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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

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


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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

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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.


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    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!

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