Review: Pirates - Truth and Tales - by Helen Hollick

Let me start this review with a confession. I've not ever been a huge fan of pirates. I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean film ...

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Review: Pirates - Truth and Tales - by Helen Hollick

Let me start this review with a confession. I've not ever been a huge fan of pirates. I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean film and couldn't even follow the plot. So I wasn't sure how I'd react to this book. 

I needn't have worried. For a start, the book sets the reader very straight about the difference between what we think we know about pirates, and the historical truth.

Ms Hollick has written a series of novels about pirates, or, more correctly, about a particular pirate: Jesemiah Acorne. No one could, or should, write historical novels without doing thorough research, and it's clear that the author has done her homework.



This book gives a detailed, informative and interesting history of piracy. Sometimes of piracy in general, and sometimes giving short biographies of some of the more famous names - Calico Jack, Mary Read, Anne Bonny - and some less well-knowns - Jan Baert, William Fly.

But this book is not just a good, solid, well-researched book about the history of pirates. It is also a book which you can dip in and out of, including as it does excerpts from novels, recipes - for Damson Rum, yum! - sea shanties, a glossary of pirate 'speak', of terminology, and lists of pirates' ships and their colours.

Packed full of interesting information, the book gives the reader plenty of  'Well, I didn't know that!' moments. I rather regret that I was on my own when I was reading it, because there were many times when I wanted to say to someone, 'Did you know the origin of the phrase...' 

There were many times when I also chuckled aloud. Not just at the information, but at the light delivery. Ms Hollick is such an enthusiastic writer, and the book's tone is warm, friendly, but never less than informative.

Every aspect of this life is explored - the depiction of pirates in film, television and novels, what 'gaol' meant, the difference between sailors and tars, how they navigated across the seas. We even learn why pirates all seem to be portrayed as speaking in the traditional 'arrr' way. It's all fascinating stuff.

Ms Hollick has pulled off a difficult feat, giving us solid history and an accessible and highly entertaining read. So, although I began thinking I wasn't a fan of pirates, I can't recommend this book highly enough. It even gives a history of rum. Cheers!





Helen recently took off on a voyage of her own, not across the high seas, but across the blogosphere. She weighed anchor on this blog on August 3rd, where she talked about the Vikings. You can read that post HERE where you'll also find links to all the other ports of call on her voyage.

And you can buy Pirates, and all of Helen's novels at http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

4 Questions, 3 Pictures, 2 Links: Loretta Livingstone

Continuing our monthly series, where I ask authors four questions and ask them to supply three pics and two links, this month it's the turn of Loretta Livingstone:

Hi, who are you?
My name is Loretta Livingstone. I'm a British author living in the beautiful Chiltern Hills with my husband and cat.




What do you write about?
I now write fiction set in the twelfth century with a dash of time travel. I used to write more contemporary stuff - but that's another story.

Which character will we love to love, and why?
I hope you'll love my medieval abbess, Hildegarde of Sparnstow. A time traveller herself, she has appeared in my first two books (Out of Time and A Promise to Keep) and will be in several more. She's been living in the twelfth century for over thirty years now and missed drinking tea dreadfully until she found a secret supplier, although you won't hear about that in my next book. She's in her fifties with a great understanding of the human heart, an unusual sense of humour (for a medieval nun) and nothing much phases her - except when the occasional relative from her own time manages to show up (A Promise to Keep).



Which character will we love to hate, and why?
Oh, I'm sure you'll love to hate Prince John. He just can't help himself - although he does like to help himself - to lands and ladies given half a chance. 



Thanks so much for talking us today Loretta!

Here are Loretta's two links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Loretta-Livingstone
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lorettasuthorsblog/

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Vikings: Raiders or Pirates?

I'm delighted to host author Helen Hollick as she embarks on a voyage across the blogosphere.


Helen has written a series of nautical Voyages based around her fictional pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his ship, Sea Witch, but her latest UK release in paperback is a non-fiction book – Pirates: Truth and Tales published by Amberley Press, which explores our fascination with the real pirates and those who are favourites in fiction. Today, Helen drops anchor for another interesting addition to her on-line two-week Voyage around the Blogs with a pirate or two for company…




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Raiders? Pirates? Sea Wolves? For the people concerned at the time, I doubt they particularly cared what these terrifying men from the sea were called! To the Anglo-Saxons they were ‘the Danes.’ For the Franks, ‘Northmen’; to the Irish, just ‘foreigners.’ The Slavs knew them as ‘Rus,’ from which we get ‘Russian,’ and the Spanish kept it simple: they were ‘The Heathens.’ Between themselves the ‘Vikings’ were named for the area they came from. What they were not called by their contemporaries was ‘Vikings.’ That term came to be used somewhat later in history.

The word ‘i-viking’ means something like ‘to go raiding’, and basically that is what these skilled seamen from the Scandinavian countries were, expert seamen and part-time raiders. Unlike the Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow type Pirates of the Caribbean of the early 1700s, the Vikings did not roam the seas in deliberate search of merchant ships, or heavily-laden Spanish treasure ships to prey upon. Nor were the Vikings like the eighteenth century pirates who were deserters and ne-er-do-wells. The Vikings were skilled warriors and even more skilled sailors, with a superb knowledge of seamanship and navigation. They came from Norway, Sweden and Denmark and were a massive nuisance for England for three centuries from about the mid-700s. (They were known and feared in many other countries as well, but I’m sticking to England for this article.) They were finally ‘tamed’ (as far as England was concerned) because of the Norman Conquest by Duke William of Normandy when he won at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Incidentally, ‘Norman’ derives from 'North Man’, the Normans were, in fact, descendants of Viking raiders.



In 1002, King Æthelred II (the Unready) took Emma, the daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy, as his wife. His intention was to seal a treaty to ensure that Normandy would cease allowing Vikings to overwinter along the Normandy coast from where they preyed on England. The idea did not work. Æthelred ended up paying the Danes more and more money to ‘go away’ and eventually one Danish King, Cnut, ended up as King of England… married to Æthelred’s widow. Her son by Æthelred, in turn, became King of England in 1052. His name was Edward – later known as the Confessor. 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle makes much of one of the first (recorded) raids on the English coast by Vikings when it mentions: “…on the ides of June the harrying heathen destroyed God’s church on Lindisfarne by rapine and slaughter.” This was in 793, with Lindisfarne one of the holiest places outside of Rome. The attack was witnessed by a monk, Simon of Durham, “… laid everything waste with grievous plundering, trampled the holy places with polluted feet, dug up the altars and seized all the treasures of the holy church. They killed some of the brothers; some they took away with them in fetters; many they drove out, naked and loaded with insults; and some they drowned in the sea.”

Whether using the term ‘raiding’ or ‘piracy’, the Vikings never intentionally aimed at desecrating the Christian God. Religion had nothing to do with it: a stockpile of gold and riches, virtually undefended, was the sole lure.

In 795, Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland, was raided, then again in 802 and 806, the latter of which saw sixty-eight monks and laymen slaughtered. Ireland, Wales and the other islands of Scotland were also frequently raided. One of the Norse raiders who plundered the Hebrides was Svein Asleifarson. After his raiding on the islands, he sailed to Dublin, capturing two merchant ships en-route and relieving them of their cargo – fine quality broadcloth. Ah, now that was piracy!

Those early raids soon expanded into actual settlement when the Norse started to establish suitable bases for overwintering; places like York, Dublin, Normandy and Novgorod. Their ships – the Longships – were well-built powerful craft with a low, sleek appearance that could glide through the sea or along shallow rivers. They could be easily beached and were light enough to be carried over land if necessary. A rudder was on the steerboard side (which later became ‘starboard’) and had a single mast and sail. No wind? The crew rowed. 

To the astonishment of some experimental archaeologists who had re-crated a full-size longship, during trials they discovered that these ships were capable of being very fast, in fact the accompanying in-shore motor-powered lifeboat had to radio them to slow down – they couldn’t keep up! It was also discovered that in the right conditions and if enough speed was reached the longboat would aquaplane for several yards: row, row, row… skim… row, row, row…skim… 
I think the word formidable fits in here rather nicely!

But were the Vikings opportunists raiders, or were they ruffian pirates? I’ll leave you to decide.

© Helen Hollick

Pirates: Truth And Tales published in paperback in the UK July 2018 and November 2018 in the US – but available for pre-order.

Buy the Books: Amazon Author Page (Universal Link) 
http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick

Sign up for Helen’s Newsletter and be entered for an annual prize draw. 
One name ‘picked from the hat’ in December will win a £10/$10 Amazon gift voucher.
Subscribe here: http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick

LINKS:
Website: www.helenhollick.net
Main Blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor 
Twitter: @HelenHollick
Discovering Diamonds: https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.co.uk/

Follow Helen’s Tour:
These links will take you to the Home Page of each blog host – Helen says thank you for their interest and enthusiasm! For exact URL links to each article go to Helen’s website:  www.helenhollick.net  which will be updated every day of the tour.




30th July: Cryssa Bazos Dropping Anchor to Talk About Pirates
31st July: Anna Belfrage  Ships That Pass…
1st August: Carolyn Hughes Pirates of the Middle Ages
2nd August: Alison Morton From Pirate to Emperor
3rd August: Annie Whitehead The Vikings: Raiders or Pirates?
4th August: Tony Riches An Interview With Helen Hollick (and maybe a couple of pirates thrown in for good measure?)
5th August: Lucienne Boyce Anne and Mary. Pirates.
6th August: Laura Pilli Why Pirates?
7th August: Mary Tod That Essential Element… For A Pirate. 
8th August: Pauline Barclay Writing Non-Fiction. How Hard Can It Be?    
9th August: Nicola Smith Pirates: The Tales Mixed With The Truth
10th August: Christoph Fischer In The Shadow Of The Gallows
11th August: Debdatta What Is It About Pirates?
12th August: Discovering Diamonds It’s Been An Interesting Voyage…
13th August: Sarah Greenwood Amberley Books blog Pirates: The Truth and the Tales 
14th August: Antoine Vanner The Man Who Knew About Pirates


ABOUT HELEN:


Helen moved from London in 2013 and now lives with her family in North Devon, in an eighteenth century farmhouse. First published in 1994, her passion now is her pirate character, Captain Jesamiah Acorne of the nautical adventure series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (UK title A Hollow Crown) the story of Saxon Queen, Emma of Normandy. Her novel Harold the King (US title I Am The Chosen King) explores the events that led to the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, set in the fifth century, is widely praised as a more down-to-earth historical version of the Arthurian legend. She has written three non-fiction books, Pirates: Truth and Tales, Smugglers in Fact and Fiction (to be published 2019) and as a supporter of indie writers, co-wrote Discovering the Diamond with her editor, Jo Field, a short advice guide for new writers. She runs the Discovering Diamonds review blog for historical fiction assisted by a team of enthusiastic reviewers.  
Helen is published in various languages. 

Saturday, 28 July 2018

12 Things You Didn't Know about John Knox

This month's guest post is by author Marie MacPherson. Over to you, Marie...

John Knox, the controversial Scottish Reformer, is often portrayed as a cartoon Calvinist who hated women and trumpeted fire and brimstone from the pulpit. However, the notorious Scottish Reformer was a complex character whose life reads more like an adventure thriller than a history. And, love him or loathe him, you cannot deny the impact he has had on Scottish history, culture and psyche. Despite that – or because of that – most people know very little about him. In this article I share some of the surprising things I’ve discovered in my research on Knox for my fictional biography.


Image Attribution
1. Roman Catholic Priest – After studying logic, rhetoric and canon law at St Andrews University Knox was ordained a priest in 1536. With not enough parishes for all the priests, he became a Notary Apostolic, a country lawyer.

2. Bodyguard – In the 1540s he fell under the spell of George Wishart, the charismatic Protestant preacher who ‘pulled him from the puddle of papistry’. He dropped everything to follow his master, taking up a two-handed sword to defend him from persecution by Cardinal David Beaton. When Wishart was arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake, Knox went into hiding.


Knox defending Wishart with a sword
3. Galley Slave – After a year in hiding, Knox was called to St Andrews to preach to the Castilians under siege in the castle for assassinating Cardinal Beaton. Knox was arrested and sentenced to toil in the galleys for 19 months – a fate worse than death. He was not expected to survive but the ailments he contracted vexed him for the rest of his life.

4. Church of England Chaplain – Freed from the galleys, Knox became a preacher in the north of England before being called to London as chaplain to Edward VI. He refused promotion in the English church, turning down the vicarage of All Hallows, London, and the bishopric of Rochester.  

5. Political Exile – When Catholic Mary Tudor ascended the throne, Knox fled persecution to Geneva where he became even more Calvinist than Calvin. The Swiss reformer considered his polemical tract The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women too inflammatory with its call to depose ungodly female monarchs. 


Image Attribution Link
6. Babe Magnet – The First Blast, denouncing female rule for being contrary to natural and divine law, has forever labelled Knox a rampant misogynist, even though he only voiced what most men of his time believed – that women were inferior creatures and not suited to wielding power – only much more vociferously. In fact, he loved women’s company – as his tender letters to his mother-in-law and correspondent, Anna Locke reveal – and women were drawn to him. Like Billy Graham, he must have had some charisma! 

7. Author and Translator – As well as his History of the Reformation in Scotland and polemical pamphlets, Knox worked briefly with Miles Coverdale on the English translation of the Geneva Bible.

8. Agent Provocateur – With a network of spies that William Cecil, the English spymaster would envy, Knox was often the first in Scotland to find out about important events such as the death of Francis II, Mary Queen of Scots’ first husband, and David Riccio’s murder. However, he was more provocative than secret as an agent. 

9. Husband and Father – Knox was married twice – both times to teenagers. His first wife, Marjory Bowes, who bore him two sons, died at the tragically young age of 25. At the age of fifty, he married 17-year-old Margaret Stewart, a distant relative of Mary Queen of Scots who was furious when she found out about her new in-law. Meg bore him three daughters. 


Image Attribution
10. Marriage Guidance Counsellor – while Knox often clashed with Queen Mary on religious matters – on a more personal level, they joined forces to try and reconcile the queen’s half-sister with her errant husband. But did they have an affair – as one questioner asked at one of my talks. The jury is still out.


11. Social Reformer – Knox co-authored The First Book of Discipline, a manifesto for the Reformed Scottish church, which proposed a school in every parish, a network of ministers and a system of poor relief. He assumed the Kirk would take over the Roman Catholic Church’s revenues, but he did not factor in the greed of the power-hungry lords. Thomas Randolph, the English envoy, considered his democratic vision to be centuries ahead of its time.

12. Parking Lot Burial – At the age of 59, Knox died in his bed surrounded by his family – and not atop a burning pyre as he always feared. He was buried in St Giles’ cemetery, his grave marked by Parking Lot No 23 in the High Street. 


Marie MacPherson 2018

Thank you so much for this insightful post, Marie. You can find out more about Marie's books here at Penmore Press

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Talking at Tamworth - What I Learned...

Many months ago I was contacted, via Twitter, with a view to giving a talk about Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians.

The occasion? The Tamworth Literary Festival, part of the ongoing celebrations of her life in this, the 1100th anniversary of her death, in Tamworth.



With months to go, I didn't panic. Besides, I had my history of Mercia to finish. I would meet the deadline for the book, and then work on my talk.

The brief: to talk about what we know of her life, and then explain how I gave her a voice in my novel.

Well, I finished the book, sent it off with a week to spare, and then between proofreading and indexing, I got to work on my talk. It helped that my new book contains a chapter on Æthelflæd and her husband, so it was all fresh in my mind.

I wrote it out. Everything I wanted to include in my twenty-minute talk. It came to more like 35 minutes. Yikes! 

Now came the difficult task of deciding what I could jettison, and what I couldn't bear to let go. Numerous revisions ensued, until I had something much more manageable. The next task was to learn it. Or at least, learn enough so that I wouldn't be reading every word.

I decided that cue cards were not for me. Instead, I used a large font (16 point) and used a mixture of full sentences and short notes. I practised reading it aloud, refined it, practised again, and kept this process going. But maybe I peaked too early, because with less than a week to go, I found myself thinking of things that needed to go in. By this stage, timing was so tight that for every new thought which went in, something had to be chopped out.

But, I'd got to the point where all I had to do was glance down occasionally at the notes, and I knew the layout well enough that I could look straight at the relevant part of the page. I was 'good to go'.

The journey was horrendous and it was a good choice to travel the day before the event. It was also a boon to have my husband with me, because it made life easier carrying overnight bags and boxes of books from the car park to the venue.

On the day, I suffered from terrible nerves, waiting for everything to start happening. But once the organisers arrived at the venue, I relaxed a little and it helped that I was then busy. Sara, who was chairing the event, suggested that we set up the book-signing tables near the door, and she'd brought a pretty tablecloth to drape over the tables. She also pointed out something which had not occurred to me, as a 'newbie' - that a sign showing your book prices is an absolute must. Good tip! It hadn't occurred to me that people might already be 'browsing' while we were busy setting up at the other end of the room, and therefore couldn't ask me the prices.

I'd remembered just in time to take a float, so I was able give change.





Posters, which I blu-tacked to the wall behind us, worked well. But others had posters in acrylic stands, which looked great on the table and it's something I'd do in future. I had a collection of promotional postcards, and business cards, plus fliers for the new book and these proved popular.

And then came the talk. Three of us were involved, but I was up first. I was still nervous, and my mouth was dry, despite the gallons of water I'd drunk. But once I got going, I was absolutely fine, although all my resolutions to break for a sip of water went out the window. I was on a roll, and I was going to keep going!



Once it was all over, I was much more relaxed. It had been very well-received and lots of people bought books and chatted at length about my writing and the history. My husband grabbed some sandwiches from the buffet for me, but pointed out that I had better wait before eating them - that way there was no chance of my signing the books with greasy hands. Another good tip!



I sold around 75% of the books I'd taken with me. I was pleased with that, because I'd no idea initially how many to take. And it seems to me that it's better I had a few left over, than that I ran out.

Now that it's all over, would I do it again? Yes, definitely. Would I be as nervous the next time? Well, I'd like to think not, but I know from my days as a professional singer that I do suffer dreadfully with stage-fright. At least now, though, I know a little bit more about what to expect.



Oh, and one last tip: take a pen. It's the one thing that I forgot!



Sunday, 8 July 2018

4 Questions, 3 Pics, 2 Links: Author Jayne Davis

Continuing our monthly series, where I ask authors four questions and ask them to supply three pics and two links, this month it's the turn of Jayne Davis:

Hi, who are you?
I’m a getting-on-a-bit Brit who’s had several careers. I loved reading Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer from my teens, and always wanted to write fiction. There were a few abortive attempts at novels, which thankfully never saw the light of day, and in the meantime I became an engineer, then a teacher, then a publisher (of school text books) and finally a freelance writer (school text books again). Eventually I tried again, summoned up the courage to submit my work for other people to review, and finally knocked it into good shape for publishing.

This is me relaxing – in my garden, with a book and a cup of tea.

When I first started trying to write novels, I used to worry if I’d ever have enough ideas. Now the problem is having too many ideas and having to sift through them, and to concentrate on one at a time!

What do you write about?
I’ve always been a sucker for romances with happy endings, with believable characters and events, so that is what I try to write. I love the Regency era – using the term in its broader sense, from the 1790s until Victoria came to the throne. This era has great scope for story-telling, too, with Britain at war almost continually from 1793 until 1815. There was a lot of skulduggery and spying going on, many army and navy wives and sweethearts having to cope while their loved ones were away, and also the prospect of characters having to deal with injury. The status of women in those times also gives my heroines something to struggle against – there was huge scope for unsympathetic or jealous relatives to cause social or financial harm. Stakes in marriage were high – the wife had no money of her own after marriage, only what her husband gave her, and if they separated (divorce was very difficult and expensive, and so very rare), he had sole rights to the children and could deny her all access. And there were no trains or telephones, especially not mobiles – there are so many more story possibilities when you cannot just press a few buttons and talk to someone miles away.

This is how I imagine Edgecombe, the village in The Mrs MacKinnons. It is actually a painting of Osmington Village, in Dorset, but the rolling scenery is not unlike the valleys on the western edge of the Cotswolds, where my story is set (and where I live). Image by Wiki commons License

Which character will we love to love, and why?
The answer to this would depend when you asked me—I’m half in love with the hero of whichever book I’m working on. But as I want my readers to love my main characters, it’s probably cheating to say that, so I will put forward Sergeant Webb.

My first novel, The Mrs MacKinnons, concerns Major Matthew Southam, a soldier returning to England after a traumatic experience in India. When I started writing the story, Webb was just a means of getting Matthew out of prison and back to England. Then he sort of elbowed his way into the story, and became a significant secondary character (that’s when I knew I was nutty enough to be an author, when characters start doing things for themselves!). He’s had a traumatic upbringing himself, but has turned out to be a decent man, if a little sharp around the edges – a rough diamond.
The book I’m currently working on (Playing with Fire), has two secondary characters that did something similar – worked their way into my affections and had a bigger part in the story than I initially thought. So much so that there will be a following book that features them (one as the male lead, the other as a main secondary character).

Which character will we love to hate, and why?
In The Mrs MacKinnons, Charles Southam, Matthew’s half-brother by their father’s second wife. He’s jealous that Matthew has inherited their father’s estates and wishes Matthew had died in India. He’s cheated Matthew and even his own full brother, and rather than even thinking of trying to make a living for himself (as most second sons had to), he resorts to devious means to try to get his hands on more money, in spite of having had a very generous allowance for years.

Thank you so much for talking to us today Jayne!
Here are Jayne's two links:


Thursday, 28 June 2018

June Guest Post by Trisha Hughes: End of the Stuart Era

Whether by bad health or bad luck, the Stuart dynasty came to an end with the death of Queen Anne. There would still be Stuart blood pulsing through the veins of coming generations: George I’s great grandfather was James I after all. But it was the Stuart dynasty itself that had failed to continue with Anne’s death.

James VI & I

The Stuart dynasty began with Robert II in 1371 and although we grow up with children’s stories that give us a picture of kings, queens and fairy tale princesses in medieval Scotland, the reality was far from being a fairy tale. Many died ‘mysteriously’ and many died simply trying to protect themselves and their family.

Despite this, the Stuarts endured through the centuries. They survived wars, crusades, bouts of the plague, smallpox, a great fire, murder and ill health. But when looking back over the last four generations of Stuart kings, each one seems to have been precarious. After Elizabeth I’s death, it was Mary Queen of Scots’ son James who would become James I of England in 1603 when he was 36 years old. His weak legs remain unexplained, as do episodes of jaundice, and a shrunken kidney at his post mortem explains the evidence of blood and tiny stones in his urine. From 1616 he was disabled from arthritis, and began showing a dementia six years before he died. The possibility that his thyroid glands were not functioning properly has been a recent speculation.

The story of James I’s children does not make for easy reading. First there was Henry, Prince of Wales who was intellectually remarkable but died of typhoid in 1612 at 18-years-old. Four of James’ children had died before they reached the age of 2 and his granddaughter-in-law, Catherine of Braganza, failed to produce a child despite the many illegitimate children that her husband Charles II was able to father out of wedlock. It would be James’ daughter Elizabeth who would marry the Protestant Prince Elector of Hanover and of her two children, one would die of pleurisy while the only surviving daughter Sophia would live to give birth to the future King George I of England. Perhaps it was fate, not just ill health, that severed the line from future generations, given that the decapitation of Charles I was not truly a surgical procedure.

Charles I & Henrietta Maria

With each generation, it wasn’t just producing an heir that was a problem. It was keeping the heirs alive as well. James I lost 5 children, as did his sons Charles I and James II. And then we know of the miscarriages Catherine suffered and the horrors that Anne endured after losing 17 children during years of her own ill health.

No one can agree why Queen Anne’s health had been so bad for so long. She was, after all, only 49 years old when she died. Sure she was overweight, which everyone knew caused difficulty during births. But lots of overweight women had children. Hughes syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting the blood, has been suggested, even porphyria, which can potentially cause recurrent miscarriages and is also associated with other complications such as premature birth and stillbirth. And don’t forget that James I more than likely suffered from porphyria and passed it on to future generations.

So with Anne, the last of the Stuart dynasty died. Never again would there be a Stuart sitting on the throne of England. The volatile Hanoverians had arrived on English soil and life would be very different from the one that Parliament had imagined. They would find that compared to the Tudors and the Stuarts, the Hanoverians would be something of a hard sell with England. The German kings seemed cold and remote and if you asked anyone to disclose their private opinion, they would have said they were barbarians.

Although Hanoverian Britain was the hub of slave trade and exploration, this era is barely etched in our minds. Of course, there are exceptions. Hollywood has immortalised The Madness of King George but let’s not forget this was also Jane Austen’s era as well as the British Museum, the greatest architect Christopher Wren, Sir Isaac Newton, the cure for smallpox and the foundation of the press. It was an era for poets, painters, geniuses in Science, the arrival of tea and coffee, exotic fruit, fine wines, Indian silks and Chinese porcelain. Still, it is in danger of disappearing beyond our mental horizon even though it lasted longer than either the Tudor or the Stuart age.

It was an age when people experienced everything from passionate repulsion of some monarchs and delighted ardour for others. There were violent wars abroad and riots at home, expanding trade in the Far East and thankfully, the disappearance of the plague In Britain. London virtually glowed with increased capital and the middle class began to enjoy polished living standards.

During the early days of George I’s reign, a Jacobite uprising threatened his throne and although the Hanoverians were very unpopular, England supported their new German king.

George II

If you disregarded the Catholic Stuarts in France, the Hanoverians were all England had left.

Find more about Trisha Hughes on her Amazon Page

Her new book Virgin to Victoria is available now.