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The intoxicating spell of Historical Novels from Tudor Times

Reading history allows us to understand what happened. Reading historical fiction allows us to be moved by what happened.

Even after we know the facts, it’s difficult to understand how the people involved coped with their tumultuous lives, and we continue to search for sense and meaning. That is what is at the essence of our humanity, to be able to understand another person’s pain and experience from their perspective.

It’s easy to be drawn into the story, and I often find myself being pulled into the plot by imagining that I’m one of the characters. The historical novelist helps the reader to imagine the inner lives of people across time and place, and in doing so illuminates history’s untold stories, allowing the reader to experience a more in-depth and complex truth and experience.

As a writer it’s very important to ‘feel’ what other human beings ‘feel’ about their circumstances and add the richness of another’s experience.

The novel ‘Heartstone’ written by C J Sanson, is set in the turbulent times of Tudor England in 1545. During Henry VIII’s reign, at the time, the nation faced imminent invasion by the French. The book’s main character features a hunch-back lawyer investigating a gruesome murder. His investigations take him into some very dangerous situations and it’s these experiences that make the novel so very enjoyable.

In the novel, the sinking of the Mary Rose, the pride of the king’s war fleet, is terrifyingly atmospheric, so much so that whilst reading the book, I felt a strong urge to visit the ‘Mary Rose’ in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard in the South of England, to understand and try to ‘live through’ the history of those times for myself and bring the book to life.

A Visit to the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, UK

At the Museum, the remains of the ship are housed in a new building in Portsmouth, England. At the entrance of the museum are two Royal Cannons from the Mary Rose, raised from the seabed and restored. Even before I entered the Museum the quality of workmanship on the cannons made me feel in awe of…

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