Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Lost Village

“That’s the Medieval Village of West Ringstead,” said the man as I passed. He was standing in the long grass beside the footpath staring out across a field, wild white hair and sun bronzed skin. “It was destroyed by the plague in the 14th Century.”
My husband gave him and odd look and hurried on past, but I paused and looked in the direction that he was pointing. The field was a wide grassy meadow and over on the far side I could see a series of humps and bumps. I’d never noticed them before.
“If you stand on them you can see the layout of the village, the streets, the houses,” the man continued. “But there’s a fence here now.” He prodded the barbed wire with the tip of one finger.
There was something forlorn about those grassy mounds, and I couldn’t help wondering about the people who lived there, and how they must have felt as the plague took hold.

When I got home I tried to find out a bit more about this village. I found it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. I also found another explanation for what happened to it – a rumor that the village was destroyed by French pirates, who kidnapped all the women and children and took them away. J

Which explanation do you prefer?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Review: Weymouth Bound by Paul Weston

Set in 1800, Weymouth Bound is the story of Jack Stone, whose life is changed forever when his ship, the Cicely, is boarded by the French when on passage to Weymouth. Jack discovers that the Cicely's capture is the opening move in a French scheme to strike at the heart of the British establishment, and that he must do his best to ensure that the plot does not succeed.

I picked up a copy of this in my local independent bookshop – Imagine Books, attracted by the cover and nautical flavour. It’s published by Roving Press which I know is a great little publisher specialising in local interest books.

I really enjoyed reading this. The author clearly knows his naval warfare and the scenes on the ship were not only historically fascinating but I could almost taste the salt and feel the roll of the deck as I read. If you are a fan of all things nautical you’ll love this – and even if you’re not it’s a cracking good story.

I couldn’t help wondering at the amount of research that must have gone into this. The whole thing felt really authentic and I learned an awful lot about shipping circa 1800. The descriptions of the London docks and of life aboard ship made me feel as if I was really there, living it with Jack.

In fact reading this put me in mind of Monsarrat’s ‘The cruel Sea’, or Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ (only without the bits about whale anatomy), which I also loved for all the same reasons.
I do hope we see more of Jack Stone.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Christmas in July

Have your seen this amazing opportunity?

A few months ago Ruth Lauren Steven and Michelle Krys opened the doors to children’s authors with a chance to jump the slushpile and receive feedback from an agent.

Well this time they’ve gone one better!

This time there are ten – yes you heard me TEN agents involved and the doors are open to pretty much all genres!

But don’t take my word for it! Head over to Ruth’s blog and check it out for yourself!

Christmas in July