Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Real Places in Books

September 6, 2022
mandyevebarnett


I have just finished a wonderful novel, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. It is a super read and I recommend it. (My review is on Goodreads).

After I finished reading, it occurred to me that as I lived near, and often visited Highclere Castle (Downton) when I lived in England, there must be numerous novels sited in actual places, rather than fictional ones. I have used my road trips the length and breath of England, Wales, Scotland and a portion of Canada to create locations in my books.

Knowing a place you are reading about is exciting as you can picture it exactly, and spot any errors, truth be told, as well. Of course, in the TV series of Downton the locations are many and not related to the fictional area at all in many cases. Here is a list of locations, many are far apart from each other! Link: That is the magic of TV & movies.

I used my many visits to castles, historic houses and ancient sites in my medieval novellas, The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy. Experiencing a place makes the narrative even more compelling and real to write about, and I hope that comes across in the stories.

For my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch, I used the enormity of a Canadian prairie as the setting for the male compound. Mountains are seen in the far distance, just like we see when driving west on the Yellowhead, but the concrete jungle is no longer in existence in my story.

What books have you read where you have known the location? Did it ring true? DId you find errors, or notice author’s license to fictionalize it?

Eleemosynary – What a Word..!

November 27, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Eleemosynary – definition: 1. of or for charity; charitable; 2. given in charity; having the nature of alms; 3. supported by or dependent on charity.

almshousesstratforduponavon

Don’t you just love this word? I do.

When I lived in England I used to travel the country visiting castles, historic houses and ancient archaeological sites. Among the many places I saw were Alms houses. These buildings were built to house the poor, old and distressed people and were often funded by Christian institutions. The first Almshouses were established in the tenth century in Britain. King Athelstan (a personal favorite) founded the first recorded Almshouse in York, England. The Hospital of St. Cross in Winchester is the oldest still in existence, dating from about 1132.

There are Almshouses in other countries. One was established in Stavanger, Norway in 1269 or 1270. Almshouses were introduced to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by it’s founder William Penn. In Maryland the legislature created almshouses in Anne Arundel County, which were financed by property taxes on landowners. Another state with a long tradition of almshouses is Massachusetts. The aid was available in the United States mainly for the elderly and disabled, and for children that had to sleep in the same rooms as adults. Non-governmental organizations provided this care due to the scandalous limited care available. This system began in the eighteenth century.

The photo above is Almshouses in Stratford upon Avon, England and the ones below are Trowbridge and Chipping Norton, England.

Trowbridge, Wilts

Chipping-Norton-

Have you visited Almshouses?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almshouse

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