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As she releases The Last Tudor, her new novel about the woman who ruled England for just nine days, PHILIPPA GREGORY, long-reigning queen of historical fiction, points out five surprising things about 16th-century women who lived in the midst of the Tudor era.
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Archive Discoveries

  • ABC journalist and science writer IAN TOWNSEND cut his teeth as a novelist in 2007 with Affection, which told the story of a plague outbreak in 1900. His next novel, The Devil’s Eye, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2009. Now with Line of Fire, he turns his pen to narrative non-fiction to tell the story of Richard Manson, an 11-year-old boy who was accused of espionage and shot by the Japanese during World War II in New Guinea. Read on >
  • Aristotle said that metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. Shakespeare used metaphor when he wrote ‘All the world’s a stage’, drawing parallels between the planet and a theatrical performance space so that we might more easily understand what the world is like. Metaphors, by likening one thing to another, help us to understand things, or aspects of them, that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend. In Metaphors Be With You, DR MARDY GROTHE takes a historical look at how metaphors have been used to understand a huge range of topics, from adversity, beauty and curiosity through to love, war and vanity. Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. Read on >
  • AOIFE CLIFFORD is the winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award for one of her crime stories, but All These Perfect Strangers is her first novel. The Melbourne-based crime novelist talks with us about New Year’s resolutions, her Irish poet grandfather and the similarities between writing a novel and creating a papier-mâché puppet.  Read on >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >
  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • From an investigation into the scandals of the Catholic Church by Tom Keneally to Jeffrey Archer’s thrilling last instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’ series or a tale of a shrewd female locksmith in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, these books will delight you over the long, languid days of summer. Read on >
  • Teachers of writing classes often tell their students ‘show, don’t tell’. But showing – which means providing vivid description so that readers can clearly imagine what is being represented – depends to a large extent on memory and an alertness to the present moment. Writer and memoir instructor PATTI MILLER, author of Ransacking Paris, shows here how you can draw on sensory memory to enhance your writing. Read on >
  • Biographies have long fascinated readers, serving as guides for how to live our own lives or often just giving us an intriguing peek into the world of extraordinary people. In this round-up we look at a comedian with a disability, a magician with a learning disorder, the real man behind Walter White of Breaking Bad and more. But we’re bending the biography rules a bit by also including a book by a philosopher that will prompt you to think about living a better life, a book about Aussies at war and an account of Queensland police leading lives of corruption. Read on >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This superb novel is beautifully written, thought-provoking and a truly magical door to the minds and experiences of those who seem very different but who are, as we discover, just like us. Read on >

  • The Sunshine Sisters is a great read and a reminder of the importance of sibling relationships and family. Sometimes the parent that causes the most trouble and is the biggest nuisance can leave the largest hole in a child’s life when they are gone. Read on >

  • This first novel has good bones for its plot. It’s just a pity they are not fleshed out to their full potential.  Read on >

  • This fairytale-inspired thriller has been touted as a breakthrough for Karen Dionne, who has five previous books (including two TV show tie-ins) on her resume. Interspersed with snatches of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale of the same name. Read on >

  • Forgotten will keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll be anxious, sad, angry and hopeful almost all at once as you get an insight into every parent’s nightmare. Read on >

  • The pacing of this survival tale at times feels laboured, but there is an undercurrent of urgency.  But Year of the Orphan – a compelling take on post-apocalyptic fiction – holds its own. Read on >

  • There’s an immediacy to her writing that keeps you reading, even though the story is confronting. Read on >

  • This is the memoir of a strong-willed, articulate, humorous woman. One can only wonder about what this 60-year-old artist will do next. Read on >

  • Silly Isles reminds me that television is about entertainment as well as information, and it often struggles to communicate much more than a brief survey of a situation illustrated with moving pictures. Read on >

  • Sunrise and sunset have long been known by photo experts as among the best times of day to get great images, and to that end Nick recommends an app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which tells you when the sun rises and sets anywhere on the planet. There are tips on the type of gear you need to take, the importance of planning – for the whole trip as well as for individual shots – and hiring a guide. It might seem like an extravagance, but Nick says that a good local guide who understands a photographer’s needs knows things that could take you days to find yourself. Get this book. Read on >

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