Having read and thoroughly enjoyed ’The Cut of the Clothes’ by Erato, it is a pleasure to be able to introduce the author’s new release.
‘Slick Filth: A Story of Robert Walpole and Henry Giffard, to Which is Appended the Farce of The Golden Rump’ by Erato is a story of satire, assassination attempts, politics and censorship in 18th century England.
“Sir Robert had composed the most seditious, disgusting, obscene, shameful thing I had ever seen.”
It’s 1737 and England is on edge: someone has tried to assassinate the king at the theatre, and every stageplay is a satire of the royal family. Enter Prime Minister Robert Walpole with a cunning scheme that will grant him power to censor anything that goes on stage — by writing the filthiest play ever conceived. All he needs to pull it off is a patsy, which he finds in Henry Giffard, the proprietor of the theatre at Goodman’s Fields. But will Giffard cooperate with the Prime Minister’s plan, or will obscenity and satire be allowed to overrun the British stage?
Based on true events, Slick Filth includes a recreation of the notorious play The Golden Rump, which so offended Parliament that new censorship laws were enacted for the first time in England’s history. The book is typeset in historical fonts, making you feel like you’ve been pulled back in time to watch the drama unfold first-hand.
Available in hardcover only, this book is more than just a book but an art project of itself, set in 18th century type with added “errors” for the sake of both authenticity and humour.
A fascinating true story of the discovery of a Tudor document in 21st century Australia.
This is a fascinating true story of a vellum manuscript from Tudor times, its discovery in a bookshop in Warrnambool in 2013, and the journey of discovery undertaken by Lorraine Smith to learn of the manuscript’s history.
It’s really well-written with an easy-going, conversational tone that makes the reader feel as though they’re just listening to the author tell her story, so it’s very relaxing and enjoyable to read. The reader gets a good feel for the character of the author as well as the different personalities she has encountered in the course of her investigations.
The story is complemented by very clear and interesting photographs and maps.
Because it is such an interesting read, ‘Journey of a Lost Manuscript’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy on Amazon or contact Spectrum Books in Warrnambool, Australia.
A beautiful story of a little cat and how she saved a soldier.
This beautiful story of a calico kitten and her role in the Gulf War is beautifully written in a straightforward yet heartwarming style that will be enjoyed by older children, but also by adults. The writing is expressive but still easily understood, and the uglier elements of the war are treated gently, although not ignored, so that younger or sensitive readers are not frightened or put off from reading the story.
The cover and illustrations by Milena Radeva are absolutely stunning, capturing both the story and the personality of the kitten as she grew and won her place in the heart of a soldier.
‘The Scheherazade Cat’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn
for excellence in both storytelling and illustration.
Find ‘The Scheherazade Cat’ here.
Fantastic WWII history in a personal story.
Ron Miner’s collection of stories and art by his father, combined with the story of his own experiences of gathering those accounts together, provides a rare opportunity for detailed insight into the experiences of an American serviceman during World War II. The stories are told in a conversational and personal way, so that the reader begins to feel connected to both narrators as their stories develop.
The artwork by Miner’s father is incredible, presenting an extraordinary level of detail. The book also offers a range of photographs of planes, servicemen, news clippings and personal letters pertaining to America’s involvement in the war. The images alone are worth the price of the book.
As a history teacher, I really appreciated the straightforward manner in which these stories are told, and the level of detail given about events which are generally only relayed factually in textbooks. I plan to share some of these stories and pictures from the book with my own students when we study WWII.
This is a fantastic book for anyone who enjoys reading biography, adventure and war stories and for history enthusiasts.
Book Squirrel has awarded ‘Sketches of a Black Cat’ a Gold Acorn for overall excellence.
Readers can buy a copy at Amazon.
Magnificent historical fiction!
Truly great historical fiction is that which immerses the reader in the events of history without distorting them, yet at the same time transports them into the story so completely that they feel they know the people and places that they meet there. ‘To Be A Queen’ achieves this goal in the magnificent telling of the story of Aethelflæd, which comes from one of my favourite periods of English history, when the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia were in turn holding out against the Vikings and pushing them back, and when Alfred had not yet been named “ the Great” by those who recorded his role in history.
Whitehead’s writing is superb, blending a seamless and powerful narrative with poetic terms like “king-helm” drawn from the Old English style such as that seen in ‘Beowulf’ to give a reflection of how English was spoken then and to communicate ideas visually as well as verbally.
The author has created intimate and vivid portraits of the characters amongst the broad brush strokes of history, bringing to life the events and conflicts of the period in which Alfred, Ethelred and Edward fought to preserve England from the attacks and raids of the Vikings. Ancient kings, royal women, thegns, ealdormen, fractious children and servants alike are given flesh, emotions and qualities that make them leap off the page.
Aethelflæd is portrayed first as child, then as woman, then as the lady to whom all of Mercia pledged allegiance. Her vulnerabilities and flaws are real, giving a very strong sense of reality and familiarity to this woman of incredible strength and conviction. Aethelflæd has long been one of my favourite figures of English history, but I shall always feel from now on as though I know her more intimately and completely than before I read ‘To Be A Queen’.
This book is truly worthy of more than a Gold Acorn. Alas, no higher honour exists!
‘To Be A Queen’ is available on Amazon.
Six stars out of five: an amazing book, magnificently written!
Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.
No sooner had I started reading ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ than I had to stop and experience the moment. I had just read an extraordinarily beautiful sentence: “The forest clearing was a web of moonlight and shadows.”
What perfect imagery! It is simple and direct, but powerfully evocative at the same time.
In that moment, I was there. I had been transported to that forest clearing and drawn into the world of the story, even before I knew anything else about it.
This is the magic a writer works when wielding the wand that is their pen.
Tanafon continues to cast these spells with magnificent imagery throughout this book. As tales are told and the various storylines develop, the author provides the reader with a feast of sensory morsels that both satisfy and delight the reader.
At times, such images can be consumed at speed. Others, like this one, demand more thoughtful digestion to fully appreciate the skill in Tanafon’s craft:
“The autumn day had dawned softly, with light mists gathered around the sun like a veil. In the late morning the forest was still sweet and moist, haunted by the ghosts of decaying leaves.”
As a writer, I lost count of the times I read a sentence or two and thought to myself, “I wish I had written that!”
Tanafon’s genius in reinventing the story of Robin Hood as a paranormal adventure is equally as enchanting as his writing. The stories of Robin Hood, his band of followers and of their enemies are interwoven, not as a braid but as a rich tapestry. Thus the old stories are retold, stripping back the gloss of legend and hero worship and offering the reader a far more thought-provoking and deeply engaging retelling of the famous tales.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s not just a fantastic read: this is literature absolutely worthy of the top shelf.