2017 3 years blogiverasy Blogiversary Giveaway Giveaway Guest Post Hazel Gaynor
3rd Blogiversary: Guest Post by Hazel Gaynor + Giveaway
The Blogiversary celebrations continue today with a Top Three by historical fiction author Hazel Gaynor and a Giveaway of her latest book. I adore Hazel's books, so it's an honour to welcome her to the blog:
I love historical novels because I’m fascinated by the way people lived in the past, and by the life-changing events that took place over the last century. Often it’s an image from the era, or a person or event I read about that first ignites the creative spark, then I let my imagination take over. My first novel (The Girl Who Came Home) was inspired by the Irish connections to the Titanic, my second (A Memory of Violets) by the flower sellers of Covent Garden in Victorian London, my third (The Girl From The Savoy) by the Great War and 1920s London and my fourth (The Cottingley Secret) by ‘alleged’ photographs of fairies at the bottom of the garden. I’m nothing if not diverse! It is probably no surprise that my book shelves are full of historical novels, and here are just three of my favourites (although I could easily argue the case for many more!)
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - This was my first Philippa Gregory novel and I loved it so much I went on to read all her others. I studied History to A’ Level and thought I knew a lot about the Tudors, especially Henry VIII and his six wives, but this novel challenged the historical assumptions of that period by telling the story from the point of view of the women who had mostly been written out of the history books. Who had ever heard of Mary Boleyn?! I firmly believe this was the novel that led to me write historical fiction because for the first time I could see a way to combine my fascination with history with my desire to write fiction. Philippa Gregory offers a unique insight into a period of history we think we know, and brings it to life through her attention to detail and brilliant storytelling. She writes history in a way that feels almost contemporary in its narrative and voice. Her real skill is in giving the reader the sense that we are always peering over the shoulders of these characters. Far from being separated by centuries, we are right there in the room with them, privy to their innermost thoughts, fears and secrets. I interviewed Philippa Gregory in 2012 and she kindly gave me some wonderful advice as a new writer. Her signed copy of The Other Boleyn Girl sits proudly on the shelf above my desk.
Restoration and Merivel by Rose Tremain - Robert Merivel, physician and courtier to King Charles II, is one of my favourite fictional characters – historical, or otherwise. His story begins in Tremain’s Booker Prize nominated novel from 1989, Restoration and continues in Merivel. Set in the seventeenth-century, following the gaudy years of the Restoration, Tremain brings humour, pathos, warmth and a huge sense of place and character to these exceptional novels. I cannot remember when I last cried at the end of a book, purely because I was so sad to part company with a character I had fallen in love with. Merivel, and his wonderfully imagined life, are an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Fabulous.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - This beautiful little epistolary novel, set on the island of Guernsey in the aftermath of World War II, is full of wonderful characters, wit and emotion. It opened my eyes to how historical events can be written about in a way that feels far more immediate and personal than a straight historical account and is a book I have re-read many times, and often evangelise about to anyone who will listen! This book also led me to want to understand more about the two world wars. My co-written historical epistolary novel LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS, due out later this year, was partly inspired by this wonderful book.
Thank you for inviting me to be part of your third birthday celebrations, and congratulations on reaching this milestone! I’m a big admirer of ‘Alba in Bookland’ and wish you many more happy years of reading and blogging.
Thank you so much Hazel for stopping by and sharing your love for historical novels with us. I absolutely adore The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society too, such an amazing book! But not as amazing as The Girl from the Savoy, Hazel Gaynor's latest book. And today you can win a signed copy of it.
"The Girl from the Savoy is a fascinating story with captivating characters and a stunning setting and it went directly to my top read of the 2016. I think there was not a thing I didn't love about this book. Seriously, historical fiction at its best."
Read my full review here
The Giveaway is open to Europe and the winner will be contacted via email. They will have then 48 hours to claim their prize. Good luck!