Books

In this section you will find Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction books written by Kathy Martin. All books are available to purchase via Amazon. By pressing the “Buy Now” button you will be re-directed to the purchase page.

Famous Brand Names & Their Origins

Book Type: Non-Fiction

Have you ever wondered what the PG stands for in PG Tips? Or how the decidedly non-dairy Harvey’s Bristol Cream came by its name? Or why Cussons Imperial Leather is the name of a popular toilet soap rather than a luxury leather goods brand?

The answer to these conundrums can be found in my latest book, Famous Brand Names & Their Origins, which shines a light on the origins of some of our most popular brands. Featured categories include confectionery, alcohol, frozen foods, household essentials, appliances, toys, High Street shops and many others.

Along the way, some of the colourful characters who brought these brands into our homes are introduced, amongst them daring entrepreneurs, Non-Conformist businessmen, plucky widows, brilliant refugees, forward-thinking philanthropists and  a handful of decidedly racy individuals.

Packed with interesting facts and entertaining nuggets of trivia, this book is for anyone interested in the origins of the brands that shape our lives.

Famous Brand Names & Their Origins is available now from all good book sellers.

 

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THE BEAULIEU VANISHING

Book Type: Historical Fiction

May, 1473: Two years after his victory at the Battle of Barnet, Edward IV’s enemies are stepping up their attempts to bring about his downfall.

It is in this uneasy climate that the King’s loyal brother, Richard of Gloucester, despatches Francis Cranley and Sir James Tyrell to Beaulieu Abbey where his mother-in-law, the Countess of Warwick, has been in sanctuary since her husband’s death at Barnet. Tasked with escorting the Countess safely to Middleham, they encounter difficulties when her young attendant disappears in mystifying circumstances. As he sets out to find her, Cranley uncovers subterfuge, murder and a conspiracy with the potential to unleash bloody mayhem across the land.

Reviews:

‘The mystery bowls along at a good pace with some unexpected twists and turns and plenty of period detail – a good read for a wet weekend.’

The Ricardian Bulletin (the magazine of the Richard III Society)

An intriguing story that will keep you in its clutches until the very end.’

Entrada Publishing

…a well written and entertaining read, with an interesting and different spin on events of the reign of Edward IV.’

Historical Novel Society

‘I love this book! Sometimes a sequel can disappoint, most definitely not the case with this book. I was engrossed from start to finish. An intriguing – with surprises, plot surrounding characters I am growing to really know and love. A superbly written book and very original. Medieval fiction at its very best. Cannot wait for the next!’

‘A fantastic sequel to The Woodville Connection. A really enjoyable read, right from the beginning. The characters are almost brought to life and the use of some old English words adds interest. The storyline is one that keeps the reader’s attention to the very end. A great book!’

‘I had waited what seemed a very long time to read more of the adventures, trials and tribulations of the likeable Francis Cranley. I was worried that I would be disappointed but I was not! The pace of the book is fast and entertaining from the first word to the last and has at the centre a medieval romance. Can’t wait for the next instalment!!’

Amazon customers

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The Woodville Connection

Book Type: Historical Fiction

“There are many stories with which I regale my greedy visitors but there is one I never shall tell. Although it pleases me to confide this tale to my good friends quill and parchment, I have instructed the stout, dumpling-cheeked widow who sees to the comfort of my house to feed my scribblings to the flames the moment I breathe my last. I do not doubt she will obey my order since I have bought her loyalty with gold and soft words and in any case, the woman is unlettered and has little interest in my ramblings. Thus I would have it. I am the last survivor of those who took part in the Plaincourt Manor affair and I have vowed to take that secret to my grave.”

Francis Cranley is a nobody – he is illegitimate and has no fortune of his own – but he does have certain advantages: he is handsome, quick-witted, skilled in battle and his best friend is Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the younger brother of King Edward IV. Richard and his wife have made their home at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire and Francis lives there with them. His official position is personal minstrel to the Duke and Duchess but unofficially he is Richard’s troubleshooter, investigating potentially tricky situations and solving problems for him.

The story begins when Will Fielding, an old soldier Richard knew as a boy, turns up unexpectedly at Middleham. He is on the run, accused of a murder he swears he didn’t commit. Although Richard is sympathetic, he can’t risk helping Fielding openly because the man is wanted by the King’s justices. His solution is to send Fielding into hiding while Francis Cranley investigates the matter, thus embarking on a journey that puts his life in danger as he uncovers dark secrets and powerful enemies close to the throne.

The Francis Cranley Mysteries

Published in September 2013, The Woodville Connection is K.E. Martin’s debut historical novel and the first in a planned series of Francis Cranely Mysteries. Set in the late fifteenth century, it introduces the illegitimate Francis Cranley who is raised alongside the Duke of York’s children after his own father dies fighting for the Yorkist cause. Through this upbringing Cranley forms a lifelong bond with the youngest of York’s offspring, Richard of Gloucester. When The Woodville Connection commences he is holding tenure at Middleham Castle as Gloucester’s personal minstrel although this is a cover for his real role of trusted adviser and troubleshooter.

The follow up to The Woodville Connection, The Beaulieu Vanishing, is now available to purchase in paperback and on Kindle.

Reviews of The Woodville Connection

“The story is told in the first person by Cranley himself and is written in a kind of cross bewteen and modern and ‘olde’ English, which gives it some atmosphere and the story moves on at a good pace. There are some vivid characters, especially those employed in the manor house kitchen, and some astounding ‘revelations’ about the Woodvilles. The Woodville Connection is not high drama but a straightforward, unpretentious tale, easy to read and sufficiently absorbing to keep the reader interested – and none the worse for that.”

The Ricardian Bulletin

“I found The Woodville Connection to be an easy-to-read medieval murder mystery, with much intrigue and drama, set against a dramatic event in English history. With its fast pace and some great twists and turns in the story, this debut novel from author K.E. Martin keeps the reader turning the pages, wanting to know what happens next. The historical detail of the daily life and customs of this period was fascinating, and, telling the story through the eyes of Francis Cranley proved an excellent way of engaging the reader in the action taking place.”

The Historical Novel Society

“The book is very exciting right from the beginning. The prologue especially got me hooked. I also liked the theme and the way the plot developed. The characters are all well defined. Another thing I noticed was the author’s ability to recreate a fifteenth century setting with the effective use of language.”

Online Book Club.  Read the full review here.

Readers’ reviews:

“…a marvellous tale [of] skulduggery, and machinations. It is very well written, and the pace is fast. As you read you really want to know what is going to happen next. There are some terrific twists and turns in the story. I could not put it down.”

“I was captivated by this book right from the first page. I just couldn’t put it down. It ticked all the boxes for me as I love historical novels and murder/mysteries. I fell in love with the characters and can’t wait for the second book to come out.”

 “This is a great story, beautifully written, with much intrigue and drama. The historical detail is fascinating and I found it hard to put the book down.”

“This was really great, an easy, medieval, murder, mystery read and always great to have Richard III in there somewhere! I sat and read this in front of the fire for hours and finished it earlier today. It is well written and pure escapism with a great twist at the end, which I hope will lead onto another book!”

“This well-written, exciting historical mystery keeps the reader guessing to the last as it romps along with breath-taking speed. The research is meticulous; details of food, furnishings and fashions bring medieval England to life, yet none of this interferes with the enjoyment of the plot. It’s one of those `unputdownable’ novels with constant twists and turns – and just when you think everything is sorted, a final twist in the tale lies in wait. I enjoyed this immensely and really look forward to another by the same author.”

To read full reviews click here

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Who’s Who in Women’s Historical Fiction

Book Type: Non-Fiction

“A must‑have for the bookshelf of lovers of historical fiction, this book is well researched and packed full of information and facts. It covers the works of many must‑read women authors of historical fiction and is well illustrated with photographs, drawings and lots of book covers. The characters are presented in an A-Z format, complete with their romantic interests, friends, family and servants. Dip into this book time and time again, immerse yourself in the characters you know well and find lots of new ones along the way. The book starts with a series of essays, followed by the A-Z list, which has symbols to correctly identify the historical settings and find all the characters from a particular era quickly and easily. A quick browse will have you searching the bookshelves for well‑loved novels and inspire you to try new titles. Not everything is given away so the plots still stay intact, but enough is given to arouse your interest and want to give the novel a try. An excellent book, so make sure you put it on your wish list this year!”  Historical Novel Society

“As in all the best lit crit, it sends you back to the original books, but also acts as an aide-mémoire for those who, when picking up a new novel, often feel as though they have been launched into a cocktail party full of strangers. You know you’ve been introduced to this or that person, but cannot remember their names/status/place in plot. Worry no longer – Martin is on hand to remind you. The Lady

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Farnell Teddy Bears

Book Type: Non-Fiction

The family firm of J K Farnell & Co Ltd occupies a position of unparalleled importance in British soft toy history, firstly because it was the very first British toy company to manufacture teddy bears, and also because it created the actual bear that inspired A A Milne to write the Winnie the Pooh stories. Yet impressive as those facts undoubtedly are, they comprise just a small fraction of the fascinating Farnell story.

Founded in the 19th century, for decades J.K. Farnell & Co Ltd was the most respected and influential soft toy manufacturer in Britain. Thanks to the superior quality of its products, the company experienced enormous commercial success at national and international level; even in Germany, home to its biggest rival, there was great demand for Farnell products. Surviving economic depression, devastating fire, the ravages of World War II and other traumatic events, the company kept going until fundamental changes in the British toy market forced its closure in 1970. Since then, the Farnell name has been forgotten by all but a dedicated band of teddy bear enthusiasts and the true story of this pioneering British firm has fallen into obscurity. Now, thanks to Kathy Martin’s intensive research, the facts about J K Farnell & Co Ltd and its fabulous teddy bears are revealed in this informative and entertaining book.

“Thanks to intensive research, J K Farnell & Co Ltd and its fabulous teddy bears are revealed and brought back to the world that until now has been forgotten” Antiques Diary

“Through intensive research, this book brings the company and its teddy bears back to life.” Best of British

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Teddy Bears A Collectible History

Book Type: Non-Fiction

The teddy bear occupies a unique place in the affections of millions of people, with no other toy coming close to it in terms of universal popularity. Since its creation in 1902, it has brought a sense of comfort and security to untold numbers of children across the globe, while in recent times many adults have rediscovered the uncomplicated joy that teddy bears can provide.

This extraordinary success is often attributed to the teddy bear’s reassuring familiarity, yet as this book reveals, that familiarity is in many ways an illusion. The real key to the teddy bear’s lasting supremacy is its ability to constantly reinvent and reinterpret its basic design in order to march with the times. Far from being the predictable old friend of our imagination, the teddy bear is in fact an unparalleled master of disguise.

First published in the USA in 2007, Teddy Bears by Kathy Martin has since been translated into Dutch and German and a UK edition was published in 2009.

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Merrythought Teddy Bears

Book Type: Non-Fiction

Merrythought is one of Britain’s longest running teddy bear manufacturers with a dedicated international following for their quality, highly collectable products. This book, with its quality colour illustrations and use of original sales material will appeal to teddy bear collectors as well as dedicated Merrythought fans and is full of tips on collecting the popular toys. Written by Kathy Martin, a leading teddy bear expert and former editor of Teddy Bear Scene, this is a must for collectors, dealers and those who loved their own Merrythought teddy bears when young. After a short-term closure, Merrythought was revived and continues to delight future generations. Its closure made headlines news, underlining the enduring popularity of the firm’s quality bears.

“This must- read book will appeal to Merrythought and teddy bear collectors and dealers, those who loved their childhood teddies and indeed anyone interested in the history of the great British toy company.”  Arc Magazine

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