Botticelli’s Muse by Dorah Blume

Artist Sandro Botticelli's painting Primavera is one of the most celebrated artworks of the Italian Renaissance. Breaking with many conventions of the past, it askewed religious imagery in favor of a secular theme of spring awakening. As such it garnered a great deal of criticism from Church authorities when it was painted in the late... 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 →

The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley

Until I read Christopher Buckley's The Relic Master, I failed to realize what now seems quite obvious, namely that historical fiction is rarely humorous. It is not necessarily a criticism. Historical novels tend to be set in pivotal eras or woven around events that bring about major changes and are  often marked by violence and suffering.... 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 →

Munich by Robert Harris

My own writing and research take me back to the Middle Ages and, more recently, the 16th century Eastern Europe. So it is refreshing to come across historical fiction that is much closer to our own times, and set in the period that I am also quite interested in but do not know as much... Continue Reading →

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