Monday, 2 March 2015

Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England: Ready for Time Travel?

Thanks to Fanda, I finally have my own copy of this wonderful book. At first, I was dying for this book because I needed some references about Elizabethan England - not the political situation or religious views, because Google knows it all. What I really needed was the way people lived, the way they saw themselves, the way they dressed, the cost of their livings, etc. I am so glad I came to the right place.

The first time I knew Ian Mortimer's name, it was from my Historical Fiction Writing class on Coursera. The second I knew about his Time Traveler's Guide, I was ecstatic.

I really love the way the book is organised. It's divided into 12 chapters, each covers different aspect of people's lives - houses, clothing, food, drink, entertainment, etc. Each chapter is then divided into smaller parts for details.

In case you wonder how Elizabethan England looked like, this book provides some full-coloured pictures of Elizabethan paintings. They reveal the way the Queen and other people dressed, the way they danced, and more importantly, the way they saw themselves.

In this book you will read about Raleigh and his failed colonization of the New World, and about Drake and his successful journey as a (legal) pirate. You will also find the persecution of any religion other than the Anglican Protestant for political reason, about people who were imprisoned and died for what they believed in. You will also see the broad division of the rich and the poor, those who glittered in jewels and those who could barely cover their bodies. Through this book you can also visit London, THE city. It was where everything happened.

Because the book is written in present tense, you even more feel like being part of that world. Just leave the world you live in with all its internet access, cars and airplanes, Facebook and Twitter, and fly through time and space into the world of Queen Elizabeth, of intrigues between Catholic and Protestant, of treason and wars, of plays and poems, of Marlowe and Shakespeare, of Raleigh and Drake, a world where everything changes for good and bad.

I will read this book again and again in the future, I think. And for everybody who plays to write a historical fiction set in Elizabethan England, this book is certainly a must-have.

Having read the book, the only thing I need now is...


  1. I definitely like the way that Ian Mortimer writes, it's so engaging when you feel like you're being led through the Elizabethan city in real time. :)

    1. Exactly, right? It is so amazing. :)