Tag Archives: William and Mary

Guest Article: Witch and Spirit Bottles by Pamela K. Kinney #WiHM #witches

I love to read historical articles online and recently I came across an article, I believe in Smithsonian online magazine, about witch bottles being uncovered. Then I saw them talking about it on the site for College of William and Mary: Civil War Era Jug Rare Witch Bottle. The photo here is from this find/article. A few days later I saw a writer friend I knew posting about witch bottles being found as well and I was intrigued. I know Pamela to be very much a knowledge of the haunted and supernatural in Virginia, so I asked her if she might write an article for my site which I’d post for women in horror month.

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From article at above link: Witch bottle:  Given the artifact’s contents and context, William & Mary archaeologists believe this Civil War-era jug is likely a rare ritual item known as a “witch bottle.” Witch bottles served as a kind of talisman to ward off evil spirits.  Photo by Robert Hunter

Thanks very much to Pamela for her time in this. Voila – enjoy!

Witch Bottles and Spirit Bottles
by Pamela K. Kinney

Witch Bottles:

In 2016, archeologists unearthed a blue bottle filled with nails near the hearth of a Civil War fort, Redoubt 9, which today is known as exits 238 to 242 of I-64 in York County. They conducted the dig, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation, and it took place before VDOT’s planned interstate widening project. What is left of Redoubt 9 now rests in the median of Interstate I-64. Although constructed by Confederates, Union troops occupied it after the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862. The fortification was one of 14 mini forts around Fort Magruder, built along a line between the James and York rivers to counter the threat of a Federal assault on Richmond via the Peninsula.

Records suggested that Redoubt 9 was occupied by the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry alternately between May 1862 and August 1863. This Calvary was the same regiment held responsible for the burning of the Wren building (College of William and Mary). They likely occupied Redoubt 9 only during periods of strife, such as Confederate raids, when the Union hold on Williamsburg was at risk. Union soldiers occupied enemy territory most of the war, and no doubt, felt threatened by and needed to ward off malevolent spirits and energy. And witch bottles were the type of things people used during times of famine, political strife, or feeling under threat (which the Union soldiers were feeling). It may not be the men but an officer who did this, using folk traditions from his community back in Pennsylvania as they determined that the bottle was created in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860.

At first, the archeologists thought it was used by Union soldiers to collect nails, as they were building up that fortification. But then, they figured out it was a “witch bottle,” one of less than a dozen found in the United States (unlike 200 discovered in the British Isles), according to William and Mary. Of course, as the top of the bottle was broken, causing any urine in it to have dried, there’s no telling if this is an actual witch’s bottle. But Joe Jones, director of the William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research, believes the vessel to be one.

An afflicted person who believed ‘witches’ were causing his/her problem or sickness, buried the nail-filled bottle under or near their hearth, with the idea that the heat from the hearth would energize the nails into breaking a witch’s spell. Besides nails, one would place the sick or attacked person’s urine in the bottle with brass pins, locks of hair, nail clippings, and a piece of lead, too. The belief back then was that the witches would be grievously tormented, unable to make their water with great difficulty. The theory was that the witch created a magical link with his/her victim and doing the witch’s bottle reversed it back to the witch, using the victim’s body products. The witch had to break the link to save herself, and the victim recovered.

In the seventeen and eighteen hundreds, witch bottles would also be filled with rosemary and red wine besides needles and pins, and the individual would bury the bottle at the farthest corner of their property, beneath the house hearth, or placed in an inconspicuous spot in the house. It was believed that these specific bottles would capture the evil, which would then be impaled on the pins and needles, drowned by the wine, and sent away by the rosemary. Some witch’s bottles were thrown into a fire, and when they exploded, that broke the spell, or the witch supposedly killed.

The recipe was still known in a Norfolk village in England in 1939: Take a stone bottle, make water in it, and fill it with one’s toenails and fingernails, iron nails, and anything which belongs to you. Hang the bottle over the fire and keep stirring it. It must be dark in the room, and you can’t speak or make any noise. Then the witch is supposed to come to your door and beg you to open the door and let her in. If you keep silent and ignore her, the witch will burst. Folklore says that the strain on the mind of the person when the witch begs to be allowed in is usually so great that the person breaks down and speaks. Then the witch is set free.

In London, England, seventeenth-century pottery jugs of the kind called ‘greybeards’ .or ‘bellarmines’ were found buried in ditches or streams. They contained bent nails and felt hearts stuck with pins. In Essex and Suffolk, others had been discovered, underneath the hearths or thresholds of houses. Later, cheap glass bottles would be used in the same way.

Also, put into witch bottles were fishing hooks, human teeth, and glass shards–like in the one found in an English pub’s chimney November of 2019. Others have contained things like brimstone (sulfur), and even belly button lint. In some bottles, the pins are inside loose, but in others, they are carefully arranged in felt or cloth hearts. The inclusion of sulfur was thought to be particularly damning to the witch and was reserved for those that the afflicted wanted not just gone, but dead. Other bottles were carried as amulets meant to ward off disease and illness.

A good author friend of mine, Deborah Painter, let me take a picture of the witch bottle she had that her archeologist father had found. Besides hers, when I took a tour of Ferry Plantation in Pungo, Virginia (an area of Virginia Beach), I viewed the witch bottle on display in the house. Both Debbie’s and Ferry Plantation’s were found in Pungo.

Debbie Painters Witch Bottle (1)

Debbie Painter’s witch bottle. Photo used with permission by Pamela K. Kinney.

Other ways that Virginians protected themselves against witches. The first three were a mixture of Celtic and African American lore.

  1. Leave a bowl of salt outside your door, as they claimed that witches love to count the grains. A witch will sit down and count each grain. By the time she/he finishes, it will be morning, and you will be safe. (Ditto with a broom, for the witch, will count the broom straws.) Strangely enough, this is mentioned in myths about vampires too.
  2. Hang a used horseshoe above your door. Before a witch enters the house, she must go down every road the horse traveled when he wore that shoe. By the time she finishes, the dawn will be on its way, and you’ll be safe.
  3. Witches hated blue because it was the color of heaven. African Americans, especially in South Carolina and Georgia, painted the trim of their homes blue for protection.

Witches are as much a part of Virginia’s history and folklore as anywhere else. There are historic homes in Virginia with witch doors—crosses carved on the paneled doors to keep the witches away. There is even a rumor of a witch that lets off a green light as he/she flies through the trees in the Old House Woods in Mathews, Virginia. In Stafford, there is a trail off Telegraph Road that leads to a place called Witches Pond. There is supposed to be a sacrifice table there used in the 1700s with letters in Latin carved on it, with numerous sightings of a woman seen near it. I found online that someone posted that there was a witch’s creek where Aquia Harbor is now. And real people were accused of witchcraft, one of them, Grace Sherwood, was pardoned by Governor Kaine in 2006. Of course, to avoid a debacle like Salem, they passed laws to stop people from accusing someone of witchcraft, by being fined. It appeared to work, as only one witch was proven hung in Virginia and that on a ship off the shore from Jamestown in the 1600s Not just in Hampton Roads area were witch bottles used, but in the Appalachians, which one can count in western and particularly, southwestern section of Virginia.

How to Make Your Own Witch Bottle:

I found on one website how one can make a witch bottle today. You put the pins/sharp objects and personal effects into the bottle. Add urine over the pins and personal effects and close the jar/bottle with the lid. Burn the black candle on top of the jar (be careful! Don’t leave the candle unattended. Allow the wax to spill onto the top of the jar, as this will seal your intentions. Burn the candle all the way down.) Or the Optional Step: you can “heat” the bottle by holding it over an open bonfire (this adds more oomph but isn’t required). Dig a hole on your property a foot or so deep. Its best by the front door OR by your bedroom window. Bury your witch bottle with candle remnants. The whole time you’re visualizing any evil being sucked into the witch bottle and trapped for eternity, leave the witch bottle, and never dig it back up.

Spirit Bottles:

Another reason that blue bottles were used was due to the African traditions brought to the South with the slaves. It is close to what witch bottles were used for—capturing a spirit attacking the person. The belief and use of spirit bottles go back to the 9th and 10th century Congo, where colorful bottles, traditionally cobalt blue, were placed on the ends of tree branches to catch the sunlight. The thought being an evil spirit would see the sunshine dazzling from the beautiful bottles and growing enamored, enter the bottle. Like a fly, the ghost becomes trapped within the bottle, dazzled by the play of light, trapped for all eternity. Well, unless the bottle gets broken. This practice was taken to Europe and North America by African slaves of the 17th and 18th centuries. While Europeans adapted them into hollow glass spheres known as “witch balls,” the practice of hanging bottles in trees became widespread in the Southern states of North America, where they continue to be used today as colorful garden ornaments. For a long time, the use of spirit bottles, even spells due to them, could be found among the African American people. In the New World, the bottle-as-talisman took on different forms.

Like witch bottles traced as far back to the 1600s, these spirit bottles were used in spellwork. All colors, shapes, and sizes filled with herbs and other items of significance, for protection, repelling evil, or attracting luck. Eventually, the bottle spell became a fundamental element of Hoodoo magic.

Today, all sorts of people have these bottle trees in their yard. Usually, in the United States, they could be seen in the country or along the bayous of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, though nowadays they are all over, not just these four states. And not just blue bottles, either!

Getting spirits into bottles and even jars exist in many places of the world. There are jars and bottles for housing the spirits of dead babies in Thailand and called Guman Thong. There’s the lamp holding the genie in Aladdin. The Djinn have also been captured in rings and bottles, too. There’s even “The Spirit in the Bottle,” a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. You can read a horror short story of mine, “Bottled Spirits,” published at Buzzymag.com. I was researching bottle trees, and I thought it would make a great ghost story. It made runner up in the WSFA Small Press Award in 2013 and is considered one of seven best genre stories for that year.

Making Your Own Bottle Tree:

Find a sturdy tree or stump with branches, like traditionally used crepe myrtles and cedars trees, but pretty much any kind of tree will work. Trim all of the foliage off and cut the branches down until you have as many bare branches as you have bottles. Then slid your bottles onto the branches.

A variation is to take a fallen branch and prune it the same fashion, making a portable tree. Plant it outside of your home. Like near the entrance, in the garden, or wherever you want it in your yard. Slip the bottles onto the branches. A third way is finding a large branch or stump, tying two bottles at a time with shoelaces over the branches, so they hang from the tree. And here’s a tip: If you put a little oil on the bottlenecks, the spirits will slip easily into the bottles and become trapped that much quicker.

Witch bottles are one interesting facet of witches, showing us how ordinary people used to protect themselves against them. And with the latest one found in a Civil War fort and even places online showing how to make one today, or also put together a bottle tree to capture spirits, the folklore of our ancestors still haunts us, even in this modern technological 21st Century!

Pamela K. Kinney, Info –

Pamela KinneyPamela K. Kinney is an award-winning published author of horror, science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and a ghost wrangler of non-fiction ghost books published by Schiffer Publishing. Among others two of her non-fiction ghost books were nominated for Library of Virginia Awards.

She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association and the local Virginia chapter.

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cat sometimes suffer for it!

Find out about Pamela K. Kinney’s books (horror, fantasy, and science fiction fiction and nonfiction ghost books), short stories, and anthologies she has stories included in at her Website, plus at her AMAZON page.

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Haunted VA

You can find out more about witches of Virginia, witch bottles, and more in a chapter in Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales, available from Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales.

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Talking with Andrea Zuvich about Those Oft Forgotten Stuarts in History

Today I have an extra FABULOUS interview with Andrea Zuvich, the Seventeenth Century Lady and author of His Last Mistress: The story of the Duke of Monmouth and Lady Henrietta Wentworth. She’s also one of the founders and present guide of the Garden Tours at Kensington Palace in England, which she discusses as well! We talk about the Stuarts in history including William and Mary, the allure of mistresses, and the upcoming Stuart Vampire novel she’s written. It’s jam-packed of historical goodness and so I invite you in to stay awhile.

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Hi Andrea! So happy to have you stop by today so we can do an interview on Oh, for the Hook of a Book!  I am sure the gardens at Kensington Palace are beautiful this time of year and you’ve been busy giving tours, how have you found the time to fit in publicizing your novella as well?

Andrea: Hello, Erin, thanks for having me! Yes, the gardens are looking incredibly beautiful now – we’ve had a real summer this year, plus rain, so the grass is green and the flowers are vibrant and gorgeous. His Last Mistress is my first book, and so that why I decided to go on a virtual tour because I think historical fiction readers might be interested in reading about the latter part of the Duke of Monmouth’s life.

Erin: Ah, what an amazing job! And I’m excited to hear about your writing so let’s find a lovely garden, maybe a halfway point, and have a lovely stroll while we chat. Let’s get started!

Q:  I read that as you were working on another novel, you were asked by your publisher to pen your novella, His Last Mistress, which is the story of the Duke of Monmouth and Lady Henrietta Wentworth.  Why were these real-life characters so important? What was the book about in your own words?

A: Yes, I was working on a biographical fiction of William and Mary when I was contracted by Endeavour Press in London to write a novella. I had a few ideas, and from those, they chose the story of Duke of Monmouth and Lady Henrietta Wentworth. Monmouth was the son of King Charles II and was very popular throughout England because a) he was a really great soldier b) he was a Protestant and c) people thought (or at least hoped) that he might be Charles’s legitimate son. He is a very important figure in the late 17th-century because he led the ill-fated Monmouth Rebellion of 1685.

Henrietta was pretty much an unknown figure, and lesser-known figures are very appealing to me. I want people to know about them! As the story begins, Monmouth is already married, and keeps a mistress. During a masque (a Stuart court entertainment/play) he meets Henrietta Wentworth and falls for her – and to a libertine, love is a very new experience. She becomes, literally, his last mistress and the story is about their love affair – which is horrifically shattered by the events surrounding the Rebellion. It is a tragic romance in the vein of Tristan & Isolde and Romeo & Juliet – even my husband cried when he finished it!

Erin Comments: Yes, I love when people from history are remembered through books. And their love affair, so very beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time!

His Last Mistress

Q:  Does this novella fit into your work in progress, a novel of William III and Mary II (King and Queen of England in the 1600s)? If so, why?

A: Yes, William and Mary’s story was concurrent with Monmouth’s and I had originally incorporated a good deal of Monmouth’s story in William & Mary. In His Last Mistress, readers are introduced to several characters who will also appear in more detail in William & Mary, which covers the years 1677-1702, and His Last Mistress covers 1675-1686, and Monmouth and Henrietta stayed in the Dutch Republic at the court of William & Mary from around 1684-85, so both works definitely fit in with each other.

Q:  I know you’ve written an article about the “allure” of royal mistresses in regards to readers and writers being drawn to their stories.  Feel free to link that here, but in shorter answer format, why do you feel they carried such great weight with their lovers? As fairly religious monarchs had mistresses, how was this acceptable?

A: I wrote an article entitled “The Allure of the Royal Mistress” for Endeavour Press which was published on The Huffington Post. In the article, I mention that many people over the years have been fascinated by royal adultery and scandal. Mistresses were pretty much accepted as par for the course, really. Throughout history, royal marriages in particular were formed to achieve greater power, money, land, or peace between warring nations. As a result, many of the alliances were not loving unions, and so married persons would seek both romantic love and sexual gratification with partners outside their marriage. That being said, some – as perhaps was the case with Charles II and Catherine of Braganza – loved their spouse but sought sexual release with others. Adultery is usually very painful for the betrayed spouse, but we have to remember the historical context of these liaisons.

Q:  The Duke of Monmouth was a Stuart, as he was the offspring of Charles II and a mistress. He was spoiled as a boy by his father, as he was supposedly handsome and charismatic. However, Henrietta was said to have become the love of his life. When he declared himself King after his father’s death (when actually his uncle became King) he eventually was taken to the Tower and beheaded in the most brutal and remembered beheading in history. 

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James, Duke of Monmouth, photo provided by Andrea Zuvich

Explain A) imagine how his life would have been changed had his mother not been a mistress. Would he have made a good King?  Why or why not? B) How do you think his death impacted Henrietta and what became of her?

A: If his mother, Lucy Walter, had in fact been Charles II’s wife, everything would have been different for Monmouth. He would have been Prince of Wales and accepted by all – without question – as Charles’s heir. The throne could only pass to a legitimate offspring, and Charles was adamant that the only wife he’d ever had was Catherine of Braganza, who unfortunately had great trouble trying to have children. This meant that the throne had to pass to the next legitimate Stuart prince, who was his Catholic brother, James, Duke of York. Monmouth’s infamous execution was undoubtedly the worst kind of death he could have had, and his father would have been utterly distraught and appalled that his beloved son had such an end. Monmouth was very malleable, and whether he would have been a good king would rest, I believe, upon those in close proximity to him. Idiotic fops often surrounded him, and he often engaged in some frankly stupid behavior; but there were times when he showed he was no fool – again depending on who were his companions. There were glimmers in his character that made it seem possible for him to have been a good king.

Henrietta was said to have died from a broken heart, some nasty people said it was because of her cosmetics (which contained poisonous substances), but I think she was severely depressed after Monmouth’s death, from which she couldn’t recover. The horrific manner of his death no doubt would have preyed upon her mind. She died less than a year after him, probably from consumption. They had a son together, according to some documents, and I include this in the story.

Erin Comments: You detail the final endings of both their lives so dramatically in your book. It was so emotional. It is amazing how legalities and circumstances can destroy people’s lives, and in some regards, end their lives in the worst way.

NPG, Henrietta Wentworth

Henrietta Wentworth, photo provided by Andrea Zuvich

Q:  Since you are a freelance researcher, and an avid one, did you find it hard to contain this story to a standard novella size? Why or why not?

A: It was difficult to restrict the story to this size. I wanted to add many more details and events, but I was contracted by my publisher to write a novella, and had to adhere to the terms of the contract.

Q: Have you thought about writing another novel based on Monmouth’s life?

A: Based on the feedback I’ve received about the novella, it’s clear that people want more Monmouth! As a result, I have decided to write a novel about Monmouth’s life up until he meets Henrietta, and then people can finish with His Last Mistress. He had such a colourful, dramatic life, that there is much to include. He was a fascinating historical figure – heroic, dashing, handsome, rakish, but emotionally volatile, violent, unlearned. That project will have to come a bit later, as I have four other books to write first! (The Stuart Vampire, Untitled Restoration actors novel, Book One of Rupert of the Rhine Adventures, and a non-fiction about the Stuarts).

Q:  How much research have you done on your upcoming novel about William and Mary?  Do you feel there is a good place in the book market for a book on these historical monarchs? Why?

A: A lot of research was done! William & Mary has been such a journey. I started researching intensively in late 2010 and I’ve researched in The Netherlands, Scotland, and throughout England in order to make sure I do the best I can.

Royal stories have always interested many people, and I think the topic became even more popular following the Royal Wedding in 2011, when everyone began to talk about Catherine being a commoner and how it’s happened before: Mary’s mother, Anne Hyde, was a commoner when she married James, Duke of York, who later became King James II. There is this great painting of Anne Hyde in the Queen’s Gallery at Kensington Palace, and I love the intelligent look she gives to the viewer.

As for whether the market is good for William & Mary, we’ll have to see, but I’m writing these stories because I love them, and think they’re worth sharing. Also, my fans(?) have been patiently waiting for three years! With any luck, maybe more people will start to read historical fiction and history books about the 17th-Century!

Erin Comments: I think there must be more interest going to emerge about this time period. Once they are done reading about the Tudors, I’d think they’d like to continue down the line of British Monarchy and the people that surround them. Plus, though for so long New World literature hasn’t been trending, I think that with the onset of learning more about America, where we came from, and who ruled us first and then how we fought to get our freedom, it seems that at least in America, this will become a novel of choice very soon too.

Q:  How much information is available about William and Mary? I know she was the actual monarch from succession, so what was their actual relationship like that she allowed him make decisions over her? Or did he show his respect for her enough, and she showed her ability to rule as well, that we remember them as a duo? Please elaborate.

A: There is a good deal of information about their lives and reign. I have had a great deal of help from my contacts in The Netherlands, who are really excited about the novel, because William and Mary are quite large historical figures there, perhaps more so than here in England. Mary only accepted the throne on the condition that her husband, William, was made king. Mary was definitely a woman of her time (and I won’t hear anyone bash her for this!) and she intensely believed that it was unnatural for a wife to be dominant over the husband. That being said, they made an excellent team. Whilst William was off fighting to secure their thrones, Mary very capably managed affairs here in England. I find it rather tragic how Mary II was cut down in her prime, because she could have been another Elizabeth, and contemporaries said as much about her. What I love about her is that, though she was naturally intelligent, she had this endearing humility and self-doubt, which I think a lot of modern politicians could benefit from having! William depended on her, loved her, and when she died, it was such a blow to him that people were certain that he would follow her shortly to the grave.

Q:  What makes them an interesting couple? What are they best known for?

A: I think the relationship between William and Mary was quite an interesting one, for rarely did two people flung together into a political marriage get on as well as they. She was a celebrated beauty and he was this popular, if not militarily successful, Prince of Orange. England and the Dutch Republic had gone through quite a number of hostilities, the Anglo-Dutch wars in particular, and a new marriage between England and Holland seemed a good way for peace.

When Mary met her first cousin William, who was not considered handsome, and then told she was to marry him, she wept for two days! Though they had a bad start, they soon fell in love; though she was much more demonstrative in her affections than he.

A great many things happened during their reign. We have the Bill of Rights of 1689, the College of William and Mary in the USA was founded in 1693, and the Bank of England was founded in 1694. The list goes on and on, but there was a darker side to their reign: the Glencoe Massacre (1692), the Salem Witch Trials (1692/93), and even the long troubles in Northern Ireland stems from their reign (which added to already existing tensions created under Cromwell, and before that, the Tudor Plantations).

Q:  When should we expect your first novel to be published? Will it be published in both the UK and US?

A: William & Mary is currently making the rounds at several agencies, and one publisher has shown interest, but I’m still waiting to get all replies first. I had hoped it would be published for this Christmas, but that’s not looking likely at this point, but yes, when it does, it should be available in Europe and the USA. I’m really excited, and after over three years, it’s certainly my baby!

Erin Comments: I can’t wait to read it, very interested!

Q:  Moving on, you are a fan of the baroque! What about it do you find so enchanting?

A: I love everything Baroque! The music, the art and the architecture – the works! Baroque music was/is so glorious, for it is capable of both intense emotion, but also lively fun. I listen to Baroque everytime I research and write – it’s the perfect accompaniment to my field of study. The French composer, Marin Marais, wrote one piece in particular, La Rêveuse – 4ème livre de Pièces de viole, which profoundly moves me, as does Italian Gregorio Allegri’s (1582-1652) Miserere.

Q:  I know you do Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace and you were a founding coordinator of them. What a lovely idea, and I hope to take one someday!  One of my favorite memories as a child for me was knocking on the Queen’s summer home door. My mom still laughs at that too. What are people most interested in as they come to view the history and modern workings for themselves? What is your favorite part of being involved?

Kensington Gardens 1

Photo of Kensington Gardens in England, provided by Andrea Zuvich

A: That sounds like a lovely memory! It’s funny to think that when we first started the Garden History Tours, most people were keen to know about Diana, but in the past two years, it’s all focused upon William and Catherine. Very few people in the beginning seemed to know about the Stuarts, but I’ve noticed that more and more people ask me Stuart-related questions, and of course, that always makes me happy!

I love showing examples of what the gardens used to look like, first after William and Mary incorporated the popular formal, ornate parterres, and then I show them how things changed – sometimes drastically – from one monarch to the next. Kensington Palace and gardens is really a series of changes throughout history.

My favourite part of being involved is the thought that I am in the same building that some of my favourite historical figures lived. I felt the same way when I visited Het Loo Palace in The Netherlands – it’s such a special feeling.

KPSunkenGarden2

Photo of Kensington Gardens in England, provided by Andrea Zuvich

Erin Comments: It’s nice to be able to notice trends and why they occur. Wonderful that more people seem interested as well!! I would love to hear how each various monarch has put their own touch on the gardens. 

Q:  What are some of you own favorite books and authors? What books would you recommend for fiction readers who enjoy the baroque era? Feel free to also give ideas for other historical books as well.

A: Hands down, my favourite modern writers are A.S. Byatt and Sebastian Faulks. If I had as much talent as those two have in their pinky fingers, I’ll think I’ve achieved something. Other favourites are long-since dead: William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Giovanni Bocaccio, Daniel Defoe, Walter Scott. For readers who enjoy the Restoration, I think they should start off with the meticulously researched Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, Restoration by Rose Tremain, and then work their way to modern historical fiction set in the 17th-century by my friends and acquaintances Anita Seymour, Deborah Swift, and Alison Stuart.

Q:  Do you have any other hobbies or passionate pursuits? If so, tell us about them and what you enjoy.

A: Yes, I’m afraid I’m one of those people who are never bored –there’s too much to learn and do to be bored! My trouble is having the time to do them all! I have always loved to sing, and I’m currently working on ideas for an album of folk songs from the 17th-century. I play the flute, the piano, and I can play a little Spanish guitar and Russian balalaika. I also enjoy painting a great deal, but I haven’t had time to do much painting in the past two years. I also enjoy cooking, but I’m pretty bad at cleaning the kitchen afterwards! :p

Erin Comments: I know what you mean about being interested in EVERYTHING. How could life ever being boring! There is so much art, music, architecture, nature, and books to enjoy. I like to cook for my family, but I hate the clean-up too and oh, does Pinterest and my books call my name….(at least until I can get out to do the other in person).

Q:  If you could write about anything historical outside of this period in England, what other time periods or places would you be interested in?

A: I love the Renaissance with a lesser passion than I love the Seventeenth Century, but it’s still a passion! (I am currently writing a few chapters in The Stuart Vampire set in the Renaissance, so I get the best of both worlds!). I was quite keen on the Mediaeval period as well when I was about twelve.

Q:  Who are some of your favorite women in history? Why?

A: I admire Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, who was a really talented female French Baroque composer, and I’m really pleased that in recent years there has been a renewed interest in her work. I already said I love Mary II, but I also admire the painter Artemisia Gentileschi. In college, I wrote a long research paper about the fascinating Veronica Franco, a Venetian courtesan renowned for her poetry skills and intelligence. Anne of Austria was pretty cool, too.

Q:  I know you are also working on a book that darts to the historical paranormal, which surrounds vampires in the Stuart family. Can you talk about this with us? Tell us why you decided to write a paranormal and how you think it is going for you? When can we expect it?

A: Since there is a rather gruesome scene in His Last Mistress, I think that people won’t be surprised that The Stuart Vampire is gory, with both paranormal and normal horror elements, as there are vampires, but also includes the horrors of 17th-century witch trials, the Great Plague of London, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and it darts in and out of various time periods – from 17th-century to Renaissance to Victorian, etc.

I decided to write a paranormal story probably because my husband is always putting on horror films (which I was never allowed to watch when I was living with my mom) and I think they’ve warped my brain! I quite like scary films now! I have chosen as my undead protagonist, Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, who died from smallpox in 1660 (or so they would have you believe!). It’s coming along quite well, mainly because I haven’t had to research much at all – it’s mostly from the dark side of my imagination! I’m trying to have this one ready in time to scare people this Halloween, 2013. I hope people enjoy it!

Erin Comments: Well, I happen to love horror! I love when I find other ladies who love history and horror both, thought it isn’t often enough. I am so excited to read your Vampire book. I was also never allowed to watch scary movies or read scary books as a child and now I am grabbing it all up. If you follow my blog, I spend some of my time reviewing horror. There is alot of horror in history too, so it really all fits together! If you put your book out for Halloween, please let me know and I’d be happy to feature it.

Q:  What has been the best part for you on your writing journey so far? Any challenges? What positives keep you going?

A: The absolute best part has been getting messages from people who love the Stuarts and many of them have said they are very pleased that I’m drawing more attention to these lesser-known historical figures. Also, historians and history lovers alike seem to enjoy it, and I’m pleased that all my research has been commended.

The challenges have been that some people have obtained my book through free eBook promotions and then realize it’s not a happy ending, and I’ve had some quite colourful emails from those in the romance community who thought I had made the story up. It’s a biographical fiction with a love story, not a romance with a happy ending.

Another challenge is that I’ve noticed how easy it is for people to dismiss someone’s work on Goodreads or Amazon, and they seem to not understand the time, work, and dedication that the writer has gone through to write and publish a work. It’s funny, because the people who have bought it have been more pleased than those who got it when it was number 1 on Amazon’s free promotion. People have been doing more searches on the Monmouth Rebellion, the Duke of Monmouth, and Henrietta Wentworth – so reading this book has piqued their curiosity about the subject. What keeps me going is that all of them, including those who felt it wasn’t right for them – go away having learned about a piece of British history – and that was the whole point.

Erin Comments: That is so very true. I try to find positives in all books and I don’t like to critique people too harshly because as a writer myself I do realize that someone spent alot of time creating their work. I am harsher on grammar and editing most, as I believe people should pay professionals for that, but the story that is told from the heart deserves a proper reading and reporting. I agree with you about your book, and your future books, as I am sure that more and more people will learn about these very crucial people in our history.

Q:  Where can readers and fellow writers contact you?

A: I’m always happy to communicate with anyone who wants to contact me. I’m on Twitter (where I do “On This Day I’the #17thCentury” daily) @AndreaZuvich and Facebook: The Seventeenth Century Lady, and of course, there is the main website, www.17thcenturylady.com where there are loads of articles about the 17th Century, Book recommendations, and Films Set in the 17th Century!

Q:  How might anyone purchase your novella, His Last Mistress?

A: His Last Mistress is available both in paperback and eBook on most Amazon sites around the world. The paperback version, however, includes a sneak peak of William & Mary! I am also in the process of getting the book stocked at bookstores throughout the UK.

Erin: Thank you, Andrea, for talking with me today. It’s been very interesting to learn about this time period and its players. I wish you much success and look forward to your upcoming books! 

Andrea: Thank you so much, Erin! I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you today, and I hope I can take you on a Garden History Tour someday. It’s been a pleasure!

Erin: I sure do hope to one day soon have you give me a tour and take some fabulous photos!

His Last MistressHIS LAST MISTRESS, Synopsis~

Publication Date: May 20, 2013
CreateSpace
Paperback; 206p
ISBN-10: 149042556X

Set in the tumultuous late 17th Century, His Last Mistress tells the true story of the final years of James Scott, the handsome Duke of Monmouth, and his lover Lady Henrietta Wentworth.

As the illegitimate eldest son of King Charles II, the Duke is a spoiled, lecherous man with both a wife and a mistress. However, this rakish libertine is soon captivated by the innocence of young Lady Henrietta Wentworth, who has been raised to covet her virtue. She is determined to spurn his advances, yet she cannot deny the chemistry between them. Will she succumb? At the same time, the Duke begins to harbour risky political ambitions that may threaten not only his life but also that of those around him.

His Last Mistress is a passionate, sometimes explicit, carefully researched and ultimately moving story of love and loss, set against a backdrop of dangerous political unrest, brutal religious tensions, and the looming question of who will be the next King.

Author Andrea Zuvich, Biography~

Andrea ZuvichBorn in Philadelphia in 1985 to Chilean-Croatian parents, Andrea Zuvich is a historian specialising in the Late Stuarts of the Seventeenth Century and is the creator and writer of the history website, The Seventeenth Century Lady.

Andrea studied History and Anthropology at both the University of Central Florida and Oxford University, and has been independently researching the 1600s since 2008. Andrea is a leader on and one of the original developers of The Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace, Historic Royal Palaces, and lives with her English husband in Lancashire, England.

For more information, please visit Andrea’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/hislastmistresstour/
Twitter Hashtag: #HisLastMistressTour

His Last Mistress Tour Banner FINAL

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Andrea Zuvich’s 17th Century Romance, His Last Mistress, is an Empathetic Look at Duke of Monmouth

His Last MistressHis Last Mistress by Andrea Zuvich is a 200-word novel in miniature form that is reminiscent of those little 17th Century pocketbooks (you know, the little books small enough to fit into a pocket, not a purse….) and really fit this story so well. The book profiles Charles II’s (King of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1660-1685) illegitimate eldest son, James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth. He’s most known for his flamboyant dress, his carousing with the ladies, and his revolt that ended in one of the most horrific executions in history, but Zuvich shows that he was also a poet (though his actual writing and reading skills were not very good), with prose he scrawled into his own little pocket-book

The book was the perfect size to read in an extended evening and was written in the voice and style of something that might have been written in the 17th Century. Zuvich, an author who now lives in the U.K. and provides tours at Kensington Palace, sticks with the British verbiage, prose, and vocabulary, making the reader feel as a story has been ripped from the late 1600s and plopped into their lap. She certainly has a handle on how they would relate and speak to each other in the 17th Century. Some people don’t like reading novels this way, and some do, so it’s a personal preference, but I think she stayed true to the characters and let them lead the readers through the story. It was never heavy or hard to decipher. She tells the story of the Duke of Monmouth and his last mistress, Lady Henrietta Wentworth, with such passion and emotion that it made me want to continue to flip the pages to complete their story.

A historian on the Stuarts, she has done her research and all of it seems plausible. Monmouth is probably remembered in history most for several things: being one of the most handsome of the Stuart blood, well-liked by the ladies, and his botched death.  However, Zuvich shows how Monmouth’s personality was impulsive, led by emotion and whim, and desire and ambition, but not always in a manipulative or egotistical fashion.

He did, however, have a stubborn streak like most Stuarts when something really mattered to him. Zuvich shows well how in both his claim that his mother and Charles II were legitimately married (which would make him in line to the throne) and in his declared love for Lady Wentworth, he fought for what he felt was rightly his and what he needed to be his with every ounce of him.

The emotions that Zuvich brings out in Monmouth was so heart-wrenching to me. His desire to be needed, to be accepted, to be liked, and to be easily swayed by those who didn’t truly care about him personally was all underlying the main love story. I also appreciated how the author showcased his many military accomplishments and how much the people of England loved him, long before he began a relationship with Lady Wentworth. Their romance blossoming was beautiful, but Monmouth’s ending was so horribly sad that I was physically shaken after I read the ending. To think this actually happened is abhorrent to me. No matter if Monmouth tried to take the throne from his Catholic uncle King James II (who became King after Monmouth’s father Charles II died), he didn’t deserve his death. I would prepare yourself to read the ending, as it is that bone chilling.

It’s a love story wrapped in tragedy and set during religious turmoil, but the book is a must read for any historical lover of the 17th Century, the Stuarts, or anyone interested in what happened just prior to the reign of William and Mary. It was a delightful romantic tale, with some lovely imagery and poetry, but like many times in history and in life, didn’t have a happy ending. However, she was true to the story and the characters and have given them a proper legacy and remembrance. It was written so authentically and with such emotion that the story carries the reader along at ample speed until the bitter end.

HIS LAST MISTRESS, Synopsis~

His Last MistressPublication Date: May 20, 2013
CreateSpace
Paperback; 206p
ISBN-10: 149042556X

Set in the tumultuous late 17th Century, His Last Mistress tells the true story of the final years of James Scott, the handsome Duke of Monmouth, and his lover Lady Henrietta Wentworth.

As the illegitimate eldest son of King Charles II, the Duke is a spoiled, lecherous man with both a wife and a mistress. However, this rakish libertine is soon captivated by the innocence of young Lady Henrietta Wentworth, who has been raised to covet her virtue. She is determined to spurn his advances, yet she cannot deny the chemistry between them. Will she succumb? At the same time, the Duke begins to harbour risky political ambitions that may threaten not only his life but also that of those around him.

His Last Mistress is a passionate, sometimes explicit, carefully researched and ultimately moving story of love and loss, set against a backdrop of dangerous political unrest, brutal religious tensions, and the looming question of who will be the next King.

Author Andrea Zuvich Biography~

Andrea ZuvichBorn in Philadelphia in 1985 to Chilean-Croatian parents, Andrea Zuvich is a historian specialising in the Late Stuarts of the Seventeenth Century and is the creator and writer of the history website, The Seventeenth Century Lady.

Andrea studied History and Anthropology at both the University of Central Florida and Oxford University, and has been independently researching the 1600s since 2008. Andrea is a leader on and one of the original developers of The Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace, Historic Royal Palaces, and lives with her English husband in Lancashire, England.

For more information, please visit Andrea’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/hislastmistresstour/
Twitter Hashtag: #HisLastMistressTour

His Last Mistress Tour Banner FINAL

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