As I was browsing through the books in the entry at my Barnes & Noble, I stumbled across a jewel. Nestled with the others in the bargain shelf was THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ROYAL BRITAIN, by Charles Phillips (consultants: Dr. John Haywood and Professor Richard G. Wilson); 2009, 2011: Annes Publishing Ltd. This beautiful book is crammed with wonderful pictures of people, castles, and stately homes. It provides a directory of each monarch, with a synopsis of his (or her) reign and portraits of the monarch and significant people of each’s time. It also provides synopses of big events, crises, and triumphs. It goes on to describe castles and manor houses, with fantastic photos, discussions of style, and more. While it is not a comprehensive book by any means, this is a historical fiction author’s delight, chock-full of inspiration with magnificent pictures to get the creative juices flowing! Place names, information about the families who built the homes and the architects who designed or planned the renovations, all are grist for the mill…
This is also a useful work for the history buff or student. It is by no means comprehensive but provides a fantastic jumping-off place for further study. There is also a useful glossary of architectural terms.
I did not find a bibliography or list of sources, although there are acknowledgements regarding the illustrations. In my opinion, this could not be a stand-alone reference for serious research. However, it provides good information in a compact format, and is a great place to begin a project.
It is also enjoyable reading. I found the entries to be well-written, with enough substance to keep the attention without straying from the format.
All in all, a real find and a welcome addition to my library! I am certain that this will be a very useful tool.
By the way, please visit the English Historical Fiction Authors blog to see the post I wrote! Here’s the link: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/
Please let me know what you think!