Thursday, 1 October 2015

Falling in Love with History... and Historical Romance

In the early days of the blog, I was fortunate enough to encounter Carol Cork, owner of Rakes and Rascals. Carol is a wonderful lady and her passion for books is utterly infectious; it's a pleasure to welcome her to the salon to share a little about her love of history and historical romance!


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I am an avid reader of Historical Romances set during the Regency era but it was a very different period in British history that first captured my childhood imagination.


Boscobel House, Brewood (pronounced Brood), Shropshire

Boscobel House, Brewood (pronounced Brood), Shropshire

The Priest Hole

The Priest Hole
On a school trip to Boscobel House in Shropshire, I became fascinated by the story of Charles Stuart’s (the future Charles II) escape and dangerous journey to the safety of France following his defeat by the Roundheads at the Battle of Worcester. Having taken refuge at Boscobel House, the home of Royalist supporters, he narrowly avoided capture by hiding with a companion in the thick, leafy branches of an oak tree while soldiers searched the woods below him. Once the soldiers had gone, Charles returned to the house and spent the night in a priest’s hole in the attic. It must have been a tight squeeze for the 6′ 2″ Charles!

Then a very brave young woman, Jane Lane, helped Charles reach the south coast and escape to France.

**To find out more about Boscobel House and Charles’s escape on my Rakes and Rascals Blog:

**You can also follow plucky heroine Jane Lane’s perilous journey on my Rakes and Rascals Blog:
These stories instilled in me a desire to discover history in all its different facets. Over the years, I’ve roamed great Historic Houses, explored windswept Welsh castles and toured sites of bloody battles. 


Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England


Conwy Castle, Conwy, North Wales

Conwy Castle, Conwy, North Wales

Renactment of the Battle of Bosworth Field fought in 1485 
which saw the death of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King

Renactment of the Battle of Bosworth Field fought in 1485 
which saw the death of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King


The plaque commemorating his death.

The plaque commemorating his death

I think this love of the past was reflected in my choice of reading as a teenager. I read lots of Barbara Cartland books but, although my interest in history never waned, my reading changed as I grew older and I developed a taste for the crime novels of Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell and Michael Connelly. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that I wanted something a little lighter to read and decided that perhaps a romance would be ideal. Wandering around a bookshop in Birmingham one day, I found myself drawn to the shelves marked Historical Romance and, after reading the synopsis, I picked up a book called Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught. 

This book has a special place in my heart because it was the one that re-introduced me to the wonderful world of Historical Romance…a world I have become totally captivated by.  I love being transported to a world far away from modern everyday life and I’m fascinated by the rules of society then, which were far different from our own, particularly for women. I even love reading about the fashions, the food and the different modes of transport. 

Every time I read a great historical romance, I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about the book…to reach out to readers who love Historical Romances as much as I do. Unfortunately, the only “someone” around was my husband, who would just sit there with a glazed look in his eyes! I toyed with the idea of creating my own blog but knew absolutely nothing about how to set one up or even how to run one. However, with my husband’s support and my son’s technical assistance, Rakes and Rascals finally went ‘live’ in September 2012.


I can’t believe how successful it has been, over 53,000 views to date, and I have made so many wonderful new friends and discovered some great new authors. I’ve also had the opportunity to interview many of my favourite authors and I’m thrilled to be attending the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, USA in September 2016. It certainly will be the trip of a lifetime and to meet so many of my favourite authors face-to-face will be a dream come true.

Please feel free to browse my blog and do leave a comment. Just click on the link below:

Written content of this post copyright © Carol Cork, 2015.

9 comments:

Carol Cork said...

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Catherine!

Irma Jurejevčič said...

I enyoj Carol's blog very much and am a proud stalker.

Catherine Curzon said...

Huzzah!

Catherine Curzon said...

The pleasure is all mine!

Dot S.(ladeetdareads.wordpress.com) said...

I seem to be a "Carol stalker" also. This post was a nice bit of insight into a terrific blogger/reviewer.

Carol Cork said...

Thank you, Irma. :)

Carol Cork said...

Thank you so much for those lovely words, Dot. <3

Kathy Davis said...

Carol, this is a great chance for me to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletters. Your book choices are perfect for me, and the review always seems just right.

Carol Cork said...

Thank you so much for those kind words, Kathy. <3