Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Why I Love.....

Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's TTT starts with an explanation, then a history lesson, then a pre-announcement and then the post. Stick with me though, I hope it will be worth it!

The theme for this week's TTT is actually Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies but that's not really something that I spend a lot of time thinking about. Next week's topic is Questions I Would Ask My Favorite Authors so what I am doing this week kind of ties in with that. Sort of.

So what am I doing?

Here begins the history lesson. A very long time ago, I used to be part of a blog called Historical Tapestry, which was a group blog that focused solely on historical fiction and that was active for around 7 years. There were at any one time four or five of us who worked on the blog, and there were times that Historical Tapestry was the blog of my heart. There were so many great features! We hosted the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge for years (which is now hosted by Amy at Passages to the Past). And at the beginning, we had a member who was fabulous with blog design and graphics, so there are some great graphics too.

One of the features I loved most was called Why I Love where we asked the authors one question - to write about something they loved. That one question led to some truly amazing posts so today I am sharing glimpses of ten of those. And why would I do that? Well, because later in the week I am going to be relaunching the feature here, with a post from Donna Morin as part of a blog tour, and I have a few more lined up. And I may be somewhat cheeky and use some of the Why I Love graphics too!

So after that long introduction, here are ten Why I Love posts. I hope some of the links are interesting enough so that you can click through and read the whole posts! As I was preparing this post I got so engrossed in the posts. There are posts about shoes, about cruise ships, about people from history, eras, and so much more.

Why I Love Venice by Donna Russo Morin

I'll start with Donna Russo Morin because she is the author who will be relaunching this feature on Friday. Back in 2010, Donna wrote a post for us on Why I Love Venice. Whilst she is now writing about a different place and time, I have fond memories of my few days in Venice many years ago and I loved her post about the place.

Infatuation with magical, mythical lands has been a part of the human landscape for centuries. Atlantis, Shambhala, the Garden of Eden—all have been the topic of great research and discussion. Yet there are such real, magical places to be found—tangible, breathtaking, awe-inspiring places. And perhaps none is more mystical and compelling than Venice, Italy.

Why I Love Etruscan Art by Elisabeth Storrs

One of my favourite ever posts was by Australian author Elisabeth Storrs. She wrote about a civilisation I knew very little about and her post was so informative. Her post starts:

Funerary art seems a morbid source of inspiration but it was my discovery of an ancient sarcophagus that began my obsession with the art of a little known civilization and a ten year journey to write my novel, The Wedding Shroud.
Even now, rereading this post is completely fascinating.

Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings by Kate Forsyth

It's no secret that I love Kate Forsyth. I have enjoyed several of her novels, particularly the novel Bitter Greens which I have used several times in both TTT and Six Degrees of Separation posts, and there is every chance that book will appear again in the future. It's one I never miss a chance to post about if I can!

So why do I love such retellings? Because they illuminated the dark and hidden depths of fairy tales, the most mysterious and magical of all narratives.

Why I Love Music by Victoria Hislop

I recently borrowed a Victoria Hislop book from the library. I have really enjoyed the ones that I have read so I am very much looking forward to it. Victoria shared her love of Greek music:

Music is never just incidental in Greece, it is always at the centre of any communal activity and I have often found the atmosphere it creates immensely inspirational. And when I take CDs home in my suitcase, I find it travels far better than the local wine!

Why I Love to Write About Russia by Kate Furnivall

I remember reading and enjoying Kate Furnivall's books about Russia so I was pleased when she told us why she loved to write about Russia.

I devoured everything I could lay my hands on about Russia. Books, films, paintings, and of course travelling to the country itself to see it with my own eyes. I was mesmerised. By its fascinating history, its breath-taking geography, its amazing art and literature and by the passion of its people. Above all by its dramatic and often bloody politics that loomed so large over the world throughout the twentieth century.

Why I Love to Write Medieval Fiction by Elizabeth Chadwick

The very first Why I Love post was written by Elizabeth Chadwick who has long been one of my favourite authors, even though I am currently several books behind. She has actually written a couple of Why I Love posts for us but this one is an entertaining tale of how, as I young child, the seeds were sown for her love of medieval history.

Another post was 10 reasons why she loved William Marshall, who is someone she has written about at length.

Elizabeth Chadwick has just released a new book, medieval history of course, so check out The Coming of the Wolf!

Why I Love Time Slip by Susanna Kearsley

Susanna Kearsley is another of my long time favourite novelists. We even had an entire Susanna Kearsley Week for her as some of the other members were big fans too. She has also written a couple of posts for us. This one talks of why she loves writing time slip/dual timeline novels.

Time-slip novels, with their tandem narratives, allow me to explore that past while keeping one foot firmly in the present. And they let me explore, too, the ways that the present is shaped by the past, and the way what is happening now can be rooted in seeds that were sown generations ago. Straight historical novels can do this as well, of course – readers can spot the connections themselves – but I love how the use of both present and past, side by side, can make each one more interesting, just as complementary colours make each other more intense and vivid.

Why I Love Novels That Jump Between the Past and the Present by Pam Jenoff.

A similarly themed post, this time from Pam Jenoff.
Finally, I love stories that jump between past and present because, by showing people in different times and circumstances, they also allow the reader to draw parallels in characters’ experiences and explore timeless themes such as love, friendship, choice, betrayal, consequence and redemption. Perhaps that universality across the ages is at the heart of what makes the very concept of time travel so appealing.
Why I Love Old Letters by Sara Sheridan

Sara Sheridan talks about how you can get to know people through their letters, some of which may not have seen daylight for decades! Letters are one of the ways that history continues to reveal itself through the ages.
For me, there’s nothing like that feeling of getting close to someone who really made history – and that’s why I love old letters. They are as close as any of us is likely to get.

Susan Holloway Scott has now moved to write about American Colonial history but at the time she wrote this guest post for us, she was very much still writing about Restoration history. I loved her books about Charles II and his many, many mistresses.
How can I not love England at its very merriest? Coming on the heels of a horrific civil war, a regicide, and the puritanical protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, the reign of Charles II (1660-1683) is a writer’s delight. Called the Restoration in honor of Charles’s return to the throne, this period has much in common with other permissive eras that follow a repressive period. An entire generation of aristocratic children had grown into adulthood during the Civil War, and many who would once again form the ruling class were rootless, wild, and often undereducated. Once Charles returned from exile in France to take his father’s crown, traditional morality went out the window. There was considerable experimentation, not only in sexual behavior, but also in theatre, science, art, and music, even in fashion. It’s a fascinating time in which to set stories, looking forward to the humanist themes of the Age of Enlightenment, but still sufficiently medieval that traitors’ severed heads rotted on pikes on London Bridge.

So there are just ten Why I Love posts. There are so many more available in the archives at Historical Tapestry, and I can't wait to see what new Why I Love posts are to come!


  1. This could make a good podcast, I think.

    1. Yes. I’m so intrigued by this idea.

    2. I think that you are right. It would! Not sure I am the person to do that though!

  2. You gave me so many great links and information that I could spend all week checking out Passages to the Past and Historical Tapestry.

    Stories that jump from the past to the present are some of my favorites. Etruscan art and Kate Forsythe are also an interest. Wonderful post and links.

    1. Thanks Tina! The Elisabeth Storrs post was so good! I had to include the link here.

  3. This is such a great TTT, but also a series of blog posts -- and Kate Forsyth's answer is just so good!

    1. Kate Forsyth is always great Verushka!

  4. What a fun feature! I'm impressed with the variety of posts that sprang out of one simple question. I'll definitely be looking forward to more What I Love posts.

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!

    1. Thanks Susan! It was lots of fun to revisit the old posts and I can't wait to find out what topics are done next!