More Book reviews!

Here are a few of the recent reviews I’ve posted on Goodreads that are not for Historical Novels Review — my favorite reads of 2021 so far… The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown & Co.) Even putting aside this astounding novel’s accidental timeliness, it renders with laser focus a historical moment […]

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Book Reviews of 2020, pt. 2

Another favorite, reviewed in the November 2019 issue of Historical Novels Review — Sarah Donati’s Where the Light Enters (Berkeley, 2019): This long, absorbing novel is the sequel to Donati’s enthusiastically received The Gilded Hour, a multi-family epic centered on the lives of Anna and Sophie Savard, cousins who attempt to further the cause of medical […]

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Book Reviews of 2020

The final 40 days of this unprecedented — and for many of us, unprecedentedly awful — year are upon us. It’s also the close of my sabbatical semester, one activity of which has been getting this blog and website up and running again. I thought I’d make it easy on myself by starting out with […]

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Interview with Gregory Maguire

I had the pleasure of interviewing bestselling author Gregory Maguire for a feature on his new novel, A Wild Winter Swan, for November 2020 issue of Historical Novels Review. You can read it here: Re-Imagining New York: Gregory Maguire’s Novel, A Wild Winter Swan

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All the World in a Fair

The Four and Twentieth of August! Bartholmew-day! Bartholmew upon Bartholmew! there’s the Device! who would have mark’d such a Leap-Frog Chance now? When John Little-wit, Ben Jonson’s would-be playwright whose day-job is law-clerking, discovers that a client named Bartholomew Cokes plans to get betrothed in Bartholomew Fair, on the feast day of St. Bartholomew (August 24), he delights in […]

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Shakespeare, Updated

There has been a lot of reaction, good and bad, to the news that the Hogarth Press, an imprint of Random House, plans to commission bestselling authors to write novels based on and updating Shakespeare’s plays. The project has a noble purpose – to honor the upcoming 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death in 1616 […]

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King of Players, Player of Kings

Today is the birthday (in 1566) of James VI & I of Scotland and England. Although Shakespeare and Jonson are classified as Elizabethan poets, it was under the reign of James, and under his personal patronage, that they both did their greatest work. James called himself  “The Cradle King,” quite accurately, because he took over […]

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Jonson, Shakespeare, and Fathers

Ben Jonson was particularly interested in fatherhood, but most of his experiences were sad ones, not really appropriate for this day on which we celebrate our fathers. His most famous poem, surely, is his elegy for his eldest son, Benjamin, who died at the age of seven, while Ben was away visiting a wealthy patron […]

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Happy Birthday, dear Ben

Benjamin Jonson was born on this date in 1572 in Westminster, England. We are so fortunate to have had a new biography and a new edition of his complete works appear in the last year; perhaps at last he will have a place in the popular imagination equal, if not to Shakespeare’s, at least to his […]

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The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire

May 11, 2013 Fifty years ago today, the first Renaissance Pleasure Faire took place in North Hollywood, CA. Born of the same creative energy that spawned many other artifacts of the Sixties, the event was initially a project begun by teacher/artists Phyllis and Ron Patterson, designed to enhance arts and performance education in their community. […]

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