TEN… opening lines from favourite books

“It was no accident. A single point of red winked in the distance. It was joined by a second and a third, then the road ahead was a string of red beads. Almost too late, the car slammed to a stop. Gally, who had been lost in thought, looked across at the man she had […]


I will persevere

Here’s a picture of my handmade polymer clay “chibi” Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn; I bought them to sit serenely on my desk, inspiring me as I finish Perseverance, my novella that traces their ‘love story’. I think Chibi Henry and Anne will perhaps get a little impatient with me, as a change in professional circumstances […]

Lanhydrock House

The almost 900 acre Lanhydrock estate originally belonged to an Augustinian priory, but after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s the estate passed into private hands. In 1620 a wealthy Jacobean merchant – Sir Richard Robartes – purchased the land and began to build what would become his family’s seat, the beautiful […]

The haunting of the Headland Hotel

The Headland Hotel opened its doors in June 1900. It had been envisioned and designed to be the finest hotel in South West England, and as its first patrons swept across the natural headland to the imposing red-brick building, they were certainly in agreement – in fact, King Edward VII and his Queen, Alexandra stayed […]

My feelings for this cute tee-shirt will not be repressed

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” – Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice   A break from your regularly scheduled history nerding and literary musings, because I […]

Hidden historical heroines (#35: Sophia Dorothea of Celle)

Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Luneburg (15 September 1666 – 13 November 1726) was Queen of England as the wife of George I, however never set foot in that kingdom as her husband had her imprisoned for over half of her life. Doomed by the tension and mutual hatred of her arranged political marriage, she […]

Hidden historical heroines (#34: Edith Swanneck)

Edith Swannesha (Ealdgȳð Swann hnesce – “Edith [the] Gentle Swan” – c. 1025 – c. 1086) – also known as “Edith Swanneck” or “Edith the Fair” – was the first wife and consort of Harold Godwinson, a famous beauty known for her gentleness and the pleasing paleness of her skin. Edith was Harold’s common-law wife […]

Recap: July 2013

In July I lost my status as a snooty, unfriendly Londoner – at least geographically speaking. I moved house across the country in the blazing, extremely un-English heat and now I am a lady of leisure, trying my best to get as much of Perseverance finished before financial necessity means I have to get a […]