A boy enters a palace of a hundred rooms where an assassin may lurk behind every door and shadowy figures are reflected in a Hall of Mirrors. An astonishing treasure lies at its heart, but powerful enemies are at the gates.
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Friday 25 February 2011
The heroine of Margaret's Forster's new novel has a curious name. Her parents have called her Isamay, named after both her grandmothers, Isa and May.
Wednesday 08 September 2010
A woman believed to be the oldest person in the UK has died at the age of 111.
Saturday 13 March 2010
Friday 05 March 2010
The narrator of this curious novel has an unusual name. Her parents, James and Jean, have called her Isamay, after her paternal grandmother, Isabel, and Jean's mother May. Isabel, or Isa, lives in some splendour, with Mrs Roberts to clean for her and the obliging Elspeth to bake the cakes that accompany afternoon tea. She also has a gardener on call. May, by contrast, lives alone in the two-up, two-down terraced house in which she shared her life with her husband Albert, a plumber of beloved memory, and raised four children, only one of whom, Jean, remains in London. Isamay is devoted to her widowed grannies, whose very different kinds of courage and tenacity are a source of both irritation and inspiration to her. Throughout the novel, she is working on a dissertation for an MA in Women's Studies, taking as her subject the importance of the grandmother in the family. Her supervisor, the forbidding, middle-aged Claudia, advises Isamay to examine the way certain figures from history have behaved towards their grandchildren - the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, for instance, and Queen Victoria. There are others, but it is really Isa and May with whom she is chiefly, and deeply, concerned.
Tuesday 05 January 2010
Workers are to be given an extra bank holiday in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it was confirmed today.
Saturday 24 October 2009
Having, as I do, what some may consider a perverse inclination to sympathise with anyone subjected to unanimous abuse, I have been struggling to think of something nice to say about Mr Nick Griffin.
Friday 16 October 2009
"When so markedly eccentric a nature dominates a realm there cannot but be convulsions." So commented Philipp zu Eulenburg, one of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany's few friends. His remark encapsulates the problem with autocracy, the danger of allowing a single, flawed, human being to exercise absolute, or near absolute, power.
Tuesday 08 September 2009
A pair of enormous knickers which belonged to Queen Victoria have been uncovered after being hidden away in a private collection for more than 100 years, it was announced today.
Sunday 26 July 2009
Thursday 23 April 2009
When Labour came to power in 1997, Gordon Brown marked new beginnings by ditching the battered old Budget box that had been passed down the generations since 1860.
Sunday 22 March 2009
The front cover shows a portrait of a youthful Princess Victoria, but that belies the fact that this book is actually about two young princesses: Victoria and her cousin, Charlotte. Charlotte was born 23 years before the future monarch, and was the only child of George IV. Her tragedy is that she died in childbirth, aged only 21; but without her death, Victoria probably wouldn't even have been born, never mind become queen. After Charlotte's death, her father's useless, dissipated brothers began searching, rather late in the day, for suitable brides by whom to have possible heirs. That was the reason Victoria's father married her mother; it's the reason for Victoria's existence.
Friday 13 March 2009
"The film is exquisitely beautiful: at times the characters look like mahogany in candlelight, like the wooden pawn Victoria fears she is becoming. Britain's in situ castles and palaces cannot fail to host perfect settings for the royal screamings and weepings that are largely over nothing. What the film lacks is a sense of its awful era – if only Dickens could have had a hand in the script." - Vincent Olliver, www.teletext.co.uk
The Young Victoria, Jean-Marc Vallée, 100 mins, PG<br>American Teen, Nanette Burstein, 95 mins, 15<br>Flame & Citron, Ole Christian Madsen, 130 mins, 15
Sunday 08 March 2009
Sunday 08 March 2009
Wednesday 04 March 2009
The Duchess of York attended the world premiere of The Young Victoria, declaring that it was the culmination of 15 years of dreaming.
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