"It was in the first week of October in the year 1391 that I first came face to face with the man who owned me… the man whose lightest word was to us, his villeins, weightier than the King’s law or the edicts of our Holy Father…” So began the story of Martin Reed - a serf whose resentment of the automatic rule of his feudal lord finally flared into open defiance.
"a heading is required"
Thus the future of Caroline Matilda, youngest sister of George III, was settled – marriage to the nearly insane Prince of Denmark. Prompted by a sense of foreboding, she begged that one of her sisters should be sent in her place. But Caroline was the healthiest, the strongest of the English princesses, and as well as being exiled, princesses were meant to be brood mares…Exiled in a strange country, isolated by her inability to speak the language, Caroline forms a close bond with the King’s doctor, Johann Struensee.
"What a Lovely Memory!"
When young John Vincent died, the outward respectability of the Cornwall household was undermined. Strangers pried, asked too many questions and pointed accusing fingers at Charlotte - herself eager to escape from the oppressive atmosphere of her father's home.
"At the age of seven I was a skilful pickpocket. I could sew neatly, write a tolerable hand, make a curtsey and a correct introduction, dance a little and play simple tunes on the harpsichord.” This was the London life of Felicity Hatton in 1740 – until chance sent her back to the House, first as a pauper, later to become its mistress – a strange eccentric mistress whose choice of husband was as unorthodox as her manner of living.
The House at Old Vine is the second in a trilogy of novels by Norah Lofts about the inhabitants of a Suffolk house from the late 14th century to the middle of the 20th.
Covering the turbulent years of 1496 to 1680, it follows six generations of the descendants of Martin Reed, who founded the "House" dynasty through his act of rebellion in The Town House, through persecution, war, and revolution, from the era of Christopher Columbus to the Restoration of Charles II.
"What a wonderful suprise!"
She was the daughter of a preacher and a gypsy. A strange and elusive child with powers of prophecy, she grew into an even stranger woman. From those around her she inspired love and admiration or furious hatred. Nothing in between. And somehow Jassy could transform even those who loved her into her enemies. Barney Hatton, the dispossessed heir of Mortiboys, loved her but not enough. Lindy, a girl who worked there, loved her too much.
“All eyes and hair” a courtier had said disparagingly of her – and certainly the younger daughter of Tom Boleyn lacked the bounteous charms of most ladies of Court. Black-haired, black eyes, she had a wild-sprite quality that was to prove more effective, more dangerous than conventional feminine appeal. The King first noticed her when she was sixteen – and with imperial greed he smashed her youthful love-affair with Harry Percy and began the process of royal seduction.
"Very, Very Good!"
A Wayside Tavern tells the story of a Suffolk drinking place from the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, until the present day. The Roman veteran, crippled and left behind, worshipped Mithras, so the place became known as the One Bull and down through the centuries it became a clearing house for contraband, a miniature Hell Fire Club, a fashionable hotel, a mere pub. Across the yard, was the church of St Cerdic, king and martyr, who fought the Danes and was famous for the miracles performed at his shrine.
"An enjoyable tale"
Out of the courts of 12th-century England strode the legendary figure of Richard of England leading his knights onto the Saracen battlefields, inspired by a vision of the Holy Land. Here is the story of the Soldier-King and the Third Crusade - of his strange, ill-fated union with Berengaria, Princess of Navarre; and of his mother, the She-Wolf, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who loved her son with a frantic, possessive pride. And, above all, here is the story of the minstrel whose life was linked with that of the King - the story of Blondel, the Lute Player....
"A historical beauty"
The Fleece Inn stood where the three roads joined - the roads to London, to Norwich, and to the sea. Its trade was prosperous, its hospitality famous, and the host was jolly and generous. To his servants he was cruel and menacing, and to Ellie Roon, the most menial servant at the Fleece, he was a figure of terror. Ellie was used to being bullied, but when her illegitimate daughter was born - in a rat-ridden attic of the Fleece - she decided that Hester must have a different kind of life.
Ataxerxes, king of Persia, needed a wife. This powerful warrior lord picked the one girl who would have given anything to have been passed over - a Jewish scholar, Esther, from the back streets of his capital, Shushan. To a king bored by the chattering of women wreathed in musky scents, this changeling was a breath of fresh air. But the new queen of Persia was lost in a world of protocol and soon lost her husband;s favour.
Isabella of Spain was a great woman, a great Queen. Crown of Aloes is presented as a personal chronicle. Within the framework of known fact and detail drawn from hitherto unexploited contemporary Spanish sources, a novelist’s imagination and understanding have provided motives, thoughts, and private conversations, helping to build up the fascinating character Isabella must have been. Her fortunes were varied indeed: she knew acute poverty, faced anxiety and danger with high courage, gave much, suffered much, lived to the full.
"A VERY INTERESTING & COMPELLING STORY"
The house was built in the Old Queen's time: built for an Elizabethan pirate who was knighted for the plunder he brought home. It survived many eras, many reigns: it saw the passing of Cromwell and the Civil War. It became rich with an Indian Nabob and poor with a 20th century innkeeper. It saw wars, and lovers, and death. Children were born there, both heirs and bastards. It had ghosts and legends and a history that grew stranger with every generation.
"Bless This House - my take"
Sir Godfrey Tallboys was a knight-errant, famous for his success at tourneys, but far from wealthy. In an attempt to make his fortune he left his wife Sybilla and travelled to Spain to fight a minor rusade against the Moors. But treachery lurked in that far distant land and soon Sir Godfrey became a prisoner, a helpless slave in a hostile country. Back in quiet Suffolk he was reported dead. And so it fell to Sybilla to fend for the whole family.
Julia Ashley was born to a life of dramatic twists and tragedy. Her future and any possible lasting happiness depended entirely on a "glove marriage" to a man who was no more than a name. The Dutch East Indies, in the 17th century, were the lands of legendary riches; of "nutmeg princes"; of fortunes built on barbaric plantations and slavery. And amid the extravagance, the cruelty, the bizarre customs, perhaps the strangest events of all were the curious weddings that sent girls halfway around the world.
"Great listen BUT crucial chapter missing"
The Wars of the Roses were over, but for Henry Tallboys the battle for survival went on. Scratchign a livign from the meagre soil of Knight’s Acre was no easy task, but that wasn’t Henry’s only worry – there was also Joann’s future to settle. Even at the age of eleven Joanna seemed destined to fetch a handsome price in the marriage market; yet a mysterious bond seemed to unite her with Henry, a bond more close than either of them could have known.
For the Spender family, the ancient, beautifully kept house had seemed a godsend, an incredible bargain, almost a gift from its owner - a kindly man who merely wanted someone to protect the family homestead, to make Gad’s come alive again. And it did. Soon a strong-willed, sensible woman would be overtaken by irrational feelings she could not control, all because of the unspeakable secret kept by the women who had lived at Gad’s Hall more than a century ago.…
Eleanor…young, high-spirited, supremely intelligent, heiress to the vast Duchy of Aquitaine – at a time when a woman’s value was measured in terms of wealth. Her vivid leadership inspired and dazzled those about her. And yet, born to rule, she was continually repressed and threatened by the men who overshadowed her life. This is the story of a brilliant, medieval figure – of a princess who led her own knights to the Crusades, who was bride to two kings and mother of Richard the Lionheart.
"The Queen of Chivalry"
No one at Gad’s Hall could admit what they knew about the room in the attic. The locked room that held the Thorley family’s most shameful secret. The terrifying room that had once been the living tomb of a beautiful young woman possessed by the darkest evil. Years had passed but the relentless diabolic force abided – waiting until it could once again possess an innocent and inflict its horror upon the living. It was a force countless centuries old. It was simply a matter of time before it would strike again.
Forced to flee Revolutionary France after the brutal guillotining of her beloved father, Isabella de Savigny arrives at Nethergate, the Suffolk house of her cousin, hoping for sympathy and succour. Instead, as a poor relation, she is forced to live the life of a servant and suffer the casual cruelty of lady’s maid Martha Pratt. When she is seduced and abandoned by the son of the house, Isabella is forced to marry Martha’s brother, and her struggle to survive truly begins. However, her misery is lessened when her daughter is born....