Review: Victoria

The eight-episode run of Victoria just finished on ITV and I’m so glad it’s been renewed for a second season and a Christmas special, both due out in 2017. Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Death Comes to Pemberley) as the stoic monarch of the 1800s, is a dramatic look at the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. Series 1 includes her transition from sheltered princess to teen …

Aboard a 17th Century Spanish Galleon

El Galeon, a replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon, was docked in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island for three days and I jumped at the chance to climb aboard and take some photos. The galleon was the choice vehicle for merchants and pirates alike. Photo from the El Galeon website From the website: “El Galeon was built during 2009 to 2010 by the Nao Victoria Foundation. …

Review: Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings

In most books concerning Tudor history, Mary Boleyn gets very little mention. A lot more is known about her enigmatic and doomed younger sister but thanks to author Alison Weir (one of my very favorite history writers), we finally have a biography about a woman history knows best as a “great and infamous whore,” probably a title she doesn’t deserve. This book details the historical …

5 Films Based in Georgian England

Anyone for a game of Whist? Although Tudor England will always be my favorite time/place in history, I’ve had a dalliance with the Georgian period. For the aristocracy, Georgian England (1714-1830) was all about “taking the cure” at Bath, enjoying the poetry of Keats, Byron and Burns and reading about major societal changes in other parts of the world: England lost their grasp of America in 1776 …

The Cast of Hamilton: Now and Then

Hamilton combines two of my favorite things—musicals and history—into something exceptional. The hip hopera swept the Tonys this year and has made writer/performer Lin-Manuel Miranda a household name. One of the many things that makes Hamilton unique is the choice to cast almost every role with non-white actors, to better show what America looks like now, a diverse ethnic melting pot. I’m a big history portrait nerd …

Review: The Private Lives of the Tudors

(Yes, I’m still alive. I’ve been busy moving into my first home and publishing my second novel. Okay!) The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman makes a great addition to any English history lover’s library, great for the Tudor enthusiast interested in the mundane details of daily life or the Tudor history novice looking for a broad overview of the dynasty. Borman’s previous …

Interview: Henrietta VIII

Henrietta VIII is a burlesque performer based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who brings a unique twist to her performer identity: many of her acts are history-based. Henrietta was kind enough to answer some questions. What history are you most interested in? For sure the Tudor period. I’ve been obsessed with that period (even having 6 Tudor themed tattoos…) since I was in high school and …

Review: Marilyn Monroe: The Biography

I feel guilty for believing all the things people have said about Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe had an affair with Robert Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy. Marilyn Monroe was a “dumb blonde,” capable of only playing “dumb blonde” roles. Marilyn Monroe only had her beauty and her figure and no actual talent. Marilyn Monroe’s relationship with baseball player Joe DiMaggio was a perfect storybook romance. Marilyn …

Graverobbers, Resurrectionists and “Sack ’em Ups”

By the end of the 18th century, the study of medicine was becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. The demand for corpses came from the highest echelons of society, that of the medical profession. New medical halls as well as the college of surgeons needed a regular supply of cadavers for its doctors and students to dissect. The only corpses legally available to surgeons were those of …

Vincent van Gogh, Mental Illness and His Ear

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh sold few of his paintings, possibly only one. He was supported financially throughout his life by his brother Theo. In exchange for this support, Vincent would send Theo his paintings in the hopes that he could sell them and make some money back. With the exception of The Red Vineyard, he wasn’t successful. Now, van Gogh’s paintings are sold at auction …