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A Little Research on Medieval Castles

Some thoughts on English castles.

I have been doing some arm chair studies of castles in England…ironically while my sister takes a cruise around the British Isles… and have rapidly come to three initial conclusions.  Medieval castles were dark, cold, and smelly.


Dark… My first obvious observation is in the construction of castle windows.  Since castles were built primarily as fortresses against attack, the windows on the lower levels by necessity had to be very narrow to keep invaders or their weapons out.  Higher up, the windows were considerably wider and allowed in more natural light.  All the same, the lighting was an issue, exacerbated by England’s penchant for cloudiness.  At night, huge fireplaces and dozens of strategically placed candles gave uneven lighting where needed.


Cold… This, too, varied.  Unlike in my northern state, England hasn’t the extremes that we experience here, and preliminary research suggests that the weather during the Middle Ages was milder in England than it is now.  Nevertheless, acquiring fuel for fires was a constant job; warming the stone fortresses ever only partly successful.  In living quarters, tapestries were for more than adorning the walls…they kept out the cold, as well.


Smelly…  Needless to say, our modern flushing toilets were centuries away. Higher-ranking castle-dwellers had their garderobes, which resembled stone outhouses, built over shafts in the castle wall.  The waste was periodically cleaned out of the cesspool by mudator latrinaurm or‘gong farmers.’  Oddly, the odor was thought to kill germs, and the garderobes were used to store clothing, for sanitation purposes.

It’s About Time

Ta Da!     At last I can announce the release of my new book, It’s About Time, available at  I will be back shortly to post the picture.

BBC News

According to the Jane Austen Society of North America, the BBC is filming a new 4-part version of Jane Austen’s Emma.  The screenwriter had also written screenplays for North and South and Jane Eyre,  It is scheduled to come out in the fall in the United Kingdom.  They say, however, that it will be their last “bonnet drama” in the foreseeable future.

The Month of March

This year in North Dakota March came in like a lion and is leaving like a polar bear.

Where the Heart Leads, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

At last, Kim Vogel Sawyer has provided the long-anticipated sequel to Waiting for Summer’s Return.  There were a number of times I tried to guess where she would go with this next book, but Kim has proven that her creativity in plotting a new story is not predictable. 

Now a young man with a degree from an eastern college, Thomas Ollenburger seeks direction for his career.  Having seen more of the world than his sleepy little home town ever provided, he must sort through the proverbial wheat and chaff to discover what God has in store for him.  Mix in the distractions of two pretty but very different young women, family struggles back home, and the lure of journalism and politics, and Thomas finds himself challenged to define success as he fine-tunes his faith.  I think you will enjoy the surprises this story has in store.

Dakota Trilogy

I have had the pleasure of reading Debbie Macomber’s Dakota Trilogy before, borrowing the books from the library.  Now that I have acquired my own copies, I’m rereading.  Though definitely not in the sweet category, with several scenes of unmarried characters in bed together, Debbie’s three books will remain part of my own personal library.  Aside from the sensuality, Debbie writes about people with old-fashioned values who struggle through the years of low farm prices in a tiny community that depends on the surrounding farms for its survival.  Long after I read them the first time, Ms. Macomber’s cast of characters returned to my memory to entertain me.

A PROMISE FOR SPRING, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

When Emmaline Bradford reaches the Kansas prairies where she is to wed Geoffery Garret, nothing is going according to plan.  Her fiancé had promised to send for her soon, but the time she waited in England had stretched to five years, with no word from her intended.  Now, forced by her father to travel to America, she is facing marriage to a near-stranger in a strange land, and her heart isn’t in it.  What had happened to the sweet young man who’d courted her?  Emmaline refuses to marry him and resolves to return to England, but is forced to wait until the spring.

Geoffery Garret has spent the last five years preparing his Kansas sheep ranch for the arrival of his betrothed, but the woman who steps off the train won’t have him.  Having limiting his correspondences to only her father at his advice, he realizes they’ve meanwhile become strangers.  The demands of his ranch in a year of drought just add to the misunderstandings, and he can feel his dreams for Emmaline and himself slipping away. 


This was one of those books that I had to finish once I started, and the chapters flew by unnoticed.  Kim Vogel Sawyer has created a compelling plot and memorable characters.  Woven throughout the story is a thread of yielding, of giving up our own stubborn resolve to the Lord for His remaking into peace and joy.

It’s About Time by Andee S. Davis

Book coverComing May 2009:

Here is the beautiful cover of my upcoming book, It’s About Time, with The Wild Rose Press, and a little teaser:

“A summer in England was meant to help Meg Sutherland grieve her father’s early passing. The last thing she expects is to be thrown back in time to an era where her everyday knowledge of health and medicine may save two lives threatened by old-fashioned ignorance. How can she convince handsome Mr. Ellingsworth that her meddling will save his children’s lives when her twenty-first century confidence only increases his resistance? Aided by three spinsters and a cat, Meg weighs her choices between a lonely, independent life of modern freedoms and the possibility for love.”

The artist who did the stunning cover is Nicola Martinez. 

Coming Soon

As soon as I can I will post the book cover to my novella coming out next spring from The Wild Rose Press. 

Newly added list of HisWriters authors of historical fiction


In the Shadow of the Son King by Golden Keyes Parson

The Falcon and the Sparrow by Marylu Tyndall

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

One Holy Night by J.M. Hochstetler

Then Came Hope by Louise Gouge

A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell

Family Guardian by Laurie Alice Eakes

Books to Anticipate – future releases:

It’s About Time by me, Andee S. Davis

Gallimore by Michelle Griep
(December 2008)

Before the Season Ends (December 2008)
The House In Grosvenors Square (August 2009)
by Linore Rose Burkard

Wind of the Spirit by J.M. Hochstetler / (March 2009)

The Red Siren (Jan. 2009)
The Blue Enchantress (August 2009)
by Marylu Tyndall

Surrender the Wind by Rita Gerlach/ (Fall 2009)

A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keys Parsons / (Fall 2009)

Seasons In The Mist by Deb Kinnard (April 2010)

The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Renewal by Terri Krause