I wrote Candles and White Roses because of my love for medieval social history, especially the life and times of Richard Duke of York 1411-1460.
Beleiving that the political manoeuvring, no matter how enthralling, just didn't paint the full picture of everyday life.
True, life was hard, especially for those of low social status but it was still colourful.
The fasting days were to be endured, but equally, the feast days were treasured punctuation marks in the year. The likes of May Day was a festival of joy.
Laughter was also in plentiful supply, as were the occasional games of dice with friends.
Even nowadays, there’s nothing as satisfying as a day off to enjoy doing what makes you happy, whether that be listening to or playing music, relishing in nature, time with family, friends and neighbours, or maybe even a trip away from home.
Seasonal food was a thing to be looked forward to. The smell of elderflower blossom cooking in batter, soft ripe cheeses tempered up with herbs, fried bread doused with butter. What could be better!
Through my medieval food displays "Falcon & Fetterlock" and "The Yorkist Table" I have displayed seasonal dishes, in the guise of Richard Duke of York's table at the Museum of London, Ludlow Castle, Leeds Castle, and Hedingham Castle (where I was the resident medieval cook in the Great Hall for a number of years). I have also displayed medieval food and medieval five-finger silk weaving at historical sites and archaological societies.
My ambition is to show that in essence, life is still the same as it’s always been with love, laughter, sadness and pain, but still colourful!
1454. Tensions are rising between the Houses of York and Lancaster. On the brink of civil war, unease and distrust fill the air, and nobody can be trusted.
Bethany Mortimer, in search of a miracle cure for her impending blindness, leaves her manor and her bereaved father to visit the Holy Shrine at Walsingham. Feeling that she has little to lose, she breaks the bonds of familiarity and sets out on an adventure. Along the way her life is changed forever when her path crosses that of Sir William Oldhall, Richard Duke of York and their kinsman Pip Harsyck.
Surprised at a request to deliver a sealed letter to the House of the Friars Minor at Little Walsingham, Bethany believes that she is carrying news of great political importance, little does she know that what she is carrying is something of far greater significance. Something that can unravel the mysteries of her lineage and something that Queen Margaret of Anjou will stop at nothing to get.
Rebekah Fanning is a passionate medievalist living in Norfolk. She has spent many years researching the life and times of Richard Duke of York 1411-1460 and his son King Richard III. Candles and White Roses is her first novel.