When I was fourteen I was faced with a choice. I had to decide which 8 subjects I was going to study over the next two years leading to the GCE ‘O’ level examination. For those who are not familiar with the school leaving examinations in Britain in the 1950s, the initials stand for General Certificate of Education, Ordinary level. This exam was taken by a relatively small proportion of 16 year-olds. An even smaller proportion continued for a further two years and took ‘A’ (for advanced) level GCEs in 2 or 3 subjects leading either to university or a … Continue reading History: atozchallenge
Lot’s of heroic Irish women here. When I was researching for Strongbow’s Wife I could find very little information. As Ali says below, so much was written up or re-written to fit the victor’s and the church’s view of events. I know some believe that, after Strongbow’s death, Aiofe became a warrior woman, fighting his cause. I prefer to think that, as an Irish woman, she deplored what her father had unleashed on Ireland and chose, instead, to look for ways to achieve a peaceful outcome. Maybe that’s just the pacifist in me. What do you think? Continue reading Warrior Women of Ireland
Following Strongbow’s death, Aoife was given the dowerage of Striguil Castle and estate. Her children were in the custody of King Henry at the Tower of London. On arrival at Striguil she would have discovered a great deal of hostility from native Welsh towards her husband’s fellow Normans. The immediate cause of Welsh anger was the massacre that took place at Abergavenny Castle the previous Christmas. In my fictional version she is horrified by accounts of the event and decides to travel to Hereford in order to remonstrate with the wife and mother-in-law of the man responsible. En-route she seeks … Continue reading The Search for Peace: Strongbow’s Wife extract
Like Transgression, Strongbow’s Wife has two covers. The paper back version has a cover using a CreateSpace template. The e-book has a cover I created using an image from the Daniel Maclise painting of The Marriage of Strongbow and Eva. At the time that seemed to be appropriate for the subject. It is, however, very busy. For a while now I’ve been wanting to redesign it using an image of a woman in medieval costume. I kept searching the internet to find a suitable photograph but none quite seemed to fit the bill. Too many were obviously fantasy costumes. And … Continue reading Which Cover Grabs You?
29th August: the marriage of Aiofe and Strongbow. In this edited extract from Strongbow’s Wife Aiofe contemplates the horrors perpetrated in Waterford in the preceding days. I thought that a night’s sleep would help prepare me for what the next day would bring. How foolish I was! It was impossible to sleep. Three summers had passed since I last saw my husband-to-be. Whenever I recalled those days spent at Striguil it was the hunting parties that crowded my mind; the days spent with De Clare’s sister Basilia, the thrill of sending a great bird into the sky and the joy … Continue reading To Wed or Not to Wed
In the last week of August, 1170, events took place in Waterford which would have a profound effect on the future of Britain and Ireland. Three years earlier a man called Dermot MacMurrow had made an agreement with one Richard De Clare. De Clare was to raise a force to invade Ireland and help MacMurrow to restore his position as one of the most important men in the island. In return MacMurrow would give his daughter Aiofe to De Clare in marriage. A small force had arrived in 1168 under the command of De Clare’s uncle. This force had limited … Continue reading The Sacking of Waterford