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Book review Book reviews Christmas presents

#Bookreview A CHANCE AT CHRISTMAS by Beppie Harrison (@BeppieHarrison) Recommended short feel-good #Christmasstory set in the Regency period.

Hi all:

I don’t tend to read many books in this genre, but I am translating a historical romance novel and I’ve been reading novels set around the same period, for research, you know, and when I mentioned that to Rosie Amber, she suggested I check NetGalley, and I did. I plan on shearing a few of the novels I’m reading in one post, but as this one was set around Christmas time and it has a lovely cover (and no the usual barechested rake), I thought it was perfect for this time of the year…

A Chance at Christmas by Beppie Harrison
A Chance at Christmas by Beppie Harrison

A Chance at Christmas by Beppie Harrison.

Christmas is coming, and Catherine Woodsleigh and her crippled brother John have no hope of celebration until an invitation to spend Christmas with an old friend and her family arrives. But after the holiday, worse misfortune looms before them. Living on the diminishing number of coins drawn from a jar left by their dead father and mother, a dire future seems inevitable. Will this chance to share a wondrous sparkling Christmas not only provide a glorious holiday but a new turn in their futures and the astonishing possibility of romance?

https://www.amazon.com/Chance-at-Christmas-Beppie-Harrison-ebook/dp/B0763CQY29/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chance-at-Christmas-Beppie-Harrison-ebook/dp/B0763CQY29/

Author Beppie Harrison
Author Beppie Harrison

About the author:

Beppie Harrison lives on Boston’s South Shore close to the ocean in a big white New Englandish house with her husband, a lawyer daughter, and an assortment of dogs and cats. They live a somewhat trans-Atlantic lifestyle. Her husband is an English architect, and they lived in London at the beginning of their marriage, only moving to the States when they had young children. Now the children are grown, they return to old friends and familiar places as frequently as they can. In many ways, England still feels like their second home. For Beppie, the pull from across the Atlantic comes not only from the dales of Yorkshire and the buzz of London, but from Ireland. Did it start with its literature, its green beauty, or its wonderfully garrulous people? However it happened, both England and Ireland draw her now. Her first fiction trilogy, the Heart Trilogy, is placed primarily in Ireland during the Regency period. The Grandest Christmas, a companion novella for the holiday season, is a warm and cozy read for Christmastime. Her upcoming quartet of novels is placed again in Regency times, but, as introduced by the novella The Dowager’s Season, introduces four cousins to the excitement and romance of London’s presentations and balls.

You can check her website here:

http://www.beppieharrison.com/

My review:

Thanks to NetGalley and to Candem Hill Press for providing me an ARC copy of this novella that I freely chose to review.

This is a Regency romance that I decided to read in part as research for a project, and also because it sounded and looked a bit different to many of the books in the genre (no couple on the cover, and, especially, no bare-chested male). Indeed this is a ‘sweet’ or ‘clean’ romance, although as some reviewers have noted, the strongest relationship in the story is that between Catherine, a young orphaned girl whose financial circumstances are extremely precarious at the beginning of the story, and her brother, John, a couple of years her junior, who fell from a horse when he was a child and now suffers from physical disabilities that make a normal life impossible. (He can move about with some difficulty and needs assistance to complete some complex tasks, although he is a fighter and manages better than people think when they meet him). The little money left by her parents has almost gone and she is wondering about the future. Although she is hopeful about getting a position for herself, she cannot see any options that would allow her to carry on looking after her brother. When an invitation to spend Christmas with a wealthy school friend arrives, Catherine starts making all kinds of plans in her head.

The story is short but manages to paint a detail picture of the conditions Catherine and her brother live in, of the arrangements she has to make to try and make do by modifying her mother’s old dresses, and then also about the huge contrast between their lives and that of her friend Katie and her family. (At times it made me think of Dickens but without going to extremes).This allows readers to see things from Catherine’s point of view and to appreciate the huge gap that existed in the society of the time between the haves and the have-nots. (It also reminded me of one of my favourite stories by Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl, which I recommend). We also realise how unforgiving and intolerant the society of the time was of those suffering any type of disabilities, and it is impossible not to cringe at some of the comments the siblings have to endure.

The story shares some characteristics with a fairy-tale (there is something of Cinderella about Catherine, although at least she does not have a cruel stepmother), and also with a morality-tale, where Catherine’s innocence and her devotion to her brother are rewarded in the end.

The Christmas part of the story works well, and we hear about a Christmas log, there is a trip to find mistletoe, carollers come along to the mansion, and we have some wondrous descriptions of foods of the period.

As for the love story… Well, we soon realise Katie’s brother seems interested in Catherine, although she has not been exposed to society and cannot work out if he is flirting, laughing at her, or really interested. There is a misunderstanding that has the most wonderful consequences for all involved (one hopes, anyway), but while we get some sense of who Catherine is and some indication of her brother’s thoughts and feelings, we do not get to know the rest of the characters too well, but the indications are positive.

In sum, this is a short read, full of detail about the contrast between high and low-income lives at the time, set during Christmas, and it does a good job of bringing to life the Christmas spirit. It might not satisfy those looking for a passionate love story although it shows strong sibling relationships and has a likeable and self-sacrificing heroine (think Melanie in Gone with the Wind), and there is no sex or bad language. Recommended if you’re looking for a short feel-good Christmas story set in the Regency period.

Thanks to NetGalley, to the author and the publisher for the book, to Rosie for the suggestion (don’t forget to check her wondrous blog, here and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and keep smiling!

Oh, any suggestions of recent romance novels set in Regency or Victorian period are welcome, especially if they are not too heavy on the sex front and at bargain prices (I cannot afford to spend a lot on them). Many thanks!

Categories
Book reviews bookmarks

#Bookreview FOOLS AND MORTALS: A NOVEL by Bernard Cornwell (@BernardCornwell) (@HarperCollinsUK) A book for lovers of theatre, and Elizabethan historical fiction #amreading

Hi all:
Once more I’m catching up on a very popular author that for unknown reasons I had not read until now. And as I seem to be reading a lot of historical fiction at the moment, it was about time too.
As a theatre lover, I really enjoyed this book.

Fools and Mortals: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell
Fools and Mortals: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell

Fools and Mortals: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell

New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell makes a dramatic departure with this enthralling, action-packed standalone novel that tells the story of the first production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—as related by William Shakespeare’s estranged younger brother.

Lord, what fools these mortals be . . .

In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. As William’s star rises, Richard’s onetime gratitude is souring and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty.

So when a priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing him onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London. Entangled in a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal which threatens not only his career and potential fortune, but also the lives of his fellow players, Richard has to call on all he has now learned from the brightest stages and the darkest alleyways of the city. To avoid the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime . . . .

Showcasing the superb storytelling skill that has won Bernard Cornwell international renown, Fools and Mortals is a richly portrayed tour de force that brings to life a vivid world of intricate stagecraft, fierce competition, and consuming ambition.

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Fools-Mortals-Novel-Bernard-Cornwell/dp/0062250876/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fools-Mortals-Bernard-Cornwell-ebook/dp/B06XGHX1NW/

Editorial Reviews

‘Cornwell not only succeeds in creating an engaging story, but also in celebrating the difficulties and delights, at any time in history, of putting on a show.’ THE SUNDAY TIMES

‘Cornwell leads us effortlessly through palaces and playhouses with the skill of a master storyteller who loves this period of history.’ DAILY EXPRESS

‘With all the vivid history that is his trademark, Bernard Cornwell transports the readers to the playhouses, backstreets and palaces of Shakespeare’s London with added depth and compassion, and a likeable hero.’ Philippa Gregory

‘Story and characters crackle off the page as do the stink and violence of Elizabethan London. The author of the Sharpe and Last Kingdom bestsellers has pulled off a surprise for his readers ― and a terrific one at that.’ Elizabeth Buchan, DAILY MAIL

The Times Saturday Review Book of the Month

‘Cornwell is an enthusiastic amateur dramatist. His portrayal of the actors’ rivalries and superstitions is sharp and often funny. His combination of wit, adventure and deft characterisation is a triumphant departure from his usual territory.’ THE TIMES

Praise for Bernard Cornwell:

‘Like Game of Thrones, but real’ OBSERVER

‘Blood, divided loyalties and thundering battles’ THE TIMES

‘Strong narrative, vigourous action and striking characterisation, Cornwell remains king of the territory he has staked out as his own’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘A violent, absorbing historical saga, deeply researched and thoroughly imagined’ WASHINGTON POST

‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive’ George R.R. Martin

‘Cornwell draws a fascinating picture of England as it might have been before anything like England existed’ THE TIMES

‘He’s called a master storyteller. Really he’s cleverer than that’ TELEGRAPH

‘A reminder of just how good a writer he is’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Nobody in the world does this better than Cornwell’ Lee Child

Author Bernard Cornwell
Author Bernard Cornwell

About the author:

Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 – a ‘warbaby’ – whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government – and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars – and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.

https://www.amazon.com/Bernard-Cornwell/e/B000APAB68/

My review:

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collins UK for providing me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

I had not read any of Bernard Cornwell’s novels before (I believe I have another one on my list and I’ll definitely check it out after this one) so I won’t be able to provide any comparison with the rest of his work. When I read some of the reviews, I noticed that some readers felt this novel was less dynamic than the rest and lacked in action. I cannot comment, although it is true that the novel is set in Elizabethan London and its events take place over a few months, rather than it being a long and sprawling narrative, ambitious in scope and detail. If anything, it is a pretty modest undertaking, as it follows the rehearsal and staging of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The author’s note at the end clarifies much of the historical background, explaining what is based on fact and what on fancy, and also the liberties he has taken with the materials.

The story is told, in the first-person, by Richard Shakespeare, William’s younger (and prettier, as everybody reminds him) brother, who is also an actor (mostly playing women’s parts) and plays in his brother’s company, but he’s not a regular player in it. I am no expert on Shakespeare (although I know his plays, some better than others, and have read a bit about him) but checked and now know that although he had a brother called Richard, it seems he never left Strafford, whilst a younger brother called Edmund went to London to join his brother and was an actor. The Richard of the novel is no match for his brother and they do not like each other too well. Throughout the book, we learn about Richard, whose current adventures are peppered with memories of the past and his circumstances. His character lives hand-to-mouth, is always in debt, and illustrates how difficult life was at the time for youngsters without money and/or a family fortune. Although he does not dwell on the abuse he has suffered, modern readers will quickly realise that some things don’t change and children have always been preyed upon. He is a likeable enough character, and although he does some bad things (he was taught how to be a thief by a character who would have been perfectly at home in a Dickensian novel and is fairly skilled at it), there are things he will not do, and he is loyal to his brother, although sometimes William does not seem to deserve it. There are other interesting characters in the book (I particularly liked Sylvia, Richard’s love interest, and the priest who lives in the same house as Richard), but none are drawn in much psychological detail.

What the book does very well, in my opinion, is portray the London of the time, the political and religious intrigues (the Puritans trying to close the playhouses, the religious persecution and how an accusation could be used to implement vendettas and acquire power, the social mores of the times, the workings of taverns and inns, the river Thames as a thoroughfare, the law in and out of the walls of the city…), and particularly, the workings of a theatre company of the time. The different types of audiences and theatres, how they had to accommodate their performances to the setting and follow the indications of their patrons, the process of rehearsal, and details such as the building of a playhouse and its distribution, the staging of a play, the costumes they wore, their makeup, wigs… The book also uses fragments of Shakespeare’s plays and others of the period (and some invented too), and brings to life real actors of the era, creating a realistic feeling of what life on stage (and behind it) must have been like at the time. If you are wondering about William Shakespeare… Well, he is there, and we get to see him in action and also from his brother’s point of view. He appears as an author, an actor, a manager, and a man, but if any readers come to this book expecting new insights into Shakespeare, I’m afraid that is not what the novel is about.

There is a fair amount of telling (it is difficult to avoid in historical fiction), and plenty of historically appropriate words and expressions, although the language is easy to follow. There is also plenty of showing, and we get to share in the cold, the stink, the fear, and the pain the main character suffers. We also get to live the first performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it is glorious. In the second half of the book, things come to a head, and there are a few fights (fist fights, sword fighting, and even a pistol is discharged), romance, intrigue (although we are pretty convinced of how everything will end), and nice touches that Shakespeare lovers will appreciate (yes, there’s even a bear).

A solid historical novel, well-written, that flows well, placing us right in the middle of the late Elizabethan era, and making us exceptional witnesses of the birth of modern theatre. A must-read for lovers of theatre, especially classical theatre, Shakespeare, and historical fiction of the Elizabethan period. I will be sure to read more of Cornwell’s books in the future.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, and REVIEW!

[amazon_link asins=’0521532477,0199267170,0763698741,B0038TYV7I,0060887184,B006WOVK52,0061144835,0062250809′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’wwwauthortran-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’cb053d84-cbca-11e7-9616-0fe2866b6669′]

Categories
Book reviews Writing

M.M. Bennetts Historical Novel Award. Have you written a historical novel?

Hi all:

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember that a few months back I was very busy reading novels for a Historical Novel award, the MM Bennetts, and I couldn’t really talk very much about it. I received an e-mail yesterday about this year’s award and I’m going to help once again with the process of selection. This made me realise that I had not dedicated a post to the winner, and I thought, better late than never. So here it is:

Into the Hidden Valley
Into the Hidden Valley by Stuart Blackburn

Into the Hidden Valley by Stuart Blackburn

The sins of the father …
Charles Taylor was raised in the typical British manner of the late Victorian era: distant from his father, George, a civil servant in India. The two grow closer as Charles ages, but after his father’s untimely death, he finds himself on a path of discovery about George’s life and his role in the pacification of tribes near the Tibetan border, especially his father’s encounter with a powerful shaman and his son. A past as hidden as the Apatani valley, which protects its secrets well.

Stuart Blackburn was born American, but is a man of the world. Experiencing India first hand in Peace Corp, Stuart would later go on to earn a PhD in Indian culture and folklore. A teacher for many years, Stuart’s writing remained in the academic field until 2014 when his first novel , Murder in Melur, was published in India.

Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YT6WGV2/

I have not read the novel and I can’t give you my personal impression, but having been involved in the process of selection, I’m aware it must be pretty special to have made it all the way and won.

In case you want to know a bit more about the author and the novel, here are two posts, one announcing the winner, and the other sharing a detailed interview with the author:

http://www.mmbaward.org/2016/09/announcing-winner-of-2016-award.html

Interview:

http://www.mmbaward.org/2016/09/interview-of-stuart-blackburn-2016.html

And if you’re an author, or know one, who writes historical novels, you could be interested in submitting the novel. Here is the post that explains it all:

http://www.mmbaward.org/2016/09/call-for-submissions-2016-we-invite_23.html

Thanks to the M.M. Bennetts Awards organisers for counting with me again, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, CLICK, and tell your author friends!

Categories
Book review Rosie's Book Review Team

#RBRT Bookreview LA PETITE BOULAIN by G. Lawrence (@TudorTweep) Anne Boleyn in her own words as you’ve never read her before #TuesdayBookBlog

Hi all:

As I promised, although I’m hoping to have news about other things and my own writing very soon, in the meantime I’m reading as much as I can and I have a review of a fabulous book for you. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to Terry Tyler for the suggestion.

La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence
La Petite Boulain by G. Lawrence

La Petite Boulain (Above all Others; The Lady Anne Book 1) by G. Lawrence

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning.
Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine.

Following the path of the young Mistress Boleyn, or La Petite Boulain, through the events of the first years of the reign of Henry VIII, to the glittering courts of Burgundy and France, Book One of “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” tracks the life of the young Lady Anne, showing how she became the scintillating woman who eventually, would capture the heart of a king.

La Petite Boulain is the first book in the series “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” on the life of Anne Boleyn by G.Lawrence.

Links:

http://amzn.to/28SFEFa

http://amzn.to/28SFLR9

My review:

I write this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to Gemma Lawrence for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been reading more historical novels of recent and I appreciate the mix of skills their authors require. There has to be a lot of research for the novel to be grounded sufficiently in the era and not seem a total flight of fancy. But ensuring that this research is seamlessly weaved into the story and avoiding the risk of turning it into a textbook requires talent, inspiration, art and a passion for the topic. And La Petite Boulain has all those and more.

I’m Spanish and although I’ve lived in the UK for many years I wouldn’t say that my knowledge of English history is deep or detailed. Like most people the entire world over, I’m more familiar with the Tudors and their historical period than with any others, thanks to the fascination they have always held for historians, writers, and movie and television scriptwriters. I would guess that most of us have read or watched something about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I at the very least. And we’ve heard of Anne Boleyn.  We might even have an opinion about her.

Since I started writing reviews and blogging about books I’ve come across many books about Anne Boleyn. What prompted me to read this one was a recommendation by one of the reviewers in Rosie’s team that I know is very knowledgeable on the subject (thanks once more, Terry ) and the fact that this book looks at Anne not solely regarding her relationship with Henry VIII. The story is told in the first person, by Anne, who is waiting at the Tower to be beheaded (I’m sure this is no spoiler for anybody), and as a way of keeping calm and passing away the time without falling into despair (more so as she’s surrounded by hostile women sent to spy on her), she goes back in time and remembers her life from childhood. This is the first book in the series, and it takes us from childhood to the time when Anne returns back to England after spending several years away, most recently at the French court, when she’s already a young woman.

The book is beautifully written, with detailed (but not boring or drawn-out) descriptions of clothing, places, people and customs. The language and expressions are appropriate to the era without being overcomplicated or slowing down the story. We see Anne as she sees herself, a lucky girl who’s been born into a good family, with a caring, affectionate and accomplished mother, a father somewhat distant and cold, more interested in politics and the advancement of the family’s fortunes than in the feelings of their members, an older sister (Mary) who is the prettiest one, but less clever and freer with her morals (she’s a more sensuous creature), and a younger brother, George, whom she has much in common with.

We follow her amazement and wonder at historical events, such as the coronation of Henry VIII, when she takes a fancy to the young king, and see her education, first at home, and then at different European Courts, initially at Mechelen  and then in France. The book captures well the innocence of a young girl arrived at a European court, who thinks everybody is beautiful, clever and brilliant, although even at that age she is a keen observer and a quick learner. She’s also good at noticing the power relations and getting closer to influencers and people who can teach her the most.

As she grows, she starts to notice and observe the underbelly and the hypocrisy of the society she lives in, and she also becomes a critical thinker, questioning organised religion and reading what were at the time considered dangerous tracks (Martin Luther). She is shocked by some behaviours she sees, including those of her family members, and by the clear difference in the way women are treated in comparison to the men, no matter how high their position in life, but she is determined to absorb knowledge and learn as much as she can, to ensure that she will not just be at the whim of those around her.

I enjoyed the historical detail, the reflections on events and historical figures of the era, but above all, the way the story is told, that takes the readers into Anne’s confidence and makes them experience with her both wonderful and terrible events, helping make her a real and understandable human being, rather than a cardboard figurine out of historical volume . La petite Boulain is an absolute pleasure to read, and despite knowing the story, I can’t wait to for the next book in the series.

Thanks so much to Rosie Amber for her fabulous team, thanks to Gemma Lawrence for this wonderful book, thanks to you all for reading, and please, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Categories
Guest authors. Classics

#Guestclassicauthor Sir Walter Scott. Scotland, History, Legend and Everything in Between.

Hi all:

As I told you on Tuesday, I’m helping in the selection process of a Historical Novel Award (the M.M. Bennetts Award) and I thought that gave me the perfect opportunity to share one of the posts I had dedicated in my previous blog to a writer who fits nicely in the genre. Sir Walter Scott.

 

Trossachs. Sir Walter Scott based his 'the Lady of the Lake' on this area.
Trossachs. Sir Walter Scott based his ‘the Lady of the Lake’ on this area.

It is Friday and it’s guest author day. I seemed to have to write about Sir Walter Scott as he kept appearing everywhere. When I was writing last week’s post on Frederick Douglass, he chose his free-man name by adopting that of one of the characters in Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Lady of the Lake’. I was writing about Jorge Manrique, who was a Spanish knight and poet, and that made me think about knights, novels… and Sir Walter Scott. And today somebody mentioned Robbie Burns on the radio, and that made me think of Scotland and… So here he is.

Henry Raeburn's portrait of Sir Walter Scott and his dogs
Henry Raeburn’s portrait of Sir Walter Scott and his dogs

Sir Walter Scott (he was knighted by George the IV and became First Baronet) was born on the 15th of August 1771. His father was a successful solicitor and his grandfather (on his mother’s side, John Rutherford), had been Professor of Physiology at the University of Edinburgh. He contracted poliomyelitis when he was only a few months old and spent plenty of time at his grandparents’ farm in the Scottish Borders, (Tweeddale) where he showed an interest in history and the local customs.

He attended the Edinburgh High School and then with his father’s encouragement studied law at Edinburgh University (although according to one source he never took the degree exams as he only wanted to become an advocate, but passed the bar exam in 1792). Although he persevered with the legal job, he started writing poetry when he was 25 (he initially translated German poems and works). In 1797 he married Charlotte Carpenter, the daughter of a French refugee. They were happily married until her death (in 1826). They had four children. Their first born died when he was only one day old. In 1803 he published a three-volume set of collected Scottish ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders. This was followed by many narrative poems that became extremely popular, like The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), Marmion (1808), The Lady of the Lake (1810), Rokeby (1813) and The Lord of the Isles (1815). His depictions of the Scottish landscape, stories and customs helped to put Scotland on the radar and it became a touristic destination, fueling a fashion for all Scottish things.

He became Sheriff-Depute of Selkirk and a Principal Clerk to the Court of Session at Edinburgh. He continued to publish his own poems, reviewed, edited, set up a theatre in Edinburgh and helped fund the Quarterly Review in 1809.

Despite his great fame as poet (he declined the Poet Laureate in 1813 suggesting Robert Southey for the post) it would be his novels that would make him reach new heights in esteem and popularity. He published (anonymously) Waverley in 1814 (subtitled Sixty Years Since). This novel has been credited with creating the genre of the historical novel. Other novels dealing also with the Highlands and Jacobitism and forming part of what has become known as ‘the Waverley novels’ are Rob Roy (1817), The Heart of Midlothian (1818) and Redgauntlet (1824).

Sir Walter Scott's home 'Abbotsford'
Sir Walter Scott’s home ‘Abbotsford’

He associated with Ballantyne’s in his publishing company, and was badly affected by the bank crisis of 1825 (yes, this is not a new thing). He also had difficulties due to the financing of the built of his home at Abottsford. I have read variously that the debt amounted to between £114000 to £140000 (a fortune at the time). Rather than declare himself bankrupt, he placed his home and income into a trust belonging to his creditors and carried on writing his way out of his debts. He suffered a series of strokes and died on 21st September 1832. It seems that he had not fully paid his debt at the time but with the royalties from his books this was settled shortly after his death. He was buried at Dryburgh Abbey with his ancestors.

Some of his other novels include: Ivanhoe (set in England, 1819, probably the best known of them all), The Bride of Lammermmoor (also in 1819), Kenilworth (1821), The Fortunes Of Nigel (1822), Peveril Of The Peak (1823), Quentin Durward (1823), The Talisman (1825), Woodstock (1826), The Surgeon’s Daughter (1827), and Anne Of Geierstein (1829).

Sir Walter Scott was also one of the first authors to become internationally renowned and admired in other countries, and he toured often.

He was not only prolific, hard-working and principled, but very modest. I loved this comment that I felt I had to share:

While on holiday in Shetland he wrote:

…it would be a fine situation to compose an ode to the Genius of Sumburgh-head,
or an Elegy upon a Cormorant – or to have written or spoken madness of any kind
in prose or poetry. But I gave vent to my excited feelings in a more simple way;
and sitting gentle down on the steep green slope which led to the beach, I e’en
slid down a few hundred feet, and found the exercise quite an adequate vent to
my enthusiasm, I recommend this exercise (time and place suiting) to all my brother
scribblers, and I have no doubt it will save much effusion of Christian ink.

(I must thank Stuart Kelly at the Scottish Poetry Library for sharing it in his page. Link below)

Sir Walter Scott on poetry
Sir Walter Scott on poetry

Links:

Biography:

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Scott

His digital archive at the University of Edinburgh.

http://www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/

BBC2. Writing Scotland:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00mr8yj/profiles/walter-scott

Website for Abbotsford, his home:

http://www.scottsabbotsford.com/

Encyclopaedia Britannica:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/529629/Sir-Walter-Scott-1st-Baronet

His page at the Scottish Poetry Library:

http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/sir-walter-scott

SpartacusSchool net:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jscott.htm

The Literature network:

http://www.online-literature.com/walter_scott/

Works:

His books in Amazon.co.uk (there a few free versions and many cheap ones):

http://amzn.to/1pPMqAi

And in Amazon.com:

http://amzn.to/1pPMqAm

This is his author page at the Project Gutenberg where you can find and download free e-books:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/59

Some of the above links, like his digital archive, contain also online links to his works.

Images:

The header is from:

http://infinite-scotland.com/poi/sir-walter-scott/

And the quote above came from:

http://bhuwanchand.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/dailybookquote-17sep13-sir-walter-scotts-ivanhoe/

For more pictures and information about his home:

http://exploretheborders.com/sir-walter-scott-and-abbotsford/

And I leave you also an article quoting Stuart Kelly talking about Sir Walter Scott’s importance:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/aug/16/walter-scott-edinburgh-book-festival

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you have, please remember to like, share, comment and CLICK! Never stop reading!

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