Michelle spoke to historian, author and speaker, Karen Bowman for this months EMB Book Club along with award winning writer and co host, Sylvia Kent.
Karen has taken the term Essex Girls and Essex Boys and turned them on their head with her fantastic historical books.
We chatted about her books, historical dress, time travel and more.
INTERVIEW KAREN BOWMAN
ESSEX GIRLS: THE SCANDALOUS HISTORY OF THE WOMEN OF ESSEX
Queen, temptress, martyr, witch: the Essex Girl has left her mark on history. For centuries, society allocated women a role of service and obedience; an invisible woman, circumscribed by home and family, was a righteous woman. The Essex Girl, however, was a rebel. She has been the most powerful of landowners, the most loyal of wives, the most devout and the most debauched of nuns. Courageous and spirited, she has fought for her country, sacrificed herself for peace, swum rivers for love, and crossed oceans for her beliefs. She has known wealth and adoration, and suffered persecution and banishment; but, whether saint or seductress, victim or wanton, she has always refused to be invisible. This book tells her story.
Warrior, prince, lover and rogue: there is much to be said for the Essex man. Henry VIII, Daniel Defoe and Wat Tyler are all covered along with many more in this exciting exploration of Essex Boys. Pepys and Dickens captured Essex in words, while the heads of great Essex families administered its laws and kept the county in order. Men of Essex have battled Viking marauders, defied Norman warlords, sailed with ‘hearts of oak’ against the Spanish Armada and vanquished Napoleon on both land and sea. A man of music, science and literature, the Essex Boy will always be a man of many guises. Strong and loyal, passionate and ruthless – he is here in the pages of this book. Augustine Courtauld, Byrhtnoth, Charles Dickens, The Coggeshall Gang, Colchester Jack, Daniel Defoe, Daniel London, Daniel Mendoza, Dick Turpin, Eudo Dapifer, The Lords Rich, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Humphry Repton, The Ingrave Scribes, John Ardley, John Pell, Captain Oates, Myles Graye, Philip Sainty, Prince Albert Edward, Richard Parker, Sir John Hawkwood, Nathaniel Hedge, William Hunter
CORSETS AND CODPIECES: A HISTORY OF OUTRAGEOUS, FROM ROMAN TIMES TO THE MODERN ERA
Have you ever wondered why we wear the type of clothes we do? Packed with outlandish outfits, this exciting history of fashion trends reveals the flamboyant fashions adopted (and discarded) by our ancestors.
Sylvia’s Book recommendation for this month is
THE TURNING POINT: A GRIPPING EMOTIONAL PAGE-TURNER WITH A BREATHTAKING TWIST by FREYA NORTH
A Sunday Times bestseller and word-of-mouth sensation, this beautifully written novel is moving, life-affirming and one you will never forget.
Two single parents, Frankie and Scott, meet unexpectedly. Their homes are far apart: Frankie lives with her children on the North Norfolk coast, Scott in the mountains of British Columbia. Yet though thousands of miles divide them, a million little things connect them. A spark ignites, a recognition so strong that it dares them to take a risk.
For two families, life is about to change. But no-one anticipates the way in which it will be turned on its head forever.
INTERVIEW SYLVIA KENT
Sylvia is a freelance author/columnist and is loved for her enthusiasm for writing and for helping other writers achieve their goals. Sylvia is a powerhouse of original ideas with her work published in national, regional and on-line press. She also has a hugely successful blog https://sylviakent.blogspot.com/
Sylvia’s latest traditionally published book BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS is on Amazon and bookshops. Following Freelance Writer of the Year award (Writing Magazine) her work has appeared in 75 titles and her work, FOLKLORE OF ESSEX contributed to Channel 5’s film COUNTY SECRETS. THE WOMAN WRITER was published by the History Press. Her book outlines the history of the SWWJ’s 1894 foundation and includes our pioneering members in journalism, literature & poetry. The famous Joyce Grenfell, former SWWJ President enjoys a dedicated chapter.
Sylvia’s books were reviewed in The Times and other dailies. As SWWJ’s archivist. she’s immersed in new historical research, contributing to on-line press, see her downloadable Kindle books. Also Facebook,Twitter & Amazon @sylviaakent & film/audio clips added. BARKING & DAGENHAM FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS and BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS. Sylvia is a Fellow of the SWWJ and recently won the John Walter Silver Salver two years running.