Clara Vine is a brilliant series written by author Jane Thynne. Clara Vine is a British out-of-work actress who, upon the advice of an acquaintance, relocates to pre-war Germany to find work at the Babelsberg Studio in Berlin.
However once there, she finds herself entangled with the wives of high-ranking Nazis. This comes to the attention of British intelligence who persuade her to spy for them. This series has it all: romance, suspense and espionage. It will grip you from beginning to end.
Clara Vine is a very nice woman: intelligent, kind, and thoughtful. Caught in a web of espionage, she tries to keep secret that she is partly Jewish. But to stay alive as a non-Aryan in Nazi Germany is not easy. There is a very good reason why, after five novels, she doesn’t return to Britain. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I won’t say the reason, but as a woman I completely understand Clara’s reasoning.
If you need to lose yourself in a new series, especially now in our troubled, sad and uncertain times, I highly recommend the Clara Vine books.
You can learn more about Jane Thynne here. Also, there is a very good Q&A about the Nazi wives on the author’s website that I recommend giving a read.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.