Welcome to Holland House in Kensington! Once called Cope Castle, this magnificent early Jacobean mansion (built 1605) with ties to British royal events and personages, was bombed during WWII and only the East Wing survives today.
I featured it in my upcoming historical mystery, A Tale of Two Murders, multiple times, since the Lord and Lady Holland of 1835 are minor characters in the book. They are two colorful people who desperately need a biography about them! Lady Holland really was a friend of Charles Dickens, which is how the family, and their magnificent home, came to enter my book world.
Of course I had to make up some of the spaces the characters visited, but one I did not was the gilt chamber, which must have been a dazzling space in its time.
Everyone who watches royals has their thoughts centered on Kensington Palace these days, but did you know that Kensington Palace was almost Holland Palace? Yes, William III considered both properties before choosing to purchase Kensington House instead.
You can see more information and depictions at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_House.
I’m so excited to announce that my first historical mystery under my new Heather Redmond name has received a coveted Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews!
Here is the complete text:
A TALE OF TWO MURDERS [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Heather Redmond
Review Issue Date: May 15, 2018
Online Publish Date: May 1, 2018
Price ( Hardcover ): $26.00
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4967-1715-3
A ghastly poisoning sets a young writer on the trail of a killer in Victorian London. January 1835 finds rising journalist Charles Dickens enjoying Epiphany dinner with his editor, George Hogarth, and his family in Brompton when a terrible scream splits the air. Dickens, Hogarth, and Hogarth’s daughter Kate rush next door to Lugoson House. There, Lady Lugoson’s daughter, Christiana, who’s been taken violently ill, dies before her mother’s horrified eyes despite the ministrations of the host of doctors summoned to her bedside. The next day, at the offices of the Evening Chronicle, Charles confides his unease to fellow journalist William Aga. How could Christiana Lugoson have become mortally ill when none of the other dinner guests were affected? William recalls the similar death of another young woman, Marie Rueff, just one year ago at Epiphany. Watching young Charles sniff out the connection between the two deaths is only part of the fun. Readers can also watch the sweet, unsurprising romance between Charles and Kate unfold at a modest but steady pace and can travel through a historical London that’s vivid without being overcrowded with detail. Each character’s voice is distinctive and appropriate to the period, and Redmond’s exposition is as stately and lucid as any contemporary reader could wish. Redmond, who writes romance under the names Heather Hiestand and Anh Leod, adds crime to her portfolio. Mystery fans and history buffs alike should cheer.
I track most of my reading on Goodreads. Generally I don’t put in the middle grade books I read every day with my 3rd grader (sooo much Geronimo Stilton), but just about everything else is in there. I went through the past six months or so of my reading and started to build a visual representation of my favorite historical mysteries on Pinterest. I’d love to know your favorites, and hope you enjoy my reads! I started writing historical mystery in late 2016, and my first Heather Redmond tale will be out this July…
The terrorist attacks in Belgium today settle on me uneasily as an author of historical fiction. As I blithely changed the timeline on my work in progress , I wondered what historical events I might be missing that might distract the characters in my novel, or even affect them. Characters live in larger worlds than our plots. For instance, my current hero is from Sicily. What might have been happening in his hometown during that week I just added to my story because I realized my plot timeline was too tight?
The other issue that concerns me is how I write about circumstances like what happened in Belgium today. My upcoming series (debuts 9/27/16), The Grand Russe Hotel, is concerned with Russian immigrants in England. Most of them are solid citizens trying to restart their lives after the Russian revolution, but some are Bolsheviks hoping to disrupt the British government. There are bombers and bomb threats and even actual bombs. Danger for all, a very real situation. As I writer, I need to make sure to keep the emotion tangible. It’s not just a plot. My characters need to feel the fear that is present in Europe today in the midst of so much sorrow, uncertainty, and despair. I must remember to keep my world of 1925 London three-dimensional. The terrorists of 2016 are different than those of 1925, but the emotions of those living through the experience are the same as those suffering today.
If we want readers to bond with our characters, understanding the mindset of people in crisis is very important. And if we can give our characters happy endings despite the traumas they live through, hopefully it can give readers a feeling of closure and hope that all is not lost, no matter how dark the sky that day.
This was my husband’s favorite new recipe of the summer. Since I became a vegetarian this summer, I’ve done a ton of fresh cooking, so that’s saying a lot. I’ve modified this recipe a tiny bit since it was on the tour, but we ate it every day for quite a while during berry season.
- 2 tbl rolled oats
- 2 tbl coconut flakes
- 2 tsp vanilla or whiskey
- Honey (to taste)
- 8 oz Cool Whip, any variety
- 12 oz raspberries
Toast rolled oats and coconut on the stove in a dry pan until lightly browned, about four minutes. Fold the vanilla or whiskey into the Cool Whip. Layer just under half of the raspberries into four serving dishes, then cover with just under half of the Cool Whip mixture. Sprinkle rolled oats and coconut over the top, then repeat. Top with the last little bit of Cool Whip, one raspberry, then drizzle honey over the top. Voila! One easy but very delicious dessert.
Note: A mix of toasted coconut/oatmeal blends fantastically into breakfast cereal for a morning pick-me-up!
We were so ready to eat this right out of the oven I forgot to take a picture of it! Very tasty as it is, but if you want a sweeter dessert, serve with ice cream or whipped cream, or some extra eggnog poured on top.
Apple Eggnog Cobbler
Oven to 425 degrees. Cook for 25 minutes
- 5 cups chopped apples. I leave the skins on, personally.
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 1/2 tbl. tapioca
- 3 tbl. brown sugar
- 1 dollop honey
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 2 tbl melted butter
- 1 3/4 cup biscuit mix
- 1/2 cup eggnog
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 4 tbl melted butter
Gently mix together the ingredients up to the butter and pour into an oiled 8×8 baking pan. Then dribble the melted butter over the top. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and spoon over the apples.
Bake and enjoy!
I write stories set throughout the nineteenth century, a time of flux in the details around marriage in England and Scotland. I am forever having to re-research this information, so I’m posting some research links here. This includes the all important information on Gretna Green marriages, in the final link. Based on these websites, I’m guessing it would be pretty difficult to get a special license and marry within one day.
To help make books more discoverable on Amazon (despite them hiding “adult content” books and redirecting search results to other books), here is a tip for *how* to search for the books you want to buy.
Have a shortcut to take you to Amazon advanced search page, rather than just opening the Amazon site and using the default search box.
In the fields on the Advanced Search page, you can enter one item or any combination of author, title, ISBN, publisher, etc. When you do a search this way, adult content will come up. And the search results seem, from our experience, to be more in sync with the search terms entered.
For example, if you search on author Jaid Black in advanced search, the 12 items on the first results page are all books by Jaid Black. But if you search by that author name in the default All Departments search box at the top of any page, five of the items (including the top one) displayed on the first results page are by other authors and have nothing to do with Jaid Black.
I did a search for “Heather Hiestand” and “historical romance” and the list was pretty accurate. Only one of my contemporary romances showed up. So this is a great way to search for authors who have long backlists like I do!