(Review) Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors, Volume 2 by Debra Brown

Publication Date: September 30, 2015.
Publisher: Madison Street Publishing.
Genre: British History.
Pages: 598.
Source: Free ebook copy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.


An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share the stories, incidents, and insights discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.
From medieval law and literature to Tudor queens and courtiers, from Stuart royals and rebels to Regency soldiers and social calls, experience the panorama of Britain’s yesteryear. Explore the history behind the fiction, and discover the true tales surrounding Britain’s castles, customs, and kings.
Visit the English Historical Fiction Authors blog & Facebook page.

My Thoughts: 
The first two sections of the book are titled: "Pre-Roman To Early Medieval Britain" and "Late Medieval Period." The years cover 55 B.C. to A.D. 1485. These are my favorite periods to read about in British history, especially the period between the time the Romans left and until William the Conqueror's reign. 
Contributing authors of these chapters: Mark Patton, Richard Denning, Octavia Randolph, Rosanne Lortz, Lisa Yarde, Carol McGrath, Patricia Bracewell, Paula Lofting, Martin Lake, Helena P. Schrader, Arthur Russell, Scott Howard, Christy English, Nancy Bilyeau, Lana Williams, Antoine Vanner, Katherine Ashe, Judith Arnopp, Anne O'Brien, Anna Belfrage, and Anne E. Johnson. 

Several factors led me to give this gem of a book 5 stars for excellent:
  • Multi-use book. The book can be read from cover to cover, read as a reference book, or in reading stories in history that are of interest.
  • Engaging historical facts. "The Coligny Calendar And The Rhythms Of The Iron Age Year" by Mark Patton. In this chapter, I learned about the calendar for this era, including festivals, and the names and spellings of the months. "The Mission Of St. Augustine" by Richard Denning. In this chapter, I learned about Pope Gregory's quest to convert the English. He gave the task to Augustine, later he became Saint Augustine of Canterbury. I learned the order and progress of this history, but also Augustine's personality. "Alternate Histories of The Norman Conquest," Part One and Two (2 chapters) by Rosanne E. Lortz and Paula Lofting. In these chapters, I was given historical "primary sources" from both Anglo-Saxon and Norman. I felt this was a thorough teaching on a period in history that's difficult to interpret without bias. These chapters were some of my favorites in the entire book! 
  • Interesting character views. "A King, An Earl, And The Terrible Death Of A Prince" by Paula Lofting, and the two chapters, part one and two on the "Alternate Histories of the Norman Conquest." Edward the Confessor is an enigma. I prefer to read about mighty kings. Men of robust health and vigor. Men who fight valiantly. For example, Harold II and Oswald. Poor Edward, he did have a rough start, and his mother was not motherly, but instead a vixen. The sad tale of his brother Alfred left Edward bitter. Edward is forgivable, but not a favorite king to read about. Contrasting Edward with Harold II, and later Edgar Aetheling gave three polar views of kings. I loved reading these chapters. All of the characters in history came alive, even if one of them was a bit lumpy. 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 16
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Tuesday, November 17
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Wednesday, November 18
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Thursday, November 19
Review at Unabridged Chick
Friday, November 20
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Saturday, November 21
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Monday, November 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
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Tuesday, November 24
Spotlight at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, November 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, November 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Friday, November 27
Review at Bookish
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Saturday, November 28
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, November 30
Review at Impressions In Ink
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at The True Book Addict


  1. Thank you so much for posting this excellent review. I'm promoting the page!

  2. Thank you Debra you are kind! I have a two more British history/historical fiction books to review: Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel and Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede.


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