Archive for October, 2013

Five Stars for Mary Dyer: Illuminated by Christy K. Robinson

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

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5 Stars for Mary Dyer: Illuminated

My Thoughts:

MARY DYER: ILLUMINATED is an example of historical fiction at its finest. A biographical work spanning the first forty years of Mary’s life, this novel paints beautiful descriptions of old England and old London. The history is amazingly well researched yet the story is smoothly, clearly drawn on the page. I felt as if Westminster and old Lincolnshire lived for me again.

Part of Christy K Robinson’s charm in writing this novel is her use of primary sources. Quotes from the Bible, from speeches of John Donne, from letters written between the characters pepper the novel with pieces of the living past, drawing the reader deeper into it.

The colonial past of New England is full of courage, but also full of desperation. The evils of slavery and the destruction of the native culture coincide with the darkness of some of the early Puritan fathers who torment even their own people in their bid to hold onto power in their budding theocracy. Throughout the storms of nature, culture clashes and failed crops, Mary manages to raise her family with the loving help of her husband, William.

As the book draws to a close, we begin to see how Mary Dyer will be called out of the private sphere of wife and mother into the world of politics and living theology, when she will be drawn to speak for the Light that dwells within her, and within us all. I am looking forward with pleasure to book two of this duet. MARY DYER: ILLUMINATED is a beautiful novel.

Novel Description:

Mary Barrett Dyer, 1611-1660, was comely, dignified, admired for her intellect, and known in the court of King Charles. But how did she become infamous in England and America as a heretic who gave birth to a monster? Was she responsible for curses falling on colonial New England in the form of great earthquakes, signs in the heavens, and plagues? What possessed the ultra-righteous Governor John Winthrop to exhume her baby before one hundred gawkers, revile her in his books, and try to annex Rhode Island to get its exiles back under Boston’s control?  In Mary Dyer Illuminated, follow William and Mary Dyer from the plague streets and royal courts of London to the wilderness of America where they co-founded the first democracy of the New World 135 years before the Declaration of Independence. They were only getting started. In the second of two volumes, Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This, the Dyers return to war-torn England and lay a foundation for liberty that resonates in the 21st century. Why did beautiful, wealthy Mary Dyer deliberately give up her six children, husband, and privileged lifestyle to suffer prison and death on the gallows?  The two novels are compelling, provocative, and brilliantly written, blending historical fact and fiction to produce a thoroughly beautiful work you won’t want to put down. The author has reconstructed a forgotten world by researching the culture, religions, and politics of England and America, personal relationships, enemies, and even the events of nature, to discover who they were.  ***** “Mary Barrett Dyer is one of very few 17th-century women who are remembered today. She is usually described as a Quaker hanged in the cause of religious freedom, but genealogists and historians know there is much more to her. Christy K Robinson brings the Dyers to vivid life for the rest of us, weaving superb fiction with what is known into a penetrating novel. Robinson’s research is flawless, and her engaging characters invite you into their brilliantly imagined world. Brava!”  – Jo Ann Butler, author of Rebel Puritan trilogy.

Christy Robinson, author

About the Author:

Christy K Robinson is a freelance copy editor of books, magazines, and websites. She recently published the first of two biographical novels on Mary Dyer, an Englishwoman who committed civil disobedience in the cause of liberty of conscience and separation of church and state. Mary Dyer Illuminated is available in paperback and Kindle editions, worldwide. The next publications are a Kindle-only nonfiction handbook on 17th-century culture of the Dyers called The Dyers of London, Boston and Newport, followed by volume two of the novel, Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This.

Christy’s website is http://ChristyKRobinson.com .

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*Sound of screeching brakes* by Christy K Robinson

Monday, October 21st, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

That’s right, people. STOP! In your unseemly haste to read as many historical novels on medieval royalty, Renaissance intrigue and war craft, Tudor and Elizabethan gowns, sex, and bastards, and Regency balls with chiseled rakes who abduct sassy heiresses or perform intricate steps of a social morality dance, you have sped past the very century which set you up for civil liberties, scientific discovery, worldwide travel and commerce, modern warfare, and not a little steaminess.

Mary Dyer statue in Boston

“Puritans! Boring!” wrote a commenter on a Daily Mail story about an English Civil War hoard of gold found in a London garden.

He wouldn’t have written that if he knew that the people I write about in the 17th century gave birth to monsters. Or that the greatest earthquake ever to strike New England, a 7.0 in 1638, was blamed on Mary Dyer and Anne Hutchinson. Or that an attractive young woman was tried as a witch and shot, just for surf-boarding on the River Kennet one hot September day. Or that the terrifying Bugbear solar eclipse sent the wealthy people of London dashing out of the city in carriages (no brakes!), and stopped field laborers from working? Or that the Little Ice Age was at its most extreme in the middle of the century when America was being settled and Europe was plagued by famine, war, and, well, plague?

 

What about the sow who gave birth to a piglet with the face of the man who had buggered her? Or the ship that was lost at sea but appeared in the clouds, in full color, to more than 50 sober, godly people? Or that lobster was so plentiful that it was fed to slaves and used as dog food? And speaking of slaves, that thousands of children were snatched off London streets, kept in internment camps, sold again and again, and shipped to America to work hard labor and risk sexual abuse (assuming they survived the voyage)? What about the tens of thousands of English people who left entire villages empty and emigrated to America in the 1630s?

 

Though there were sumptuary laws in Massachusetts that demanded no adornment or lace for women, back in England the women (even –gasp– Puritans!) were baring most of the bosom for court occasions and portraits. Rulers and their aristocrats had the same proportion of mistresses, bastards (the dangerous-guy kind and the illegitimate child kind), spies, pirates, nefarious plotters, evil politicians and ambitious churchmen, and all the other components of popular historical literature.

 

Want to know what I’m writing about in a novel so big I had to make two volumes of it? Everything I just wrote above. Mmm-hmmm. *nods head affirmatively* All that stuff and much more really happened around my heroine and her husband, Mary and William Dyer. She committed civil disobedience which led to her execution by hanging, to bring attention to the torture and deaths of her friends and fellow believers, the Quakers. Her husband, as America’s first attorney general, was hugely instrumental in creating and passing laws for religious liberty (including the right not to practice religion), and helped secure a royal charter that confirmed it. That Rhode Island charter was a model for the United States constitution 130 years later, which guarantees the human rights of freedom of speech and religion. And those rights have, in turn, been a model for civil rights legislation all over the world.

 

Colin Firth as Vermeer

Still not enough glam for you? I made William Dyer look like Colin Firth. (I knew that would do it for you.)

 

So yes, put the (brake) pedal to the metal, and slide bum-over-teakettle into the 17th century. Don’t stop reading the other eras of history and historical/biographical fiction. Just don’t ignore all the incredibly great events and people of C17. That would be like reading a comic book in the back seat of the station wagon while your parents drove through all the national parks. Or listening to elevator music on your iPod while Sting or Yo Yo Ma is performing three feet away.

 

Want to get started? Right now? I have a book, hot off the press…

 

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Mary Dyer: Illuminated

Description of the novel:

Mary Barrett Dyer, 1611-1660, was comely, dignified, admired for her intellect, and known in the court of King Charles. But how did she become infamous in England and America as a heretic who gave birth to a monster? Was she responsible for curses falling on colonial New England in the form of great earthquakes, signs in the heavens, and plagues? What possessed the ultra-righteous Governor John Winthrop to exhume her baby before one hundred gawkers, revile her in his books, and try to annex Rhode Island to get its exiles back under Boston’s control?  In Mary Dyer Illuminated, follow William and Mary Dyer from the plague streets and royal courts of London to the wilderness of America where they co-founded the first democracy of the New World 135 years before the Declaration of Independence. They were only getting started. In the second of two volumes, Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This, the Dyers return to war-torn England and lay a foundation for liberty that resonates in the 21st century. Why did beautiful, wealthy Mary Dyer deliberately give up her six children, husband, and privileged lifestyle to suffer prison and death on the gallows?  The two novels are compelling, provocative, and brilliantly written, blending historical fact and fiction to produce a thoroughly beautiful work you won’t want to put down. The author has reconstructed a forgotten world by researching the culture, religions, and politics of England and America, personal relationships, enemies, and even the events of nature, to discover who they were.  ***** “Mary Barrett Dyer is one of very few 17th-century women who are remembered today. She is usually described as a Quaker hanged in the cause of religious freedom, but genealogists and historians know there is much more to her. Christy K Robinson brings the Dyers to vivid life for the rest of us, weaving superb fiction with what is known into a penetrating novel. Robinson’s research is flawless, and her engaging characters invite you into their brilliantly imagined world. Brava!”  – Jo Ann Butler, author of Rebel Puritan trilogy. Key words: Mary Barrett Dyer, Anne Hutchinson, John Winthrop, civil disobedience, Great Migration, 17th century, William Dyre, Boston, Rhode Island, England, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, Reverend John Cotton

*****

 Christy Robinson, author

Christy K Robinson is a freelance copy editor of books, magazines, and websites. She recently published the first of two biographical novels on Mary Dyer, an Englishwoman who committed civil disobedience in the cause of liberty of conscience and separation of church and state. Mary Dyer Illuminated is available in paperback and Kindle editions, worldwide. The next publications are a Kindle-only nonfiction handbook on 17th-century culture of the Dyers called The Dyers of London, Boston and Newport, followed by volume two of the novel, Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This.

Christy’s website is http://ChristyKRobinson.com .

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Regency Savannah

Friday, October 18th, 2013 | Regency Fridays | 6 Comments

Once again you may be asking yourself, where have I been for an age? Mostly, I have been working at the day job, which has gone from part time to full time. This has cut back on my online time, as has the fact that I am now living in the NC mountains, and I have trouble looking away from my window to get busy on my computer.

But enough about me.

Last weekend, I went with a friend, Marianne (who hopefully won’t mind me mentioning her here) to visit the beautiful city of Savannah, GA. I had never been there before, but I fell in love at first sight. The greenery, the squares, the old homes, the warmth of the people, and the warmth of the breezes made me feel right at home, along with the fact that they have a Regency era house, still standing, and still in pristine condition. Amazing!

The Telfair Museum’s Owens-Thomas House is worth the trip to the city all on its own. If you are a Regency fanatic, as I am, and if you need an excuse to head south this winter, look no further. The Owens-Thomas House will thrill you.

Regency House

With beautiful architecture and hot and cold running water, shower baths and marble tubs, all of which functioned for centuries fed by the system of cisterns built into the walls and ceilings. I could go on, but I won’t…just head down and see for yourself.

And if you need more incentive, here is the garden at the back of the house. An oasis of beauty tucked into the already beautiful town.

Regency Garden

And please note the building in the background of this photo: the slave quarters and carriage house, also still standing and in fabulous condition. This house won my admiration for calling the slave quarters what they were, not flinching from the evils of slavery but talking about it openly. The Regency era, as we know, was not just about balls and silk gowns, as in my novels, but a world of children working in factories and slaves being sold in the streets of the Americas. The Telfair Museum house blends the harsh truth with the beauties of that time, so that neither is lost.

 

Review of Confessions of Marie Antoinette

Friday, October 11th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Confessions of MA Tour Banner FINAL

CONFESSIONS OF MARIE ANTOINETTE by Juliet Grey

5 Stars

From the first page, Juliet Grey breathes new life into historical fact, making Marie Antoinette live again even as she approaches her death. Of course, the lovely queen does not realize that she is doomed, as the reader does, and she fights for her life from one disaster to another, as she watches as the world she has built, the world she has inherited, slips away.

This novel is less a re-telling of the events leading up to Marie Antoinette’s death than it is a tribute to her life. Juliet Grey honors the dead in these pages, and gives the lost French queen a voice. It is a moving novel, filled with loss and love in equal measure. A novel well worth reading, one that will linger with you long after you have put it down, as you gaze with Marie Antoinette into that blue October sky.

 Confessions of Marie Antoinette

Novel Description:

Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the riveting and sweeping final novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy on the life of the legendary French queen, blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the early years of the French Revolution and the doomed royal family’s final days.

Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.

Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains above all a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen and her family try to flee, and she secretly attempts to arrange their rescue from the clutches of the Revolution, they cannot outrun the dangers encircling them, or escape their shocking fate.

 

Juliet Grey Author Pic (1)

 

About the Author

Juliet Grey is the author of Becoming Marie Antoinette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow. She has extensively researched European royalty and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette, as well as a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and southern Vermont.

For more information please visit www.becomingmarie.com.  You can also find Juliet Grey on Facebook.

When We’re Not Writing

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

So what do we do when we’re not writing? We work, we see our families, we deal with the day to day. We drive to work. And that’s where today’s inspiration comes from…just a few bits of beauty that accompany me as I journey to my day job everyday. As I pass these things, and the mountains that surround them, I am simply in awe…

Red Barn

So here is the first of a few photo essays…or photo sketches, if you like, of where I am now, and what might be feeding my work next. And more importantly, feeding my life.

Roadside Flowers

 

My little camera phone can’t do this place justice. Maybe, someday, my words will be able to…

Roadside Trees

My Latest…