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The Fascination by Essie Fox #Review #Giveaway

   Today be prepared for a dark, Victorian gothic novel! The Fascination by Essie Fox is published on June 22nd by Orenda . For the chance to win a print copy of The Fascination see the foot of this post for details. Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions… Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his

Literary Ramblings around Stratford upon Avon : In search of William Shakespeare - 5 years on


c. Books, Life and Everything

It has been five years since my last visit to Statford upon Avon in 2016. Since then, I have gained two more grandchildren taking the total to four, and along with everyone else, lived through a global pandemic! This was our first trip away in years and a chance to dip our toes back into the world a little. You can read my post about my previous visit here. We were able to take in The Comedy of Errors in the wonderful Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre in the shade of The Swan Theatre, and also visited Shakespeare's New Place and Anne Hathaway's Cottage

First, we loved our visit to the New Place, the site of Shakespeare's house in his later years and when it was built, the biggest in Stratford.

    You enter through Nash's House which is next door and after

c. Books, Life and Everything

walking round the exhibition there, are free to wander around the site of Shakespeare's house. This is where he lived out his later years and where he died in 1616. He bought it for £120 from William Underhill in 1597. This would have been just after the first performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II and Romeo and Juliet, thought to have been written around 1595-6. In 1598, A
Merchant of Venice
was registered for publication, as was Henty IV Part 1.  You certainly get the feeling of the size of this rather grand family home It was the only house with a courtyard which is marked out on the ground. As there were 10 hearths, you can say that the house would have had between 20 and 30 rooms and towards the back was a large medieval hall where Shakespeare's family would have gathered.


c. Books, Life and Everything
    Today the site is set out with beautiful
gardens. I loved the Elizabethan Knot garden in particular.There are also some specially commissioned art works reflecting the world view at the time.You
can also follow a series of sculptures which reflect different plays. My favourite has to be A Midsummer Night's Dream.  There are plenty of quiet spots to sit and ponder and in all, it is a lovely experience to be there.


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We also visited Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery which is just outside town, This is where Shakespeare's wife, Anne, was born, brought up and lived as a child.Shakespeare would have visited her here. You can go inside the house, see the original three rooms she would have known so well, then also see the rest of the house which was added later. The rooms are set out as they might have been. There are some gorgeous cottage gardens to the front where the farm animals would have been kept. Beyond, you can wander through the orchards and see the Sculpture Trail, all with a Shakespearean flavour. We especially liked The History Plays with its map of Britain.

I'll write about The Comedy of Errors on a separate post but for now I'll leave you with an RSC cup of coffee!

c. Books, Life and Everything



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