Yes, this is completely true. I planned a good portion of one of our trips completely around a book I read. It is almost embarrassing to admit, but the book is amazing and being in these places was incredible!
I love to read, particularly things historically focused. These days I do a lot of audible books, but lets go back to July 2016. My husband and I had recently arrived back from our wonderful two weeks in Iceland and Scotland, and we were inspired to bring two of our kiddos to England because we wanted them to experience a different country, and as home schoolers, learn up close and personal about things in history!
This all coincided with me finding this e-book on the library app at the time called, The Traitor’s Wife. This was the first book I had read from this author, but was definitely not my last. The story was from the perspective of Eleanor de Clare, the wife of Hugh le Despenser, and niece to King Edward II. I do not read historical fiction often because when I do, it completely invades my life. This book totally invaded my life, to the point that I would try to read a page or two on my phone when I hit a red light! It was bad!
This book was incredible even more so when I got to the end and realized that this author uses as much historical accuracy as she can, and has a section at the end going through everything she changed and why, as well as what is unknown in history.
This book inspired my trip as well as further reading. I ended up reading some awesome follow up biographies on Queen Isabella, King Edward I, and King Edward III, and my life was changed.
So our trip… what things did we see particularly because of this book? Here is the list:
- Rhuddlan Castle
- Conwy Castle
- Beaumaris Castle
- Caernarfon Castle (birth place of Edward II, and Silas and I climbed all the way up Eagle Tower where he was supposedly born.)
- Harlech Castle
- Cardiff Castle
- Caerphilly Castle (This was the de Clare family castle.)
- Chepstow Castle
- Tewkesbury Abbey (Hugh le Despenser is buried here, and this abbey was hugely inspired by Hugh and Eleanor.)
- Gloucester Cathedral (Edward II is buried here.)
The one thing I really wanted to do, but it did not work out was to go to Berkeley Castle. The castle is closed Thursday thru Sundays, and that was the time frame we were going to be in the area. Berkeley Castle is the castle where King Edward II was held prisoner, and was the castle where it is speculated that he was brutally murdered. One day I will experience this castle, but it has not been meant to be yet.
Let me tell you, this was one incredible trip! I am thankful for the books I read, and how it inspired the trip planning for England and Wales 2017.