The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

In the 1750s London, Genevieve Planché - a young Huguenot (descendant of French Protestants who had been forced into exile) - dreams of becoming a painter. But hers is not an era conducive to such female ambition. The most Genevieve can hope for is a job as a decorator at a porcelain factory in Derby,... Continue Reading →

Bona Sforza, Poland’s Rebellious Queen

Medieval and early modern queenship is a fascinating area of historical research. In European history, it focuses on such famous queens as Eleanor of Aquitaine (of France and later of England), Catherine de' Medici of France, or Elizabeth I of England. Indeed, western European queens seemed to have enjoyed a degree of freedom (by the... Continue Reading →

Shattered Drum by C. P. Lesley

So many historical novels set in the 16th century focus on Tudor England (and sometimes also France, with a smattering of Italy) that I get very excited whenever a story is set in other parts of Europe. C.P. Lesley is on one of the few historical fiction authors that I know of whose work brings... Continue Reading →

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Given the subject matter of Kate Quinn's latest novel The Huntress, it is difficult to use terms like "enjoyment" and "fun" to describe the reading experience. So I will limit myself to saying that it is among the best historical fiction I have read in a long, long time. The novel opens with a scene at... Continue Reading →

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

When I read a well-executed historical novel, it typically sends me on a mini research bender where I try to read up on the era or the event as much as I can. I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon is one of those novels. The historical event it's woven around is the Russian Revolution - actually, two... Continue Reading →

Connecting with Berthe Morisot

Guest post by Paula Butterfield  It was the middle of another fall quarter, and I was again teaching my course on Women in the Arts. I’d already introduced my students to the floral still lifes of 16th c. Dutch artist Rachel Ruysch, and Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun’s portraits of the 18th c. French court. Each student had... Continue Reading →

La Luministe by Paula Butterfield

If she were alive today, painter Berthe Morisot would be celebrated and admired, but in the 19th century Paris, she was up against formidable obstacles. Women were not allowed to pursue paying occupations, the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts did not accept female students, the society treated "lady painters" as odd (if they were rich)... Continue Reading →

Song of the Siren by C.P. Lesley

Song of the Siren starts off an exciting new series Songs of Steppe & Forest by author C.P. Lesley. It takes us deep into Eastern Europe during the middle part of the 16th century. It was a century that saw the reign of some of the most fearsome and consequential monarchs in history, from Henry VIII to... Continue Reading →

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