Author Guest Post: Eve Yohalem + Giveaway

Today I have the wonderful Eve Yohalem to share some fun facts about the setting of her new book Cast Off, a high seas adventure for middle grade readers. Stay tuned for a chance to win a copy to read for yourself!

Ten Fun Facts about the Seventeenth Century

CAST OFF cover

One of my favorite things about writing Cast Off was learning about the seventeenth century, a time period so different from our own that everyday life was almost unrecognizable. So without further ado, here are ten fun facts about the seventeenth century:

  1. Nobody used forks. They weren’t invented until the 1680s and at first only French aristocrats used them. Everybody else got by with a knife, a spoon, and their hands.
  2. If your appendix burst, it was because your humors were unbalanced. This was because humorism was the prevailing theory of medicine and had been since the Roman era. Basically, you had four humors: black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. Get too much of one or too little of another and—poof!—appendicitis.
  3. Kids drank beer for breakfast. BUT beer had about half the alcohol content then than it does now, and water, especially in cities and on ships, wasn’t very clean.
  4. Everybody knew that bathing was dangerously bad for your health. Bad humors could get in there!
  5. The Spanish Inquisition was still going strong.
  6. New York City didn’t exist until 1664. Before then it was a city called New Amsterdam that was part of a Dutch colony governed by Peter Stuyvesant.
  7. Your barber was also your surgeon. And vice versa.
  8. Soused pig’s face, boiled baby, and stewed eels were things you’d be excited to eat for dinner.
  9. Candles were expensive. Unless you were rich, when it got dark you went to sleep. And speaking of sleep, there’s evidence to suggest that until the modern era, people slept in two shifts: a four-hour chunk from sundown until midnight or so and another four-hour chunk from two-ish until six. This left time to chat or ruminate or whatever else you might feel compelled to do in the middle of the night in the dark. It’s possible that one of the reasons so many of us sleep so poorly is because we’re actually hardwired to sleep in two short stretches instead of one long stretch.
  10. People had this weird thing called privacy. There were no phones, no cameras, no GPS systems, no Internet, no fax machines, no telegraphs, no satellites, no recording devices, no social media, no Google, no NSA. On the other hand, unless you were really rich, you probably slept in the same room with every member of your household, and overnight guests, too. So pick your poison.


A huge thanks to Eve for sharing all those tidbits about the 17th Century! I would love some privacy some days…

More about Eve:

Eve Yohalem photoEve Yohalem’s first book was ESCAPE UNDER THE FOREVER SKY, which Booklist called “riveting.” She lives with her family in New York City. To learn more, and download a free curriculum guide for CAST OFF, visit her website:
The  CAST OFF blog tour:
Mon, June 1
Book Monsters
Tues, June 2
Hiding Spot
Wed, June 3
Books Unbound
Thurs, June 4
Unleashing Readers
Fri, June 5
Read Now, Sleep Later
Mon, June 8
Mother Daughter Book Club
Tues, June 9
Cracking the Cover
Wed, June 10
The Compulsive Reader
Thurs, June 11
The Children’s Book Review
Fri, June 12
I Read Banned Books
One lucky winner will receive a copy of CAST OFF: The Strange Adventures of Petra De Winter and Bram Broen (U.S. addresses, ends 6/15).
Use the Rafflecopter to enter!
Stay tuned for my thoughts on this book on Friday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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