None Else of Name

Susanna here, with thoughts about the captains and the kings…and pawns.

“History,” Sir Winston Churchill reportedly once said, “is written by the victors.” True enough, but we should also be aware that history, until recently, was written by the privileged, and the privileged had a certain way of looking at the world; of judging what—and whom—deserved to be recorded, and remembered.

PrestonPrisoners

The Preston prisoners, from a broadside of the time.

In research I once came across an account of the Battle of Preston, in 1715, written by one of the Jacobite chaplains. “There were taken at Preston seven Lords,” he wrote, then thought to add, “besides 1490 others…”
 
The way he wrote that, so easily dismissing those more than a thousand men while he focused on the fates of the noble lords, made me think of the scene in Shakespeare’s Henry V, when, after the Battle of Agincourt, King Henry asks his herald: “Where is the number of our English dead?” When he’s handed the list, he reads aloud the names of two nobles, a knight, and a gentleman, and then concludes: “None else of name.”



The thing is, it’s those “none else of name” who make history, for me, and it’s their stories I want to put on the page. Not the kings or the queens, but the little-known, ordinary people who fought and took risks, and whose lives made a difference that’s never been noticed by most of the history books.

Moray stoneI find them most often by chance. A stray name in an article might catch my interest, and I start digging, and find not a name, but a life—still preserved in the journals and documents kept in the dustier corners of archives; in churchyards and land records, small scattered scraps that together reveal a whole person. I learn where they lived, who they loved, and sometimes more revealingly, who loved them. And if I’m fortunate, I find a letter they wrote in their own words. Their own voice.

The best part of writing my books lies in giving those people their voices again, and restoring their place in the history they helped shape.

Gold pawn on red and brown chess board with silver king queen a 2These people weren’t inconsequential. They mattered to the friends and family round them, and their influence at times went far beyond that. A king might make plans, but the ordinary men are the ones who must turn plans to action, and having delved into the lives of these people it seems wrong to me that the things they have done and accomplished and sacrificed don’t get acknowledged.

Many of the characters I write about don’t warrant half a line in any history book, but in my novels I can let them live again, and let their true-life stories drive my plots.

Do you prefer to read about the kings and queens, or ordinary people, or a bit of both?

145 thoughts on “None Else of Name”

  1. I think I prefer a bit of both. I like it when kings and queens are depicted as ‘real people’, not as if they were ‘some different species’, but I wouldn’t want a book to focus only on such characters. To make a historical novel believable and engaging, I think it takes a wide variety of characters and backgrounds, adding to the complexity of the story. It’s important that the readers could relate to the characters, no matter their place in society; but I also want to see ‘the big picture’.

    Reply
  2. I think I prefer a bit of both. I like it when kings and queens are depicted as ‘real people’, not as if they were ‘some different species’, but I wouldn’t want a book to focus only on such characters. To make a historical novel believable and engaging, I think it takes a wide variety of characters and backgrounds, adding to the complexity of the story. It’s important that the readers could relate to the characters, no matter their place in society; but I also want to see ‘the big picture’.

    Reply
  3. I think I prefer a bit of both. I like it when kings and queens are depicted as ‘real people’, not as if they were ‘some different species’, but I wouldn’t want a book to focus only on such characters. To make a historical novel believable and engaging, I think it takes a wide variety of characters and backgrounds, adding to the complexity of the story. It’s important that the readers could relate to the characters, no matter their place in society; but I also want to see ‘the big picture’.

    Reply
  4. I think I prefer a bit of both. I like it when kings and queens are depicted as ‘real people’, not as if they were ‘some different species’, but I wouldn’t want a book to focus only on such characters. To make a historical novel believable and engaging, I think it takes a wide variety of characters and backgrounds, adding to the complexity of the story. It’s important that the readers could relate to the characters, no matter their place in society; but I also want to see ‘the big picture’.

    Reply
  5. I think I prefer a bit of both. I like it when kings and queens are depicted as ‘real people’, not as if they were ‘some different species’, but I wouldn’t want a book to focus only on such characters. To make a historical novel believable and engaging, I think it takes a wide variety of characters and backgrounds, adding to the complexity of the story. It’s important that the readers could relate to the characters, no matter their place in society; but I also want to see ‘the big picture’.

    Reply
  6. When it comes to royalty, I’m okay with “faction” (fiction based on real events or characters) – for instance Karen Hapers’s THE ROYAL NANNY. But when it comes to pure fiction (especially of the romance kind) royalty doesn’t interest me at all. Can’t say definitively why – it just doesn’t.
    I love historical romance. I way over indulge in these books. I’ve said before that if you went solely by all of these books, you would think that half of the regency population were aristocrats and the other half those who served them (smile).
    It is the quality of the story that is important – not the character’s titles. I personally think that a well drawn character would be just as interesting if they were a simple mister or miss.

    Reply
  7. When it comes to royalty, I’m okay with “faction” (fiction based on real events or characters) – for instance Karen Hapers’s THE ROYAL NANNY. But when it comes to pure fiction (especially of the romance kind) royalty doesn’t interest me at all. Can’t say definitively why – it just doesn’t.
    I love historical romance. I way over indulge in these books. I’ve said before that if you went solely by all of these books, you would think that half of the regency population were aristocrats and the other half those who served them (smile).
    It is the quality of the story that is important – not the character’s titles. I personally think that a well drawn character would be just as interesting if they were a simple mister or miss.

    Reply
  8. When it comes to royalty, I’m okay with “faction” (fiction based on real events or characters) – for instance Karen Hapers’s THE ROYAL NANNY. But when it comes to pure fiction (especially of the romance kind) royalty doesn’t interest me at all. Can’t say definitively why – it just doesn’t.
    I love historical romance. I way over indulge in these books. I’ve said before that if you went solely by all of these books, you would think that half of the regency population were aristocrats and the other half those who served them (smile).
    It is the quality of the story that is important – not the character’s titles. I personally think that a well drawn character would be just as interesting if they were a simple mister or miss.

    Reply
  9. When it comes to royalty, I’m okay with “faction” (fiction based on real events or characters) – for instance Karen Hapers’s THE ROYAL NANNY. But when it comes to pure fiction (especially of the romance kind) royalty doesn’t interest me at all. Can’t say definitively why – it just doesn’t.
    I love historical romance. I way over indulge in these books. I’ve said before that if you went solely by all of these books, you would think that half of the regency population were aristocrats and the other half those who served them (smile).
    It is the quality of the story that is important – not the character’s titles. I personally think that a well drawn character would be just as interesting if they were a simple mister or miss.

    Reply
  10. When it comes to royalty, I’m okay with “faction” (fiction based on real events or characters) – for instance Karen Hapers’s THE ROYAL NANNY. But when it comes to pure fiction (especially of the romance kind) royalty doesn’t interest me at all. Can’t say definitively why – it just doesn’t.
    I love historical romance. I way over indulge in these books. I’ve said before that if you went solely by all of these books, you would think that half of the regency population were aristocrats and the other half those who served them (smile).
    It is the quality of the story that is important – not the character’s titles. I personally think that a well drawn character would be just as interesting if they were a simple mister or miss.

    Reply
  11. Oana-Maria, yes, I like to see the kings and queens as human, too. I love to find and read THEIR letters also, because that gives me an entirely new window on their lives and personalities and motivations.
    I developed a great respect and fondness for King James III (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father) after reading the letters he wrote to his mother, his friends, and his wife and two sons.
    And the lifetime of love letters between Tsar Peter the Great and his wife, the first Empress Catherine, are beautiful things to read.

    Reply
  12. Oana-Maria, yes, I like to see the kings and queens as human, too. I love to find and read THEIR letters also, because that gives me an entirely new window on their lives and personalities and motivations.
    I developed a great respect and fondness for King James III (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father) after reading the letters he wrote to his mother, his friends, and his wife and two sons.
    And the lifetime of love letters between Tsar Peter the Great and his wife, the first Empress Catherine, are beautiful things to read.

    Reply
  13. Oana-Maria, yes, I like to see the kings and queens as human, too. I love to find and read THEIR letters also, because that gives me an entirely new window on their lives and personalities and motivations.
    I developed a great respect and fondness for King James III (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father) after reading the letters he wrote to his mother, his friends, and his wife and two sons.
    And the lifetime of love letters between Tsar Peter the Great and his wife, the first Empress Catherine, are beautiful things to read.

    Reply
  14. Oana-Maria, yes, I like to see the kings and queens as human, too. I love to find and read THEIR letters also, because that gives me an entirely new window on their lives and personalities and motivations.
    I developed a great respect and fondness for King James III (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father) after reading the letters he wrote to his mother, his friends, and his wife and two sons.
    And the lifetime of love letters between Tsar Peter the Great and his wife, the first Empress Catherine, are beautiful things to read.

    Reply
  15. Oana-Maria, yes, I like to see the kings and queens as human, too. I love to find and read THEIR letters also, because that gives me an entirely new window on their lives and personalities and motivations.
    I developed a great respect and fondness for King James III (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father) after reading the letters he wrote to his mother, his friends, and his wife and two sons.
    And the lifetime of love letters between Tsar Peter the Great and his wife, the first Empress Catherine, are beautiful things to read.

    Reply
  16. Mary, I’m a big historical romance reader, too. Always was. In my mind, there’s no such thing as over-indulgence :-)!
    And I agree with you–it’s the character who draws us in, regardless of his or her station in life.

    Reply
  17. Mary, I’m a big historical romance reader, too. Always was. In my mind, there’s no such thing as over-indulgence :-)!
    And I agree with you–it’s the character who draws us in, regardless of his or her station in life.

    Reply
  18. Mary, I’m a big historical romance reader, too. Always was. In my mind, there’s no such thing as over-indulgence :-)!
    And I agree with you–it’s the character who draws us in, regardless of his or her station in life.

    Reply
  19. Mary, I’m a big historical romance reader, too. Always was. In my mind, there’s no such thing as over-indulgence :-)!
    And I agree with you–it’s the character who draws us in, regardless of his or her station in life.

    Reply
  20. Mary, I’m a big historical romance reader, too. Always was. In my mind, there’s no such thing as over-indulgence :-)!
    And I agree with you–it’s the character who draws us in, regardless of his or her station in life.

    Reply
  21. Susanna, I loved your piece and agree with you completely,: the acts/motivations/loves/losses etc. of the “un-named” have made history move as much or more than the powerful, and I find accounts of their lives fascinating. BUT, you’ve whet my curiosity: where can I find the love letters between Peter the Great and his wife?!

    Reply
  22. Susanna, I loved your piece and agree with you completely,: the acts/motivations/loves/losses etc. of the “un-named” have made history move as much or more than the powerful, and I find accounts of their lives fascinating. BUT, you’ve whet my curiosity: where can I find the love letters between Peter the Great and his wife?!

    Reply
  23. Susanna, I loved your piece and agree with you completely,: the acts/motivations/loves/losses etc. of the “un-named” have made history move as much or more than the powerful, and I find accounts of their lives fascinating. BUT, you’ve whet my curiosity: where can I find the love letters between Peter the Great and his wife?!

    Reply
  24. Susanna, I loved your piece and agree with you completely,: the acts/motivations/loves/losses etc. of the “un-named” have made history move as much or more than the powerful, and I find accounts of their lives fascinating. BUT, you’ve whet my curiosity: where can I find the love letters between Peter the Great and his wife?!

    Reply
  25. Susanna, I loved your piece and agree with you completely,: the acts/motivations/loves/losses etc. of the “un-named” have made history move as much or more than the powerful, and I find accounts of their lives fascinating. BUT, you’ve whet my curiosity: where can I find the love letters between Peter the Great and his wife?!

    Reply
  26. I am an extreme lover of history. So, I am interested in reading about anyone who lived in the long ago. In my family background the people who lived that history were neither kings nor queens, but they were there, working and living and populating different areas of the world. History is people whether those people sat on thrones or on a 3 legged stool.

    Reply
  27. I am an extreme lover of history. So, I am interested in reading about anyone who lived in the long ago. In my family background the people who lived that history were neither kings nor queens, but they were there, working and living and populating different areas of the world. History is people whether those people sat on thrones or on a 3 legged stool.

    Reply
  28. I am an extreme lover of history. So, I am interested in reading about anyone who lived in the long ago. In my family background the people who lived that history were neither kings nor queens, but they were there, working and living and populating different areas of the world. History is people whether those people sat on thrones or on a 3 legged stool.

    Reply
  29. I am an extreme lover of history. So, I am interested in reading about anyone who lived in the long ago. In my family background the people who lived that history were neither kings nor queens, but they were there, working and living and populating different areas of the world. History is people whether those people sat on thrones or on a 3 legged stool.

    Reply
  30. I am an extreme lover of history. So, I am interested in reading about anyone who lived in the long ago. In my family background the people who lived that history were neither kings nor queens, but they were there, working and living and populating different areas of the world. History is people whether those people sat on thrones or on a 3 legged stool.

    Reply
  31. Since I’ve been a genealogist for the past dozen years, and my ancestors all seem to have been poor or ‘solid hard workers’ I definitely resonate to your article.
    Unfortunately those people left so little in the way of records. I’ve found only a smidge of a diary of one person, no letters, no articles… Sigh.
    I love your stories as much for the fascinating insights into the daily lives of people of different stations, as for the mysteries/romance.

    Reply
  32. Since I’ve been a genealogist for the past dozen years, and my ancestors all seem to have been poor or ‘solid hard workers’ I definitely resonate to your article.
    Unfortunately those people left so little in the way of records. I’ve found only a smidge of a diary of one person, no letters, no articles… Sigh.
    I love your stories as much for the fascinating insights into the daily lives of people of different stations, as for the mysteries/romance.

    Reply
  33. Since I’ve been a genealogist for the past dozen years, and my ancestors all seem to have been poor or ‘solid hard workers’ I definitely resonate to your article.
    Unfortunately those people left so little in the way of records. I’ve found only a smidge of a diary of one person, no letters, no articles… Sigh.
    I love your stories as much for the fascinating insights into the daily lives of people of different stations, as for the mysteries/romance.

    Reply
  34. Since I’ve been a genealogist for the past dozen years, and my ancestors all seem to have been poor or ‘solid hard workers’ I definitely resonate to your article.
    Unfortunately those people left so little in the way of records. I’ve found only a smidge of a diary of one person, no letters, no articles… Sigh.
    I love your stories as much for the fascinating insights into the daily lives of people of different stations, as for the mysteries/romance.

    Reply
  35. Since I’ve been a genealogist for the past dozen years, and my ancestors all seem to have been poor or ‘solid hard workers’ I definitely resonate to your article.
    Unfortunately those people left so little in the way of records. I’ve found only a smidge of a diary of one person, no letters, no articles… Sigh.
    I love your stories as much for the fascinating insights into the daily lives of people of different stations, as for the mysteries/romance.

    Reply
  36. I may say I like both, but when I look at my lineup of books, they tell me: ordinary people. Some of them are memoirs, so now they’re famous ordinary people, but none of them are kings and queens. The fictional people who have won my heart could not be spotted in a crowd, but in the hands of a skilled writer they are extraordinary, unforgettable ~ and I’m grateful for that. They help me understand myself and the people in my life better. I’m reading one of your books again, by the way; the one about the woman with Asperger’s. Reading that has helped me understand a very good friend of mine who has been identified that way. He and I thank you for that. Looking forward to your next book!
    Be well, Janice

    Reply
  37. I may say I like both, but when I look at my lineup of books, they tell me: ordinary people. Some of them are memoirs, so now they’re famous ordinary people, but none of them are kings and queens. The fictional people who have won my heart could not be spotted in a crowd, but in the hands of a skilled writer they are extraordinary, unforgettable ~ and I’m grateful for that. They help me understand myself and the people in my life better. I’m reading one of your books again, by the way; the one about the woman with Asperger’s. Reading that has helped me understand a very good friend of mine who has been identified that way. He and I thank you for that. Looking forward to your next book!
    Be well, Janice

    Reply
  38. I may say I like both, but when I look at my lineup of books, they tell me: ordinary people. Some of them are memoirs, so now they’re famous ordinary people, but none of them are kings and queens. The fictional people who have won my heart could not be spotted in a crowd, but in the hands of a skilled writer they are extraordinary, unforgettable ~ and I’m grateful for that. They help me understand myself and the people in my life better. I’m reading one of your books again, by the way; the one about the woman with Asperger’s. Reading that has helped me understand a very good friend of mine who has been identified that way. He and I thank you for that. Looking forward to your next book!
    Be well, Janice

    Reply
  39. I may say I like both, but when I look at my lineup of books, they tell me: ordinary people. Some of them are memoirs, so now they’re famous ordinary people, but none of them are kings and queens. The fictional people who have won my heart could not be spotted in a crowd, but in the hands of a skilled writer they are extraordinary, unforgettable ~ and I’m grateful for that. They help me understand myself and the people in my life better. I’m reading one of your books again, by the way; the one about the woman with Asperger’s. Reading that has helped me understand a very good friend of mine who has been identified that way. He and I thank you for that. Looking forward to your next book!
    Be well, Janice

    Reply
  40. I may say I like both, but when I look at my lineup of books, they tell me: ordinary people. Some of them are memoirs, so now they’re famous ordinary people, but none of them are kings and queens. The fictional people who have won my heart could not be spotted in a crowd, but in the hands of a skilled writer they are extraordinary, unforgettable ~ and I’m grateful for that. They help me understand myself and the people in my life better. I’m reading one of your books again, by the way; the one about the woman with Asperger’s. Reading that has helped me understand a very good friend of mine who has been identified that way. He and I thank you for that. Looking forward to your next book!
    Be well, Janice

    Reply
  41. I like to read about both the aristocracy and more common people. I enjoyed Carla Kelly’s Regency books because her main characters were often not of the aristocracy. I understand she took a lot of grief for lack of attention to historical details like proper address, and ranks to the point that she eventually quit writing about that era which was a loss of a good story teller in an era I enjoy reading about in mho.
    History was certainly “made” by people without titles regardless of who led them. A non-fiction history book I’ve mentioned before is “Ordinary American” edited by Linda R. Monk and is “U.S. History through the eyes of everyday people” drawn from letters, dairies, autobiographical accounts and interviews. About 200 entries covering 500 years of history. What a treasure trove!
    And history has certainly formally been recorded by the privileged. I remember searching for an appropriate set of history books for my class in the book closet of a Southern school in the very late 1960’s. I previewed the section of the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War or War Between the States as it’s called in that part of the U.S. and finding the line “…and the good white people of the South…” Quite different from what you’d read in a book published for schools in the North to say the least.

    Reply
  42. I like to read about both the aristocracy and more common people. I enjoyed Carla Kelly’s Regency books because her main characters were often not of the aristocracy. I understand she took a lot of grief for lack of attention to historical details like proper address, and ranks to the point that she eventually quit writing about that era which was a loss of a good story teller in an era I enjoy reading about in mho.
    History was certainly “made” by people without titles regardless of who led them. A non-fiction history book I’ve mentioned before is “Ordinary American” edited by Linda R. Monk and is “U.S. History through the eyes of everyday people” drawn from letters, dairies, autobiographical accounts and interviews. About 200 entries covering 500 years of history. What a treasure trove!
    And history has certainly formally been recorded by the privileged. I remember searching for an appropriate set of history books for my class in the book closet of a Southern school in the very late 1960’s. I previewed the section of the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War or War Between the States as it’s called in that part of the U.S. and finding the line “…and the good white people of the South…” Quite different from what you’d read in a book published for schools in the North to say the least.

    Reply
  43. I like to read about both the aristocracy and more common people. I enjoyed Carla Kelly’s Regency books because her main characters were often not of the aristocracy. I understand she took a lot of grief for lack of attention to historical details like proper address, and ranks to the point that she eventually quit writing about that era which was a loss of a good story teller in an era I enjoy reading about in mho.
    History was certainly “made” by people without titles regardless of who led them. A non-fiction history book I’ve mentioned before is “Ordinary American” edited by Linda R. Monk and is “U.S. History through the eyes of everyday people” drawn from letters, dairies, autobiographical accounts and interviews. About 200 entries covering 500 years of history. What a treasure trove!
    And history has certainly formally been recorded by the privileged. I remember searching for an appropriate set of history books for my class in the book closet of a Southern school in the very late 1960’s. I previewed the section of the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War or War Between the States as it’s called in that part of the U.S. and finding the line “…and the good white people of the South…” Quite different from what you’d read in a book published for schools in the North to say the least.

    Reply
  44. I like to read about both the aristocracy and more common people. I enjoyed Carla Kelly’s Regency books because her main characters were often not of the aristocracy. I understand she took a lot of grief for lack of attention to historical details like proper address, and ranks to the point that she eventually quit writing about that era which was a loss of a good story teller in an era I enjoy reading about in mho.
    History was certainly “made” by people without titles regardless of who led them. A non-fiction history book I’ve mentioned before is “Ordinary American” edited by Linda R. Monk and is “U.S. History through the eyes of everyday people” drawn from letters, dairies, autobiographical accounts and interviews. About 200 entries covering 500 years of history. What a treasure trove!
    And history has certainly formally been recorded by the privileged. I remember searching for an appropriate set of history books for my class in the book closet of a Southern school in the very late 1960’s. I previewed the section of the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War or War Between the States as it’s called in that part of the U.S. and finding the line “…and the good white people of the South…” Quite different from what you’d read in a book published for schools in the North to say the least.

    Reply
  45. I like to read about both the aristocracy and more common people. I enjoyed Carla Kelly’s Regency books because her main characters were often not of the aristocracy. I understand she took a lot of grief for lack of attention to historical details like proper address, and ranks to the point that she eventually quit writing about that era which was a loss of a good story teller in an era I enjoy reading about in mho.
    History was certainly “made” by people without titles regardless of who led them. A non-fiction history book I’ve mentioned before is “Ordinary American” edited by Linda R. Monk and is “U.S. History through the eyes of everyday people” drawn from letters, dairies, autobiographical accounts and interviews. About 200 entries covering 500 years of history. What a treasure trove!
    And history has certainly formally been recorded by the privileged. I remember searching for an appropriate set of history books for my class in the book closet of a Southern school in the very late 1960’s. I previewed the section of the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War or War Between the States as it’s called in that part of the U.S. and finding the line “…and the good white people of the South…” Quite different from what you’d read in a book published for schools in the North to say the least.

    Reply
  46. Thank your wonderful novels! I love historical fiction and the twists you add to it. I have always been interested in the ordinary lives of my ancestors which I have been able to research back to the 1600’s and then became fascinated in genealogy. This must be the same reason so many readers are fans of historical novels. I also love the factual history mixed with the ordinary and wonder if maybe the diaries of today will be the records of tomorrow!

    Reply
  47. Thank your wonderful novels! I love historical fiction and the twists you add to it. I have always been interested in the ordinary lives of my ancestors which I have been able to research back to the 1600’s and then became fascinated in genealogy. This must be the same reason so many readers are fans of historical novels. I also love the factual history mixed with the ordinary and wonder if maybe the diaries of today will be the records of tomorrow!

    Reply
  48. Thank your wonderful novels! I love historical fiction and the twists you add to it. I have always been interested in the ordinary lives of my ancestors which I have been able to research back to the 1600’s and then became fascinated in genealogy. This must be the same reason so many readers are fans of historical novels. I also love the factual history mixed with the ordinary and wonder if maybe the diaries of today will be the records of tomorrow!

    Reply
  49. Thank your wonderful novels! I love historical fiction and the twists you add to it. I have always been interested in the ordinary lives of my ancestors which I have been able to research back to the 1600’s and then became fascinated in genealogy. This must be the same reason so many readers are fans of historical novels. I also love the factual history mixed with the ordinary and wonder if maybe the diaries of today will be the records of tomorrow!

    Reply
  50. Thank your wonderful novels! I love historical fiction and the twists you add to it. I have always been interested in the ordinary lives of my ancestors which I have been able to research back to the 1600’s and then became fascinated in genealogy. This must be the same reason so many readers are fans of historical novels. I also love the factual history mixed with the ordinary and wonder if maybe the diaries of today will be the records of tomorrow!

    Reply
  51. “These people weren’t inconsequential. They mattered…” I once said something very like that (many years ago) when explaining why I became a historian. They were here and they mattered and all of them deserve better than to be left alone in the dark. I think you do an extraordinary job of letting them live again. Back in 2014, I talked about The Winter Sea and The Firebird in an outline book club … ‘They break my heart, knowing that Susanna Kearsley broke her heart over the tragic, gallant, battered lives of so many of these people… to the point that she created happy endings that they never got in their lives.’ Thank you for the way you break my heart.

    Reply
  52. “These people weren’t inconsequential. They mattered…” I once said something very like that (many years ago) when explaining why I became a historian. They were here and they mattered and all of them deserve better than to be left alone in the dark. I think you do an extraordinary job of letting them live again. Back in 2014, I talked about The Winter Sea and The Firebird in an outline book club … ‘They break my heart, knowing that Susanna Kearsley broke her heart over the tragic, gallant, battered lives of so many of these people… to the point that she created happy endings that they never got in their lives.’ Thank you for the way you break my heart.

    Reply
  53. “These people weren’t inconsequential. They mattered…” I once said something very like that (many years ago) when explaining why I became a historian. They were here and they mattered and all of them deserve better than to be left alone in the dark. I think you do an extraordinary job of letting them live again. Back in 2014, I talked about The Winter Sea and The Firebird in an outline book club … ‘They break my heart, knowing that Susanna Kearsley broke her heart over the tragic, gallant, battered lives of so many of these people… to the point that she created happy endings that they never got in their lives.’ Thank you for the way you break my heart.

    Reply
  54. “These people weren’t inconsequential. They mattered…” I once said something very like that (many years ago) when explaining why I became a historian. They were here and they mattered and all of them deserve better than to be left alone in the dark. I think you do an extraordinary job of letting them live again. Back in 2014, I talked about The Winter Sea and The Firebird in an outline book club … ‘They break my heart, knowing that Susanna Kearsley broke her heart over the tragic, gallant, battered lives of so many of these people… to the point that she created happy endings that they never got in their lives.’ Thank you for the way you break my heart.

    Reply
  55. “These people weren’t inconsequential. They mattered…” I once said something very like that (many years ago) when explaining why I became a historian. They were here and they mattered and all of them deserve better than to be left alone in the dark. I think you do an extraordinary job of letting them live again. Back in 2014, I talked about The Winter Sea and The Firebird in an outline book club … ‘They break my heart, knowing that Susanna Kearsley broke her heart over the tragic, gallant, battered lives of so many of these people… to the point that she created happy endings that they never got in their lives.’ Thank you for the way you break my heart.

    Reply
  56. I think I prefer to read about the lives of the ordinary people. If you’re reading about someone whose life has been well documented, you know how it’s going to end; there’s no mystery. I got about three quarters of the way through Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Queen” and got so tired of her and her scheming that I decided just to look up Wilipedia to find out how her story ended. You can’t do that with the fictitious life of an ordinary person, and the author has the opportunity to make them whoever he or she wants or needs them to be.

    Reply
  57. I think I prefer to read about the lives of the ordinary people. If you’re reading about someone whose life has been well documented, you know how it’s going to end; there’s no mystery. I got about three quarters of the way through Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Queen” and got so tired of her and her scheming that I decided just to look up Wilipedia to find out how her story ended. You can’t do that with the fictitious life of an ordinary person, and the author has the opportunity to make them whoever he or she wants or needs them to be.

    Reply
  58. I think I prefer to read about the lives of the ordinary people. If you’re reading about someone whose life has been well documented, you know how it’s going to end; there’s no mystery. I got about three quarters of the way through Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Queen” and got so tired of her and her scheming that I decided just to look up Wilipedia to find out how her story ended. You can’t do that with the fictitious life of an ordinary person, and the author has the opportunity to make them whoever he or she wants or needs them to be.

    Reply
  59. I think I prefer to read about the lives of the ordinary people. If you’re reading about someone whose life has been well documented, you know how it’s going to end; there’s no mystery. I got about three quarters of the way through Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Queen” and got so tired of her and her scheming that I decided just to look up Wilipedia to find out how her story ended. You can’t do that with the fictitious life of an ordinary person, and the author has the opportunity to make them whoever he or she wants or needs them to be.

    Reply
  60. I think I prefer to read about the lives of the ordinary people. If you’re reading about someone whose life has been well documented, you know how it’s going to end; there’s no mystery. I got about three quarters of the way through Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Queen” and got so tired of her and her scheming that I decided just to look up Wilipedia to find out how her story ended. You can’t do that with the fictitious life of an ordinary person, and the author has the opportunity to make them whoever he or she wants or needs them to be.

    Reply
  61. This past weekend I went to the Aerospace Museum in Calgary with my family. I’ve lived here for 31 years and had never been. For the first time I learned about the war heroes from our area that some of our main roads are named after. Men who flew in either or both world wars, a continent and ocean away from their home, who gave their youth, their dreams and in some cases their lives for king and country. It was a strangely humbling experience. These men we’re just normal people, and it was good to see their sacrifices remembered. They certainly weren’t kings or men of consequence, most were farm boys or average small town kids. I think we are beginning to recognize the value of the common man in history. All that said….I confess I’m still a bit of a sucker for a title!

    Reply
  62. This past weekend I went to the Aerospace Museum in Calgary with my family. I’ve lived here for 31 years and had never been. For the first time I learned about the war heroes from our area that some of our main roads are named after. Men who flew in either or both world wars, a continent and ocean away from their home, who gave their youth, their dreams and in some cases their lives for king and country. It was a strangely humbling experience. These men we’re just normal people, and it was good to see their sacrifices remembered. They certainly weren’t kings or men of consequence, most were farm boys or average small town kids. I think we are beginning to recognize the value of the common man in history. All that said….I confess I’m still a bit of a sucker for a title!

    Reply
  63. This past weekend I went to the Aerospace Museum in Calgary with my family. I’ve lived here for 31 years and had never been. For the first time I learned about the war heroes from our area that some of our main roads are named after. Men who flew in either or both world wars, a continent and ocean away from their home, who gave their youth, their dreams and in some cases their lives for king and country. It was a strangely humbling experience. These men we’re just normal people, and it was good to see their sacrifices remembered. They certainly weren’t kings or men of consequence, most were farm boys or average small town kids. I think we are beginning to recognize the value of the common man in history. All that said….I confess I’m still a bit of a sucker for a title!

    Reply
  64. This past weekend I went to the Aerospace Museum in Calgary with my family. I’ve lived here for 31 years and had never been. For the first time I learned about the war heroes from our area that some of our main roads are named after. Men who flew in either or both world wars, a continent and ocean away from their home, who gave their youth, their dreams and in some cases their lives for king and country. It was a strangely humbling experience. These men we’re just normal people, and it was good to see their sacrifices remembered. They certainly weren’t kings or men of consequence, most were farm boys or average small town kids. I think we are beginning to recognize the value of the common man in history. All that said….I confess I’m still a bit of a sucker for a title!

    Reply
  65. This past weekend I went to the Aerospace Museum in Calgary with my family. I’ve lived here for 31 years and had never been. For the first time I learned about the war heroes from our area that some of our main roads are named after. Men who flew in either or both world wars, a continent and ocean away from their home, who gave their youth, their dreams and in some cases their lives for king and country. It was a strangely humbling experience. These men we’re just normal people, and it was good to see their sacrifices remembered. They certainly weren’t kings or men of consequence, most were farm boys or average small town kids. I think we are beginning to recognize the value of the common man in history. All that said….I confess I’m still a bit of a sucker for a title!

    Reply
  66. Margaret, I first learned of the letters by reading Robert K. Massie’s book “Peter the Great: His Life and World”.
    Massie’s books are well-researched, though he drives me crazy by not including bibliographies or proper footnotes, because it makes it so hard to track back to his original sources (which is an essential step in my own research).
    Anyhow, it’s a great book and he references many of the letters, showing their development as a couple. Their love and respect for each other shines through, even after three hundred years.

    Reply
  67. Margaret, I first learned of the letters by reading Robert K. Massie’s book “Peter the Great: His Life and World”.
    Massie’s books are well-researched, though he drives me crazy by not including bibliographies or proper footnotes, because it makes it so hard to track back to his original sources (which is an essential step in my own research).
    Anyhow, it’s a great book and he references many of the letters, showing their development as a couple. Their love and respect for each other shines through, even after three hundred years.

    Reply
  68. Margaret, I first learned of the letters by reading Robert K. Massie’s book “Peter the Great: His Life and World”.
    Massie’s books are well-researched, though he drives me crazy by not including bibliographies or proper footnotes, because it makes it so hard to track back to his original sources (which is an essential step in my own research).
    Anyhow, it’s a great book and he references many of the letters, showing their development as a couple. Their love and respect for each other shines through, even after three hundred years.

    Reply
  69. Margaret, I first learned of the letters by reading Robert K. Massie’s book “Peter the Great: His Life and World”.
    Massie’s books are well-researched, though he drives me crazy by not including bibliographies or proper footnotes, because it makes it so hard to track back to his original sources (which is an essential step in my own research).
    Anyhow, it’s a great book and he references many of the letters, showing their development as a couple. Their love and respect for each other shines through, even after three hundred years.

    Reply
  70. Margaret, I first learned of the letters by reading Robert K. Massie’s book “Peter the Great: His Life and World”.
    Massie’s books are well-researched, though he drives me crazy by not including bibliographies or proper footnotes, because it makes it so hard to track back to his original sources (which is an essential step in my own research).
    Anyhow, it’s a great book and he references many of the letters, showing their development as a couple. Their love and respect for each other shines through, even after three hundred years.

    Reply
  71. Celia, genealogy is a big part of my process, as I think you already know 🙂
    And sometimes even when those ordinary people didn’t leave much documentation behind themselves, you can still find them mentioned in the documents and letters (and account books) of their more well-to-do neighbours…

    Reply
  72. Celia, genealogy is a big part of my process, as I think you already know 🙂
    And sometimes even when those ordinary people didn’t leave much documentation behind themselves, you can still find them mentioned in the documents and letters (and account books) of their more well-to-do neighbours…

    Reply
  73. Celia, genealogy is a big part of my process, as I think you already know 🙂
    And sometimes even when those ordinary people didn’t leave much documentation behind themselves, you can still find them mentioned in the documents and letters (and account books) of their more well-to-do neighbours…

    Reply
  74. Celia, genealogy is a big part of my process, as I think you already know 🙂
    And sometimes even when those ordinary people didn’t leave much documentation behind themselves, you can still find them mentioned in the documents and letters (and account books) of their more well-to-do neighbours…

    Reply
  75. Celia, genealogy is a big part of my process, as I think you already know 🙂
    And sometimes even when those ordinary people didn’t leave much documentation behind themselves, you can still find them mentioned in the documents and letters (and account books) of their more well-to-do neighbours…

    Reply
  76. Thank you, Charlene. I’m happy you enjoy the books.
    I only hope enough diaries survive in this technological age, when so much of what we write is digital and not only paper.
    Call me old fashioned, but there’s no feeling that equals reading old letters and journals on paper, and knowing the person who wrote those words actually handled those pages. For the sake of future researchers, I hope we don’t lose that entirely.

    Reply
  77. Thank you, Charlene. I’m happy you enjoy the books.
    I only hope enough diaries survive in this technological age, when so much of what we write is digital and not only paper.
    Call me old fashioned, but there’s no feeling that equals reading old letters and journals on paper, and knowing the person who wrote those words actually handled those pages. For the sake of future researchers, I hope we don’t lose that entirely.

    Reply
  78. Thank you, Charlene. I’m happy you enjoy the books.
    I only hope enough diaries survive in this technological age, when so much of what we write is digital and not only paper.
    Call me old fashioned, but there’s no feeling that equals reading old letters and journals on paper, and knowing the person who wrote those words actually handled those pages. For the sake of future researchers, I hope we don’t lose that entirely.

    Reply
  79. Thank you, Charlene. I’m happy you enjoy the books.
    I only hope enough diaries survive in this technological age, when so much of what we write is digital and not only paper.
    Call me old fashioned, but there’s no feeling that equals reading old letters and journals on paper, and knowing the person who wrote those words actually handled those pages. For the sake of future researchers, I hope we don’t lose that entirely.

    Reply
  80. Thank you, Charlene. I’m happy you enjoy the books.
    I only hope enough diaries survive in this technological age, when so much of what we write is digital and not only paper.
    Call me old fashioned, but there’s no feeling that equals reading old letters and journals on paper, and knowing the person who wrote those words actually handled those pages. For the sake of future researchers, I hope we don’t lose that entirely.

    Reply
  81. Aw, thank you so much, Kerry. That’s truly lovely, and so very kind of you.
    Yes, it does frequently break my heart knowing these people lived such full and meaningful lives, and have now been forgotten.
    I know that I’ll never forget them myself, having “met” them through their words, and it’s gratifying to be able to put them, however imperfectly, back on the page.

    Reply
  82. Aw, thank you so much, Kerry. That’s truly lovely, and so very kind of you.
    Yes, it does frequently break my heart knowing these people lived such full and meaningful lives, and have now been forgotten.
    I know that I’ll never forget them myself, having “met” them through their words, and it’s gratifying to be able to put them, however imperfectly, back on the page.

    Reply
  83. Aw, thank you so much, Kerry. That’s truly lovely, and so very kind of you.
    Yes, it does frequently break my heart knowing these people lived such full and meaningful lives, and have now been forgotten.
    I know that I’ll never forget them myself, having “met” them through their words, and it’s gratifying to be able to put them, however imperfectly, back on the page.

    Reply
  84. Aw, thank you so much, Kerry. That’s truly lovely, and so very kind of you.
    Yes, it does frequently break my heart knowing these people lived such full and meaningful lives, and have now been forgotten.
    I know that I’ll never forget them myself, having “met” them through their words, and it’s gratifying to be able to put them, however imperfectly, back on the page.

    Reply
  85. Aw, thank you so much, Kerry. That’s truly lovely, and so very kind of you.
    Yes, it does frequently break my heart knowing these people lived such full and meaningful lives, and have now been forgotten.
    I know that I’ll never forget them myself, having “met” them through their words, and it’s gratifying to be able to put them, however imperfectly, back on the page.

    Reply
  86. Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, and there are always a great number of them walking around us every day, unnoticed.
    And it’s OK to have a weakness for a title 🙂
    Even titled men are only human, after all.

    Reply
  87. Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, and there are always a great number of them walking around us every day, unnoticed.
    And it’s OK to have a weakness for a title 🙂
    Even titled men are only human, after all.

    Reply
  88. Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, and there are always a great number of them walking around us every day, unnoticed.
    And it’s OK to have a weakness for a title 🙂
    Even titled men are only human, after all.

    Reply
  89. Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, and there are always a great number of them walking around us every day, unnoticed.
    And it’s OK to have a weakness for a title 🙂
    Even titled men are only human, after all.

    Reply
  90. Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, and there are always a great number of them walking around us every day, unnoticed.
    And it’s OK to have a weakness for a title 🙂
    Even titled men are only human, after all.

    Reply
  91. I don’t want to read about kings and queens or slaves and serfs. Solid middle class and upper classes– I like novels about English aristocracy . I save books about kings , queens and the oppressed poor for non-fiction. That is where I will read about the private soldier or the impressed sailor . Life is too real to let it into my fiction. BTW once contemporary romances were between a millionaire and a secretary or small shop owner, now the man is usually a billionaire or a sheik. Hero inflation. In regency romances the heroes are more often dukes now where the once could be earls, at least. Most of these are going to far in the fantasy line.

    Reply
  92. I don’t want to read about kings and queens or slaves and serfs. Solid middle class and upper classes– I like novels about English aristocracy . I save books about kings , queens and the oppressed poor for non-fiction. That is where I will read about the private soldier or the impressed sailor . Life is too real to let it into my fiction. BTW once contemporary romances were between a millionaire and a secretary or small shop owner, now the man is usually a billionaire or a sheik. Hero inflation. In regency romances the heroes are more often dukes now where the once could be earls, at least. Most of these are going to far in the fantasy line.

    Reply
  93. I don’t want to read about kings and queens or slaves and serfs. Solid middle class and upper classes– I like novels about English aristocracy . I save books about kings , queens and the oppressed poor for non-fiction. That is where I will read about the private soldier or the impressed sailor . Life is too real to let it into my fiction. BTW once contemporary romances were between a millionaire and a secretary or small shop owner, now the man is usually a billionaire or a sheik. Hero inflation. In regency romances the heroes are more often dukes now where the once could be earls, at least. Most of these are going to far in the fantasy line.

    Reply
  94. I don’t want to read about kings and queens or slaves and serfs. Solid middle class and upper classes– I like novels about English aristocracy . I save books about kings , queens and the oppressed poor for non-fiction. That is where I will read about the private soldier or the impressed sailor . Life is too real to let it into my fiction. BTW once contemporary romances were between a millionaire and a secretary or small shop owner, now the man is usually a billionaire or a sheik. Hero inflation. In regency romances the heroes are more often dukes now where the once could be earls, at least. Most of these are going to far in the fantasy line.

    Reply
  95. I don’t want to read about kings and queens or slaves and serfs. Solid middle class and upper classes– I like novels about English aristocracy . I save books about kings , queens and the oppressed poor for non-fiction. That is where I will read about the private soldier or the impressed sailor . Life is too real to let it into my fiction. BTW once contemporary romances were between a millionaire and a secretary or small shop owner, now the man is usually a billionaire or a sheik. Hero inflation. In regency romances the heroes are more often dukes now where the once could be earls, at least. Most of these are going to far in the fantasy line.

    Reply
  96. Celia: Up until my grandmother’s day all the family on my Dad’s side were illiterate. So we have no family bibles or other documents other than census records to document our history. There is a family story that they came over in the early 1700s with Oglthrope as he cleared out the Irish debtor’s prisons and used them as a buffer between the French in Canada and the Spanish in Florida. But we haven’t been able to verify that. They were desperately poor and in danger from all kinds of things: animals, Indians, etc. But they lived and survived in spite of all that and because they did I am here today. I wish I could know some of their stories.

    Reply
  97. Celia: Up until my grandmother’s day all the family on my Dad’s side were illiterate. So we have no family bibles or other documents other than census records to document our history. There is a family story that they came over in the early 1700s with Oglthrope as he cleared out the Irish debtor’s prisons and used them as a buffer between the French in Canada and the Spanish in Florida. But we haven’t been able to verify that. They were desperately poor and in danger from all kinds of things: animals, Indians, etc. But they lived and survived in spite of all that and because they did I am here today. I wish I could know some of their stories.

    Reply
  98. Celia: Up until my grandmother’s day all the family on my Dad’s side were illiterate. So we have no family bibles or other documents other than census records to document our history. There is a family story that they came over in the early 1700s with Oglthrope as he cleared out the Irish debtor’s prisons and used them as a buffer between the French in Canada and the Spanish in Florida. But we haven’t been able to verify that. They were desperately poor and in danger from all kinds of things: animals, Indians, etc. But they lived and survived in spite of all that and because they did I am here today. I wish I could know some of their stories.

    Reply
  99. Celia: Up until my grandmother’s day all the family on my Dad’s side were illiterate. So we have no family bibles or other documents other than census records to document our history. There is a family story that they came over in the early 1700s with Oglthrope as he cleared out the Irish debtor’s prisons and used them as a buffer between the French in Canada and the Spanish in Florida. But we haven’t been able to verify that. They were desperately poor and in danger from all kinds of things: animals, Indians, etc. But they lived and survived in spite of all that and because they did I am here today. I wish I could know some of their stories.

    Reply
  100. Celia: Up until my grandmother’s day all the family on my Dad’s side were illiterate. So we have no family bibles or other documents other than census records to document our history. There is a family story that they came over in the early 1700s with Oglthrope as he cleared out the Irish debtor’s prisons and used them as a buffer between the French in Canada and the Spanish in Florida. But we haven’t been able to verify that. They were desperately poor and in danger from all kinds of things: animals, Indians, etc. But they lived and survived in spite of all that and because they did I am here today. I wish I could know some of their stories.

    Reply
  101. I laughed as I read your last few lines. I remember reading a comment from an author who’s book had not exactly been rejected but her hero was a “baron” and had to be elevated to “at least an earl” before the editor would accept the manuscript.

    Reply
  102. I laughed as I read your last few lines. I remember reading a comment from an author who’s book had not exactly been rejected but her hero was a “baron” and had to be elevated to “at least an earl” before the editor would accept the manuscript.

    Reply
  103. I laughed as I read your last few lines. I remember reading a comment from an author who’s book had not exactly been rejected but her hero was a “baron” and had to be elevated to “at least an earl” before the editor would accept the manuscript.

    Reply
  104. I laughed as I read your last few lines. I remember reading a comment from an author who’s book had not exactly been rejected but her hero was a “baron” and had to be elevated to “at least an earl” before the editor would accept the manuscript.

    Reply
  105. I laughed as I read your last few lines. I remember reading a comment from an author who’s book had not exactly been rejected but her hero was a “baron” and had to be elevated to “at least an earl” before the editor would accept the manuscript.

    Reply
  106. Thank you, Susanna. I should have known. I’m about 90% sure the book is on my shelves, one of so many hundreds of wonderful books I have yet to touch.

    Reply
  107. Thank you, Susanna. I should have known. I’m about 90% sure the book is on my shelves, one of so many hundreds of wonderful books I have yet to touch.

    Reply
  108. Thank you, Susanna. I should have known. I’m about 90% sure the book is on my shelves, one of so many hundreds of wonderful books I have yet to touch.

    Reply
  109. Thank you, Susanna. I should have known. I’m about 90% sure the book is on my shelves, one of so many hundreds of wonderful books I have yet to touch.

    Reply
  110. Thank you, Susanna. I should have known. I’m about 90% sure the book is on my shelves, one of so many hundreds of wonderful books I have yet to touch.

    Reply
  111. I like reading about people from all walks of life (says the woman who avoids billionaire books 😉 ) They are all important to history.
    What’s that saying for want of a nail….

    Reply
  112. I like reading about people from all walks of life (says the woman who avoids billionaire books 😉 ) They are all important to history.
    What’s that saying for want of a nail….

    Reply
  113. I like reading about people from all walks of life (says the woman who avoids billionaire books 😉 ) They are all important to history.
    What’s that saying for want of a nail….

    Reply
  114. I like reading about people from all walks of life (says the woman who avoids billionaire books 😉 ) They are all important to history.
    What’s that saying for want of a nail….

    Reply
  115. I like reading about people from all walks of life (says the woman who avoids billionaire books 😉 ) They are all important to history.
    What’s that saying for want of a nail….

    Reply
  116. And that’s why “A People’s History of the United States” was written, so teachers now have a book to go to that focuses on the common people!

    Reply
  117. And that’s why “A People’s History of the United States” was written, so teachers now have a book to go to that focuses on the common people!

    Reply
  118. And that’s why “A People’s History of the United States” was written, so teachers now have a book to go to that focuses on the common people!

    Reply
  119. And that’s why “A People’s History of the United States” was written, so teachers now have a book to go to that focuses on the common people!

    Reply
  120. And that’s why “A People’s History of the United States” was written, so teachers now have a book to go to that focuses on the common people!

    Reply

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