September 2021 Wrap-Up

With September behind us and October ahead of us, here is what I read last month. I reread Pause by Kylie Scott because why not. I also read Smoke Signal by Marie Benedict and Kate Quinn. It’s a historical novella which takes place during and after WWII. The best part about this story is that Agatha Christie is a main character. The mystery tale, which is based on a true story, is perhaps an homage to the great lady herself. Have you read it?

The big read of the month was Lotharingia by Simon Winder. It’s a historical account of France, Germany and the smaller countries in-between and how they came into existance. It’s action-packed history and reading the book made me feel like I was listening to a gossip session with a historian. If you are into history and gossip (haha), then I recommend this book. But if you frown upon making history fun and being gossipy about historical figures, then you’d best skip it.

A moody picture of Chateau d’ Amboise in the Loir Valley for your Victober inspiration.

I’m currently reading Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell in honor of Victober. Are you participating in Victober this year? I hope so!

xoxo, Jane

PS. I’m on Instagram where I post about books and tea. Stop by and say hi.

Thornbury Castle

Last November my husband and I stayed at the beautiful Thornbury Castle in the town of Thornbury in England. I’ve visited countless castles over the years, but I’ve never spend the night in one. I’ve always, always wanted to stay at a castle and this trip was literally my dream come true.

Thornbury Castle isn’t really a castle, it’s a Tudor estate. But that doesn’t make it any less beautiful and castle-ish.

We stayed on this side of the hotel and the view was phenomenal. Like a dream.

Thornbury Castle was built by Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, between 1508 and 1521. The Duke was going to use it as his base for courtly living and entertainment.* He also planned to build a garrison of at least 200 men, but this plan never came to fruition because when Henry VIII found out about the planned garrison (and how grandiose the castle was becoming), he became livid and jealous.**

The croquet court.

The King was a paranoid man. He assumed that the Duke was building the garrison because he planned to take over the throne in an uprising. So Henry VIII did what he did best and had the poor Duke executed for treason.

I love this room. We had drinks at this very spot every evening before we were escorted to our table in the dining room.

The estate (and all the Stafford estates around the country) became the property of the monarch. The King and his second queen, Anne Boleyn, even stayed at the castle for about ten days.

Anne Boleyn stayed in the room. Today it’s the dining room. 

Eventually the castle fell into disrepair, but it was restored under the ownership of the Howard family. It stayed with the Howard family*** from the 1700s until the mid-19th century. Today it’s a luxury hotel steeped in history. And since I am a tea lover, I must add that the castle has a delicious and stately afternoon tea.

I love narrow, spiral staircases. This one led to nowhere, much to my amusement and delight!

I am definitely staying at Thornbury Castle again. I’m toying with the idea of staying at the castle over Christmas. Wouldn’t that be romantic?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Jane

*In other words, showing off his power and wealth.

**The “jealous” part is my own interpretation of events. 

***Catherine Howard came from this family. She was the fifth wife of Henry VIII.