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From Phyllida's Desk

Rediscovered Georgette Heyer Treasure

The Great Roxhythe (TGR), Georgette Heyer's second published novel, is an astonishing work of historical fiction, with two unconventional love stories at its center.  Read More 
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My Tudor Binge

I finished reading Bring Up the Bodies, the second book in Hilary Mantel's planned trilogy about Henry VIII and his crew as seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, two days after our book club's discussion. Now I'm reeling from self-imposed Tudor overload. Wanting to know more about the standard interpretation of Cromwell and his character (as opposed to Mantel's partisan approach), I started with Wikipedia. But I also needed my regular nightly fix of TV, and what more logical than The Tudors, the over-the-top (and I don't just mean breasts spilling out of tight bodices) cable series starring the acting world's physical antithesis of Henry, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, four seasons ready for binge-streaming on Netflix. And to put the cherry on this sex-and-violence sundae,  Read More 
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Review of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall, #1)Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Rating and reviewing a book like Wolf Hall is a challenge on many levels. It's serious historical fiction written by an intelligent, talented author, about a well-known period of English history (Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, divorce, male heir, rise of Protestantism, break with Rome) as told by a relatively unfamiliar main character, Thomas Cromwell, Henry's chief minister and, as we might think of him, "enforcer."  Read More 
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To Anachronism in Heaven

For my last blog meditation of the year, I want to revisit a favorite topic: the use of language in fiction, especially historical fiction. Yes, I've written about this a lot, but the issue keeps sitting up and jumping off the slab each time I think my last autopsy has established a cause of death.  Read More 
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