege and the English won—but the elusive Rhys had managed to slip away. Again.

For the coming four years, he somehow managed to stay hidden. Some people think he may have escaped to Ireland, but if he had, one wonders why he came back only to be captured. In 1291, Rhys ap Maredudd was executed in York, far from the land of his birth. His son and namesake was to spend the coming fifty years in prison. 

Rhys was not the last Welshman to rebel against Edward. Some years later, the fires of rebellion would yet again threaten Edward’s iron hold on this his newest dominion—but of that I will write in the next book in the series! 

Anna Belfrage

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About the author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history, romance and writing. Anna always writes about love and has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.  More recently, she has published Her Castilian Heart, the third in her medieval Castilian series set against the conquest of Wales. She has also written a new time travel romance, The Whirlpools of Time. Find out more about Anna, her books and her eclectic historical blog on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @abelfrageauthor

26 September 2022

Alas my lady, The Language of Courtly Love.

I wake early, in the first soft light of dawn, with a wonderful idea fully formed in my mind. Nothing can compare with the rare thrill, this frisson of creative inspiration. There is a special alchemy in making something of great value from nothing but the words in my head. I call out to my ever-present, invisible attendants.
   ‘Bring me quill and parchment!’
   They wait at my door night and day, some to guard me, others seeking favours, but the most important know my needs, and how to satisfy them, without question. My wife has her chattering ladies, yet I value my gentlemen of the chamber more than she knows. They guard my secrets with their lives.
   Pulling on a cape of thick, velvet-lined fur over my nightshirt to ward off the chill dawn air, I slide my feet into silk slippers and hum to myself as I rehearse the words in my head. These words could change my life. I sense they might hold the answer to the problem that keeps me awake at night, and torments my dreams.
   My father’s dying gift had been a question. ‘You know your duty?’ His voice was rasping, like the call of a rave, his words sounding harsher than he no doubt intended.
   ‘To ensure the succession.’ The words tripped from my tongue so easily, yet now haunted me. I forgave my father’s tone, yet only now do I understand. The old man was dying of the quinsy, a miserable end. Even with his great fortune, he could not find a cure. I’d known my father would not last long if the simple act of swallowing caused such agony.
   He’d done his duty. An heir and a spare, that’s what they said, his self-serving acolytes. In truth, it was a relief when he died. When my older brother was taken by the sweating sickness, my father changed. His heart hardened and the sparkle vanished from his eyes. Then my mother, the love of his life, followed her son eleven months later, and my father lost his faith in our merciful God.
   I think of my father more often as I grow older, and begin to value his qualities, perhaps even miss his suffocating attention. What would he have said if I’d told him I loved him? Would he have said he loved me, as he’d loved my brother, or scowled at my weakness, and blamed my poor mother for making me soft.
   His plan was for me to enter the church. I smile at the thought. Sometimes I daydream about the life I could have had, so free of care, responsible only for men’s mortal souls. I would have been the greatest archbishop in Christendom, eclipsing the bishop of Rome, yet the prize was stolen from me by my brother’s sudden passing.
   My servant returns and sets out fresh parchment, a silver inkpot and a fine new goose feather quill. I test the sharpness of the nib against the flesh of my palm, an old habit, taught by my writing tutor, although I know it will be perfect, as it always is.
   Dismissing the man with a wave of my hand, I sit at my gilded desk and begin to write in French, the language of courtly love.

   Alas my lady, whom I do so love

   A good start. Direct, yet raising a question in the good lady’s mind. Alas? A magical word, with the power to conjure much speculation. I sit back and read the words aloud, savouring them. Then I read the line again, more slowly this time, pleased to hear the beginnings of a simple melody in their rhythm. Now the great idea must follow, before it eludes me like the slippery elvers I hunted as a child.

   Suffer me to be your humble servant

   Humility. I recall the cautionary words of St Peter. ‘Clothe yourselves with humility, because God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’ This will surprise her, perhaps even raise a smile. She well knows I’d never been anyone’s servant, although I’ve suffered at the hands of many over the years. What more can I offer, as my gift, than servitude?
   I need to develop and reinforce this theme, so what better than with commitment? I know what they say, the gossipers of court. They dare to laugh behind my back, believing they do so with impunity, but I know. I have ways of knowing what is said, when they think I cannot hear. They see my short-lived dalliances and misunderstand. They dare to say I don’t know the value of commitment. I mutter a curse at the gossipers as I dip my quill in the silver inkpot and write, my brow furrowed with concentration.

   Your humble servant I shall always be

   The next line flows effortlessly from my subconscious mind, like the mysterious quicksilver used by my physicians, and I sit back in my chair, startled at the truth it reveals.

   And while I live, I'll love none else but you.

   Now the time has come for my lady’s response. I wish she was at my side, sharing this precious moment with her shy smile. I picture her in a silken nightdress, revealing more than some might think proper. Forcing the sultry image from my thoughts, I instead imagine her most perfect reply to my verse.

Alas, fair sir, you are good and kind

   Alas again. Does it convey concern, or pity, for my hopeless infatuation? If pity, the lady redeems herself by recognising my best qualities. My stern grandmother took it upon herself to make me good and kind. She’d died two months after my coronation, and I miss her wisdom, yet recall her advice.
   She lies now in the abbey of Westminster, her hands in perpetual prayer. When I visited last, a shaft of sunlight, filtered by the stained glass, lit up her gilded face with a delicate, rosy pink, as if she was restored to life. Memories of my devout grandmother inspire my words, so fast I write the next two lines.

  Wise and courteous and from a noble house,
  And as good as one could find

   My grandmother was so proud to be a Beaufort, the most noble of houses, in the line of the royal House of Lancaster. My father claimed we had true royal blood, as good as one could find, yet the royal blood flowing in my veins if from my mother, her blood of kings, of the royal House of York. A wave of sadness threatens as I remember my mother, who never failed to show me her love.

   But I can't forget the one I love.

   Melancholy distracts me from my task. I must recall my waking mood, and the unexpected joy I’d felt at the thought of being able to express the love that burns in my soul, like the red-hot embers of a smithy’s forge.
   ‘Bring me wine, and comfits!’
   I hear their footsteps on polished floors as they rush to do my bidding, and return with a silver tray. I watch in silence as my goblet is filled, then sip the rich red wine and feel its warmth restore my spirits. The dish of sugared comfits tempts me, but I must write more before these words escape my mind.

   Alas my lady, think upon your case:
   Between us two, no need for advocate.
   Certainly not, and you know it well.
   Be gone, for you are doing nothing.

   I smile, pleased at my ingenuity. She is vain, and will know the meaning, yet dare I threaten to dismiss her as punishment for inaction? I can and will, for she plays the game of courtly love so well, a quarry worthy of a king.
   Now a touch of honesty. They say confession is good for the soul. I know not how to win her heart, yet by admitting as much, might surprise her with my honesty. I take another drink of wine, savouring the fruity aftertaste as words form in my head.

   My heart sighs and tenderly complains,
   When it cannot find relief
   I know not how it wants me to woo

   Pleased with the result, I reward myself with a sugared comfit from the silver dish. My weakness is that once I start, I cannot stop until they are all gone, yet I deserve this small indulgence. She knows my other weakness well enough, and now I might use it to seal my words, as surely as I press my royal signet into hot red sealing wax.

   If it is so, I'll go wooing elsewhere.

   Too harsh a threat? Maybe, yet she knows this is a game, and I grow impatient for my reward. Now, how to conclude? At last, the reason for alas – and her answer, offering the hope I crave for more than any dish of sugared comfits.

   Alas my lady, and shall I not?
   Certainly, fair sir, I have not said so.

   There, it is done, and as I read my words aloud, I find I’m singing them. I have written not an ode but a song, which I shall sing to her in my fine tenor voice when next we meet.

   Behave rightly and you will be rewarded.
   Alas my lady, from my whole heart, thank you.

Tony Riches

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Author’s note

I’ve spent over ten years writing about the men and women of the Tudor court, but this is the first time I have attempted to write Henry VIII in the first person. Helas Madame is one of Henry’s most revealing compositions, and inspired me to think about how my view of his character has changed over the years. His father, Henry VII, seems to have made little secret that Henry was never his first choice as heir to the throne, so he must have felt a powerful need for vindication. Originally written in ancient French, I’ve used the translation, which still carries the significance of Henry’s passion. The games of courtly love dominated life at the Tudor court throughout his life, yet I believe such games became a substitute for the true love he found so elusive. 

21 September 2022

Special Guest Interview with K.M. Butler, Author of The Welsh Dragon: A novel of Henry Tudor

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

England, AD 1471. Henry Tudor's drop of royal blood had never mattered, considering the scores of noblemen with stronger claims to the throne. But when Edward IV becomes king during the Wars of the Roses, that drop threatens Henry's life and forces him into exile.

I'm pleased to welcome author K.M. Butler to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

The Welsh Dragon follows Henry Tudor during his 14-year exile prior to winning the English crown at Bosworth. Not only were his political enemies working tirelessly to retrieve and execute him—they nearly succeeded more than once—but he was also a young man struggling to establish an identity. He had to grow up in an unfamiliar court as a prisoner-guest without his birthright, his family, or his home. This was an uncertain time for Henry, but it shaped him into the man who could end the Wars of the Roses—for both good and ill.

What is your preferred writing routine?

All of my novels begin with some curious point in history. For The Welsh Dragon, it was a question: what would enduring an exile at such a young age do to a person? From there, I extensively research, then outline. My scene guide was 23-pages, single-spaced! In it, I detail not only plot points, but character development and implications for future scenes. Once I start writing, I aim for finishing just one scene a week. At that pace, I have time to percolate on what’s going to happen next so my writing time is spent doing, rather than redoing.

What advice do you have for new writers?

Share your work with other writers and beta-readers. The key is to approach feedback from the perspective that your reader is right. Their criticism is legitimate and deserves serious consideration. I’ve been writing for 20 years, but I only began to improve after aggressively sharing my work with others and applying their feedback.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

I don’t think anyone has gotten it quite right. I’ve found that participating on blogs and podcasts helps, as does sharing copies for ARC reviews. Folks like to know what they’re in for, and word-of-mouth is a powerful tool.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

While fiction is filled with daring ventures and thrilling escapes, you never really expect them to have actually happened. However, Henry Tudor really did have some exciting moments. To avoid being repatriated by Edward IV, he really did break away from his captors and flee into St. Malo, and the priest did lead the citizens in a defense. When he finally escaped to France, his pursuers were about an hour behind him. On a journey that would have lasted several days, that’s incredibly close. Those are the kinds of details a writer loves! The scenes basically write themselves!

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Emotional turning points take a lot of time to get right. I really struggled with the scene when Henry returns from attempting to join Buckingham’s revolt in 1483. It called for anguish, since his dreams came crashing down. Getting the reactions of all the characters just right took a lot of percolating and re-writing.

What are you planning to write next?

Next, I’ll be publishing a novel set in Medieval Venice about vendettas, family discord, and conspiracy. I’m also revising a novel set during the Spanish Reconquista about a Mozarab thief and a Muslim qiyan who journey into El Cid’s Valencia to steal a precious book. But next to be written is a biographical novel exploring the motivations of Gaius Cassius Longinus, the man who engineered Caesar’s assassination. History has been pretty brutal to him, but his is a story about a man fighting against the ruin of everything his people ever believed in. There’s a tension there worth exploring.

K.M. Butler

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About the Author

K.M. Butler studied literature at Carnegie Mellon University and has always had an avid interest in history. His writing influences are The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters. His wife is his first and harshest editor, while his daughters always want his stories to feature more blood and talking animals, but never at the same time. Find out more at his website and find him on Twitter @kmbutlerauthor

14 September 2022

Historical Fiction Spotlight ~ The Muse of Freedom, by Jules Larimore

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

First in the series from The Cévenoles Sagas is

A French Huguenot apothecary’s legacy of secrets, a mystic healer’s inspiration, a fateful decision.

In the mysterious Cévennes mountains of Languedoc, France, 1695, Jehan BonDurant, a young nobleman forcibly held in a Dominican prieuré as a child, comes of age only to inherit a near-derelict estate and his Huguenot family’s dangerous legacy of secrets. While he cherishes his newfound freedom apprenticing as an apothecary, his outrage mounts over religious persecutions led by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville, who is sent to enforce the King’s will for “One King, One Law, One Faith”. 

The ensuing divisions among families and friends and the gradual revelation of his own circumstances lead Jehan to question his spiritual choices. A journey deep into the heart of the Cévennes in search of guidance, unfolds in a way he least expects when he enters the enchanting Gorges du Tarn. There he discovers his muse, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who reveals ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.

Together they quest for peace and spiritual freedom by aiding the persecuted until the Intendant’s spy reports their activities and the King’s dragoons are sent out after them. To retain their freedom, they must choose to live in hiding in a remote wilderness, join a festering uprising against the persecutions, or flee their cherished homeland with thousands of other refugees in search of hope.

Inspired by the true story of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac, distilled and blended with Cévenole magic lore, this is an inspiring coming of age story and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love in a country rife with divisions under the control of an authoritarian king obsessed with power. 

Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, and The Huguenot Chronicles will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.

“Brilliantly told, a story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page . . . fresh and compelling, as relevant now as it was then.” ~ Janet Wertman, award-winning author of The Seymour Saga trilogy

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About the Author

Jules Larimore writes emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction to inspire positive change for the oppressed and refugees, and to encourage an intimate relationship with the natural environment. Influenced by a background in freelance travel writing, Jules uses captivating historical settings as characters. Then distills and blends them with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories. A previous career in marketing offered an outlet for creative writing used to romance brands with mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. With a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University, Jules has studied medieval history, ancient Greek culture, anthropology, folklore, narrative composition, and architectural design, and has trained under writing geniuses Libbie Hawker/Olivia Hawker and Roz Morris. While investigating the ancestor who inspired The Muse of Freedom, Jules researched late 17th century Languedoc customs, politics, and spiritual traditions specific to the little known Cévennes mountains of south-central France, culminating in a rich repository to feed future novels about the Cévenol people and culture. Jules lives primarily in Ojai, California, with time spent around the U.S. and in various countries in Europe gathering more treasures in a continued search for authenticity. Find out more at and follow Jules on Facebook and Twitter @jules_larimore

10 September 2022

Historical Fiction Spotlight: Her Castilian Heart (The Castilian Saga Book 3) by Anna Belfrage

Available for pre-order from

Blood is not always thicker than water…

At times a common bloodline is something of a curse—or so Robert FitzStephan discovers when he realises his half-brother, Eustace de Lamont, wants to kill him.

A murderous and greedy brother isn’t Robert’s only challenge. He and his wife, Noor, also have to handle their infected relationship with a mightily displeased Queen Eleanor—all because of their mysterious little foundling whom they refuse to abandon or allow the queen to lock away.

Eustace is persistent. When Robert’s life hangs in the balance, it falls to Noor to do whatever it takes to rip them free from the toothy jaws of fate. Noor may be a woman, but weak she is not, and in her chest beats a heart as brave and ferocious as that of a lioness. But will her courage be enough to see them safe?

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About the author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.  Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards Find out more about Anna, her books and her eclectic historical blog on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @abelfrageauthor

1 September 2022

New in UK Paperback: The Tudors in Love: The Courtly Code Behind the Last Medieval Dynasty, by Sarah Gristwood

Available from Amazon UK 
and in eBook and hardback from Amazon US

A BBC History Magazine Book of the Year

Why did Henry VIII marry six times? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die? Why did Elizabeth I’s courtiers hail her as a goddess come to earth?

The dramas of courtly love have captivated centuries of readers and dreamers. Yet too often they’re dismissed as something existing only in books and song - those old legends of King Arthur and chivalric fantasy.

Not so. In this groundbreaking history, Sarah Gristwood reveals the way courtly love made and marred the Tudor dynasty. From Henry VIII declaring himself as the ‘loyal and most assured servant’ of Anne Boleyn to Elizabeth I’s poems to her suitors, the Tudors re-enacted the roles of the devoted lovers and capricious mistresses first laid out in the romances of medieval literature. 

The Tudors in Love dissects the codes of love, desire and power, unveiling romantic obsessions that have shaped the history of this nation. In the #MeToo era, re-examining the history of the social codes behind modern romance has never been more vital.

‘One of the most important books to be written about the Tudors in a generation.’ Tracy Borman

‘A riveting, pacy page-turner… the Tudors as you’ve never seen them before.’ Alison Weir

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About the Author

Sarah Gristwood  is a best-selling Tudor biographer, former film journalist, and commentator on royal affairs. After leaving Oxford, Sarah began work as a journalist, writing at first about the theatre as well as general features on everything from gun control to Giorgio Armani. But increasingly she found herself specialising in film interviews – Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro; Martin Scorsese and Paul McCartney. She has appeared in most of the UK’s leading newspapers – The Times, the Guardian, The Telegraph (Daily and Sunday) – and magazines from Cosmopolitan to Country Living and Sight and Sound to The New Statesman. Turning to history she wrote two bestselling Tudor biographies, Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester. Sarah was one of the team providing Radio 4’s live coverage of the royal wedding; and has since spoken on the Queen’s Jubilee, the royal baby, and other royal stories for Sky News, Woman’s Hour, Radio 5 Live, and CBC. Shortlisted for both the Marsh Biography Award and the Ben Pimlott Prize for Political Writing, she is a Fellow of the RSA, and an Honororary Patron of Historic Royal Palaces. She and her husband, the film critic Derek Malcolm, live in London and Kent. Find out more at Sarah's website and find her on Twitter @sarahgristwood