Wednesday, 14 October 2015

CASTLES, CUSTOMS AND KINGS by English Historical Fiction Authors

4.5 out of 5 stars

Short historical articles

On Amazon UK HERE

This is a long book, and worth every penny!  It's a collection of articles about the history of the United Kingdom, in more or less chronological order.

I admit to having not read all of them yet ~ I'd read loads, then had a quick look and discovered I was only at 28%, so after that I dipped in and out, depending on the subject of the article.  There's so much to choose from: tales of conquests, information about the life of the common person of the time (I loved the mediaeval ones), to discussion ~ who was the most evil, Richard III or Henry Tudor?  Some have more information than others, some are of speciality interest and others more general; if you're a history addict like me, it's a must-buy!

As with all anthologies the quality of the articles varied, but every single one was well put together and worthy of inclusion.  I liked those by Rosanne Lortz, Judith Arnopp, Debra Brown, Katherine Ashe and one of my favourite authors, Deborah Swift (click link for my reviews of her books), best, along with a few others; they were the names that sprang immediately to mind. 

I read the first part on a long train journey, and noted down pieces I'd particularly liked: one about Athelstan, another on William Wallace by Rosanne Lortz, the Monarchy series by Debra Brown, Judith Arnopp's William II and Stephen and Matilda, all of Katherine Ashe's (trying to read my scribble here!), and I also loved the foreward, 'Falling in love with England and its history', by Stephanie Cowell.

There was only one aspect on which I was not so keen, which was the plugging of the authors' books in some of the articles.  I think an Amazon link to the relevant book at the end of the article would have been a better idea, less intrusive and possibly more effective.  There is a list of novels by each author at the front, too, for reference.

This is really a terrific book to keep for reference, or just to dip into now and again when you fancy reading something short; I know I will be reading more of it in days to come, and probably looking at my favourite articles over again.  I liked that some of the articles named their sources, too, as this is so useful for anyone who is doing research.


  1. Hi Terry, thank you so much for this thoughtful review. Speaking for all fifty-four authors--I know we all appreciate it.

    1. You're welcome ~ I'll add the names of other articles that I particularly liked as I go; I find that the 'ten most popular' feature on the side means that old reviews keep getting read!