#BlogTour : Listen To The Wind (The Orphans of Tolosa #1) by @Susanne_Dunlop #Review & #GuestPost #ListenToTheWind #TheOrphansOfTolosa @HFVTB
Hello everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Listen To The Wind by Susanne Dunlap. Let me tell you that I have a mammoth post for you all today; Not only will I be sharing my review of this splendid book, I also have an exclusive guest post by Susanne for you all – and it is an amazing post and there is a chance to win a cop of Listen To The Wind. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy.
Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap
Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Format: eBook & Paperback; 388 Pages
Series: The Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval
Sent away from their families for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azalaïs become separated when they are forced to flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with scraps of memories and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time. Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and monks spell danger, and they must find a way to survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny—and preserve their vanishing culture.
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Guest Post by Susanne Dunlap
One of the best things about being a historical novelist is having the opportunity to delve deeply into a period and imagine the world as it was at that time. Perhaps that’s why, in order to put in the months (or years) of researching and writing a historical novel I have to become completely passionate about my subject and my characters—real or invented.
Most of my novels have taken place in the modern world, from the 17th-20th centuries. But something about the world of thirteenth-century Languedoc caught me and simply wouldn’t let me go.
It all started in grad school. I was studying music history at Yale University, working toward a PhD, and loving every minute of the research and writing. When in the medieval seminar I found out about the women troubadours (trobairitz) of Languedoc in the 12th and 13th centuries, I was utterly intrigued. Apparently all 20 of the trobairitz historians know of came from one small region of what is now southern France, but was then its own patchwork of political entities and its own culture. They didn’t even speak French, but spoke what is now referred to as Old Occitan, and was then sometimes referred to as Lemozin.
The troubadours and trobairitz wrote courtly poetry in very complex metrical forms. The subjects were love, of course, but in the case of the trobairitz, the love was decidedly earthly. They spoke of disappointments, of unrequited love, of friendship, and passion—where the men tended to go in a more esoteric direction, making the object of their love poetry the idea of a lady rather than an actual living, breathing, woman.
So, I thought, these women who weren’t afraid to be honest must have been strong, intelligent, educated, and imaginative. What’s not to like?
Very little is known about the real lives of the trobairitz, so I found myself creating characters and a story that integrated the poetry and music, and captured the volatility of the period. Because trobairitz came from the educated upper classes, Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort, daughter of a baron, is the trobairitiz in Listen to the Wind.
The Orphans of Tolosa trilogy (of which Listen to the Wind is book one) takes place as the culture of the region is being crushed by the inquisition, which not only sought to eradicate the Cathar heretics, but to impose the legal systems of northern France and subsume the region into the territories ruled by the King of France.
Although the region is now fully part of France, a modern version of the language is still spoken, and the descendants of those fiercely independent people cling to their cultural heritage. In recognition of this heritage, what used to be known as Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees is (as of 2016) now referred to as Occitanie, and if you visit there, you’ll see many street signs in both French and Occitan.
It is my hope that readers will not only be drawn into the adventures of the characters in Listen to the Wind, but also appreciate the culture that inspired the story.
More historical tidbits and a glossary of Old Occitan terms featured in the book is at https://orphansoftolosa.com.
Well, what can I say about this book? Thrilling, engaging, illuminating and brilliantly entwined with history and a wonderfully complex story. It takes you on a real adventure through 13th Centaury France, the colourful writing makes every scene so beautifully detailed and vivid you can see it playout like a film in your mind.
I haven’t read any of Susanne Dunlap’s work before, but after reading this – or should that be; devoured – I will definitely be reading more, her writing is so imaginative and atmospheric that you become completely lost in the story and before you know it you have whiled away a full afternoon.
The story opens with siblings; Azalais and Azemar who are living in a orphanage in Tolosa, they live a happy simple life roaming around the woods and surrounding area, making up games with the other orphans abuts knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. Everything in their life is good, that is until a illness spreads throughout the area and the people who were supposed to be protecting them soon turn on them and the other orphans, thinking it them that has caused all this illness and death. The children flee for their lives and in the melee Azalais and Azemar become separated, promising to meet up.
But, all doesn’t go to plan and what should have been a simple meet each other again in the next town turns into years of uncertainty and adventure for our two youngsters. What at first appears to be a very simple story of these two young people trying to forge their way through such hardships and attempting to find one and other again, you soon realise that this is far more then that. There is a ethereal and magical quality to the story, that is both surprising and addictive reading. We soon see that there is more to these two then meets the eyes, they have secrets buried within them that even they don’t know and even though once they have separated and when they try to find their feet they are more intricately entwined to one and other then originally thought.
So when they meet again years later, which is an amazing and gorgeous scene their shared past and destined future soon becomes clear.
This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising. Ms Dunlap’s writing is wonderfully immersive and brilliantly atmospheric, there is a real starlight quality to this book which will grab any readers attention.
Definitely a must read, I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.
This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Susanne and Amy.
About the Author
Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and nine grandchildren!
In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.
Blog Tour Schedule
Make sure you go back through the blog tour and check out all the blogs which have participated.
Monday, May 13
Review at Bibliophile Reviews
Tuesday, May 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Wednesday, May 15
Interview at Passages to the Past
Thursday, May 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Tuesday, May 21
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Wednesday, May 22
Feature at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, May 23
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog
Friday, May 24
Review at Passages to the Past
During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one copy of Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Listen to the Wind
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
#Review King’s Knight (Medieval Warriors Series #4) by Regan Walker (@RegansReview) #MedievalWarriors #KingsKnight #Medieval #Romance
WINNER OF THE 2017 RONE AWARD (best medieval romance)!
HE SEIZED LIFE BY THE THROAT
Dubbed the Black Wolf for his raven hair, his fierceness in battle and his way with women, Sir Alexander of Talisand attacked life as he did the king’s enemies. But acclaim on the battlefield and his lusty escapades did not satisfy. King William Rufus would bind him to Normandy through marriage to one of its noblewomen, but the only woman Alexander wanted was a commoner he had saved from a terrible fate.
SHE KEPT MEN AT BAY WITH HER BOW
The shame of being the child of a Norman’s rape dogged Merewyn’s steps from her youth. Determined never to be a victim of a man’s lust like her mother, in Wales she donned the garb of an archer and developed extraordinary skill with a bow. Despite her fair beauty, men now keep their distance. No longer in need of protection from other men, can Merewyn protect herself from Alexander when he holds her heart yet can never be hers?
My goodness, me this is good! In fact the word ‘good’ is too mild of a term to describe just how unbelievably great this book is. No wonder that this was the winner of the 2017 RONE award, it is fantastic and exactly how a Medieval Romance should be written! I always know that whenever I pick up a Regan Walker book, I am going to instantly fall in love with it, but there is something rather special about King’s Knight, it is an intriguing, seductive, edge of your seat and exhilarating romance set in a time where chivalry and honour reigned. This is what I love about the medieval era to start with that it was a dark, perilous and dangerous as well as being a time where the world was full of chivalric, loyal, honour bound with absolute love – once found.
This is the last book in the brilliant Medieval Warriors series, and it feels like we have come full circle, the series started with Serena and Raynard; (otherwise known as the Red Wolf) Lord and Lady of Talisand and now we are back where we started but this time with their son; Alexander – who I have to say, I am in absolute love with!
As children Alexander; the little lord-ling of the mighty Red Wolf saves scared, vulnerable illegitimate Merewyn when she was about to be attacked by the boys from the village who just because she is the result of her poor mother being raped, Merewyn is now seen only as a but of a plaything, that is until the devil himself turns up by her side. Merewyn then went on to train as an archer in Wales and Alex went to train to be the Lord, Knight and warrior he was meant to be.
Years later, it is now 1091 and the fearsome Red Wolf’s cub is now a full-grown man, a brilliant Knight in his own regard, he is now back at home after spending years away fighting for King and country and training to be the deadly Knight he is now. He has a sinful reputation as a most sought after lover and ladies man, something which he Alex has thoroughly enjoyed that is until he comes face to face with the one woman who has been in the back of his mind since he rescued her years before. Merewyn is a tantalising, mysterious and utterly breathtaking woman, she is so different to his usual conquests a brilliant archer in her own right and a woman a lot like his own mother who would much rather wear men’s clothes and go out in the hunt then stay at home in pretty gowns sewing. To say Alex is instantly attracted to her is an understatement.
The chemistry sizzles between them, the air practically crackles with pent-up sexual tension and mutual lust, you just know that these two are just meant to be together. They are like two sides of the same coin, both different but together are one. Unfortunately all is not on our love birds side, as Alex is devastated to learn that the King has picked his bride for him, a woman who will bring together the two mighty houses, but this woman has got a deadly reputation not just because she has a habit of ridding herself of unwanted husbands – which did make me think of a black widow spider, but Alex’s intended also sees Merewyn as a threat. Add a war expected at any moment which very would mean Alex’s death, will our destined couple be torn apart in the most cruelest of ways, or will the Black Wolf and the Archer have their happy ever after?
My goodness, if there ever was a moment for a #DoubleSwoon, then now is the time. I didn’t think that my all time favourite Regan Walker character; Jean Donet could be pushed down to number two, but Alexander has done it. He is a passionate, fearsome, intelligent, strong, sexy, loyal and protective man who loves his family above all else. The way he looks up to his might father; Raynard, The Red Wolf is wonderful, to Alex his sire is the one man in the whole world who he admires and aspires to be. I love the scene when Alex and his father have a sword fight in the Talisand games, it’s wonderfully to see the Red Wolf and his ‘cub’ go head on head and how playful Raynard is with Alex, wonderful scene. It is that particular personality trait; the family orientated one that I loved about him. The way he treats his fellow knights no matter what their rank with respect and friendship is another trait that I love about him and the fact that yes he has a reputation for being a ladies man but the moment that he is reunited with beautiful Merewyn, he is a one woman man. She is everything to him, she brings light into his life.
She really is an amazing young lady, after her early ordeal when she was rescued by Alex she swore that no man would ever touch her, she would protect herself. Which is where the always brilliant Serena; lady of Talisand comes in, Serena was and still is the queen of the bow and arrow – I have always loved Serena she is a strong, resilient woman who is so caring and she shares those traits with the younger woman. Merewyn fights for her place and she has worked hard to over come her unfortunate start in life, she is bold, resilient, loyal, brave and deadly as well as being vulnerable, cynical and passionate. When she chooses to give her love and heart to someone they are extremely fortunate. She has always held a light for Alex but being lowly born and illegitimate she knows that the heir of Talisand is too far above her, but that doesn’t stop her heart beating out a rapid beat when ever she sees him. Or when they secretly kiss – oh, my those kisses are incredible; sweet, tender, sexy, passionate, loving.
I love how Ms Walker has answered all the questions that I had throughout this series, such as what would happen with the young orphan Jamie, is my favourite Welsh archer and the other Knights such as Sir Alain happy? All of their stories are revealed and the series – even though it is sad that there will be no more ‘Medieval Warriors’ – has finished in a good place leaving the reader very happy and satisfied.
This is a tantalising, action-packed, atmospheric, engaging, passionate, powerful, compelling – I am running out of complimentary descriptive words – brilliantly written, an emotional page-tuner that I can guarantee will have you hooked from that very first page. The story sweeps the reader along at a marvellous pace, you are taken on an spell-binding journey which is full of thrills, twists and turns and a gorgeous romance all entwined with meticulously researched and rich history. Ms Walker as ever has put her heart and soul and many, many hours of love into this, it’s so rich in detail that it’s as though you have been transported from your armchair to Medieval Yorkshire.
This book is really too good to be true, fantastic characters, mesmerizing plot a superb ending to what is an amazing series.
Kings Knight is available from Amazon, and I cannot recommend it enough!
He left to save his family…
Now he’s back!
Nicholas of Mei Solis once swore to do anything to protect his home—he even went away to fight for it. That meant leaving beautiful Matilda too. Now Nicholas has returned briefly, to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one look at Matilda, now widowed and with child, changes everything. Suddenly Nicholas is compelled to stay…and to take back the future they both thought they’d lost…
Firstly when I got this book, I got to say I did squeal in pure delight! I have been looking forward to reading this one since I met Nicholas in ‘The Knight’s Scarred Maiden.’ There was something very dark and dangerous and raw about him, something that captured my attention and like a lot of readers of this series, I really wanted a Nicholas story. I wanted to know what drove him to becoming a mercenary, I wanted to know all about him, so I was very excited when I heard that Nicole Locke had written his story. I was way too excited! This does not disappoint, this story is high on emotion, but more than that it answer’s so many questions’ that needed answering about Nicholas.
This is book seven in the wonderful Lovers to Legend’s series, just the like previous books this can be read as a stand-alone or as apart of the series. This is what I love about this series is you can pick up any book in random order and instantly become glued with it.
Mercenary Knight; Nicholas left his home all those years ago to bring in the funds that his ancestral estate needed. Yes, some thought he left to gain a name for himself or left for some selfish, vain reasons, but that is as far form the truth. Nicholas isn’t selfish he cares deeply and knew that he needed to leave. Which also meant leaving the one woman he had always loved; Matilda.
When he receives word that Matilda had blatantly given up on him and married their childhood friend Roger, Nicholas is fuming and all out for revenge which is one of the reason’s he decides that now is the time to return home and take his rightful place as lord. Nicholas is hurt and confused by Matilda and Roger’s marriage, he doesn’t understand why the woman who had claimed to love him and said she would marry him had done such a thing while he was away risking his very neck – not to mention losing his eye – to send home the coin Matilda and his people needed. Let me just say that Nicholas can hold a grudge, he has seen too much and experienced too much he has become dangerous and jaded and his blood and heart wants revenge. Yet, he isn’t half as bad as people think him to be, he is kind and nurturing he has a big heart and feels thing’s very deeply. He is actually quite a sensitive man beneath his chain mail. He just wants love!
Matilda had no choice, she waited for Nicholas but after all her letters had gone unanswered she thought he had given up them. She saw him as just another selfish mercenary. She had tried to forget about her feelings for him and get on with her marriage, she wanted it to work with Roger, that is until the man she had vowed herself to suddenly dies and her past love turns up. Like Nicholas she is confused about her feelings for him, she wants to hate him for – as she thought it – deserting her, yet he proves difficult to do so.
Their feelings for one an other are still obvious for all to see, there are a lot of misunderstandings and confusion on both sides. They are both quite stubborn people, and they don’t make life easy for themselves. I do love how Ms Locke has really pulled out all the stops with these two, she has created a powerful yet equally up-lifting, second-chance romance.
I absolutely love this story, it is an engaging, magic and wonderfully romantic love story that has got so much of the authors heart in it. Ms Locke’s passion for this era and this story is evident on every page. The character’s really go on an emotional journey not just finding their happy ever after, but they go through a lot as individuals. Out of all the Lovers to Legends series, this has to be the most emotionally heart-wrenching book of the series, it is very character focused, the reader is drawn into Matilda and Nicholas’ world. For me I found that I wasn’t merely reading their story I was completely immersed into the story, avidly watching as the story unfolded.
A fabulous addition to what is already a favourite series, I cannot wait to see what comes next.
This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
Reclaimed by The Knight is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.
When your destiny lies far from where you began …
The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.
The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.
Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.
When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?
Wow! This is breath-taking! I do love a Medieval romance and I always know that whenever I pick up a Regan Walker book, I am going to be in for something special. And this is no different! Rebel Warrior is book three in the delightful ‘Medieval Warriors Series’ and it is incredible. For those that have been reading this series they will recognize Steinar from The Red Wolf’s Prize as he is the brother of the beautiful Serena. As soon as I read that book, I was interested in reading his story, he sort of jumped out at me, and I can say that I am not disappointed. I am a huge medieval romance fan there is something dark and brutal, yet inexplicably romantic about this era. It was a dangerous time, yet their love seemed to transcend the danger they were in and Walker has perfected writing this emotion, especially with this one.
When out with her guard flying her beloved Hawk, Catriona of the Vale of Leven, returns homes only to find that her entire village is being ransacked and everyone were either brutally murdered or taken prisoner by North-men. She sees her mother and father slain right before her eyes and within minutes she is alone in the world all except for her brother, her guard and friend and her Hawk. She is sent to live at King Malcom’s court, she still has thoughts to marry the Irishman that her father arranged but again her heart is broken as her betrothed betrays her.
Catriona is a smart cookie, she is a non-nonsense, resilient and feisty young women who has been witness to something that no one should have seen; the brutal murder of not just her parents but her whole community, her way of life. That has made her strong, it has given her a sense of how brutal and harsh life can be. It has hardened her heart, that is until she meets a charming young lad with a certain twinkle in his eye.
Steinar has gone to Malcolm’s court to recover from being severely wounded, while there he has been brushing up his sword skills and he has been regaining his strength. He is full of anger that his beloved Talisand has been taken by a Norman and even more angry that his sister has married one, yet he knows that she is happy with her Wolf. It still doesn’t squash his well-hidden feelings on the matter, which is why he and he best friend the marvellously witty and equally charming Rhodari, Welsh archer – who in my book, is a real scene stealer, what a fun and sexy character! Steinar is happier with his own company, that is until he spies the most beautiful red-head he has ever seen, he is instantly taken with her. The one thing that really stood out for me about Steinar is how he wants a woman like his sister; Serena. He likes that fire and the fact that Catriona can think for herself, that to me is a vital part of his personality, he not only wants a woman to be able to think for herself, but not to be walked over, he also respect’s women for that trait too, which I found utterlyendearing.
I am so in love with Steinar! It is wonderful to see him get his own story, he was a compelling and fascinating man when we first met him, earlier in the series, but this just brings his absolute passionate, wild and romantic personality out for all to see. He is brave, heroic, stubborn, sensual and sexy and I particularly like his wit and his resilience. I love the friendly and almost brotherly relationship between him and the ever so charming Rhodari.
This book really pack’s a punch, as with all of Walker’s work it isn’t just about the romance that blossoms between the characters, there is an intriguing, thrilling and action-packed story that takes the reader on a real ‘blink and you will miss it’ adventure. The thing that I really picked up on from this the authors passion for the era, the history but more importantly the story. Walker’s love and attention to detail and the history shines through her words, and that passion really imprint’s itself on the reader, which makes reading this book an absolute joy.
I love this, it had me laughing, crying and gripped not wanting it to end. It is gritty and brutal, yet tender and loving and all the time enthralling.
Rebel Warrior is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.
A princess captive in the tower…
A Spanish knight who can set her free!
In this Princesses of the Alhambra story, meet Princess Leonor, who can’t escape her tyrannical sultan father. For Spanish knight Count Rodrigo, her innocence–and beauty–tug at his sense of honor. He will lay down his life to protect her…but the risks are great: she is the daughter of his sworn enemy!
The Knight’s Forbidden Princess is book one in this new mini-series, and what an incredible start to what I can tell is going to be an amazingly romantic and thrilling series. I haven’t read Carol Townend’s work before, (which is a complete mystery to me, how come I have never read this author before?) so this isn’t just a wonderful start to a new series but a fabulous introduction to this new to me authors work, and I will definitely be reading more from her. As soon as I heard about this book and this new series I was hooked, the whole look and feel of it caught my attention.
The Princesses of Alhambra is set during Medieval Spain, where the country is at odds between the Knightly Spanish Nobles and the Sultan of Alhambra. The war that is battling between them is deadly, Knights are being taken by the Sultan for nothing more than ransom to fill his dwindling coffers which is what happened to our hero; Rodrigo. Townend has captured the tension and the danger of the time and area perfectly, it is real rawness an edge to it, that I love.
Princess Leonor is desperate to escape the prison her tyrannical Sultan father has locked her in, she and her two sisters; Alba and Constanza are a secret that their father fully intends to keep well hidden away. They are not allowed to go outside, they are not allowed to socialize. They are not even allowed to ask about their late mother. They are as Leonor describes them; pretty birds in a gilded cage, all they want is to be free to do as they wish, to live a life that they have been secluded from for so many years.
Leonor is a rebellious young woman, she is inquisitive about the world outside her towers walls. She has got fire locked away, she is by far the most innocent un worldly heroines I have ever come across. She takes risks but all for good and the loves she shows towards her sisters is beautiful. She yearns to learn about her mother, yet that half of her is locked away from her. Why is her father so adamant that she never knows about her mother? And why has he suddenly decided that they are never to marry? She is so full of questions, but her asking these things can lead to far worse than being locked in a tower.
Count Rodrigo has been captured by the Sultans men, along fellow Knights; his wayward cousin Enrique and best friend Inigo they are held for ransom. Rodrigo has more on his plate than just being a prisoner for financial gain his friend Inigo is seriously wounded when they were captured, and Rodrigo is also grieving the death of his baby brother. But meeting a veiled lady who saves his friend’s life changes Rodrigo’s life forever.
Breaking out of her prison tower, Leonor and her Knight in shining armour have to make the ride of their lives. The Sultan wants his daughter back and the tyrant will do anything to get her. Which means that the Knightly, gentlemanly Rodrigo has to protect the exotic and enticing beauty with his life. The way they find each other and learn about each other, is so lovely. They are such an adorable couple, the air crackles around them with just a mere glance. Love it! They face a lot of obstacles as they find their way in their relationship, not only the Sultan but they is a lot of conflicting and complex emotions from each of them that stands in the way.
I love this man! What a sexy, sinfully handsome and alluring man, Rodrigo is incredible. From that very first glance of him through Leonor’s window as he arrives dirty and brooding, I will admit I fell head over heels for him….seriously swooning! 😉 He has got so much going on, his duties in the army, his duties as a noble his grief for his brother and his complex and challenging feelings for a woman who he can’t have. He is proud, protective, perceptive and highly intelligent. He loves absolutely, I’m telling you if you are loved by this man than you are one very lucky lady.
I do love Medieval Romances, there is something very raw and edgier to them and this is no exception. The story is articulate, fast paced and highly engrossing. It flows beautifully taking the reading on a sweeping journey through Medieval Spain, from the stifling cities to the flowing countryside.
The rich and opulent scenery is excellent in detail and atmosphere that it captures your attention, it is as though you are riding through the dire heat, sitting in those filthy prison cells and lounging about in the stifling harem.
I really, really love this book! Townend is a skilful and creative writer who draws you so expertly into her world. This is an exciting, hugely romantic and fresh story that has everything you would want from a Historical Romance, I cannot wait to read more from this author and this series. I got a feeling this is going to a fabulous series!
A spicy romance with a brilliantly engrossing plot.
This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Knight’s Forbidden Princess is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.
The notorious Lord of Roul…
…must take her as his bride!
Lady Avelyn flees an unwanted betrothal to an elderly warlord only to be hunted down and returned to King David’s court by fearsome Elrik, Lord of Roul, a legendary warrior with a heart of ice—and a kiss of fire. And now Avelyn is bound to Elrik—and his bed—when Elrik is commanded to wed her instead!
Wow! Firstly, If I rated book’s, which I don’t this would be way, way over five stars!
What a wonderful introduction to a new to me author’s work, this is the first book I have read by Denise Lynn and I can say without a doubt, it will not be the last. My goodness me this is good, I do love Medieval Romance, there is something tantalizing and raw about this era that instantly grasps hold of your attention and this is no different.
After her mother died, she was taken in by her Lordly father who has arranged for her to be wed to an aged warlord. Avelyn flees this very much unwanted betrothal, she thinks if she can get to France she will be safe. She is followed by unknown men and is eventually found by a green-eyed devil, who she instantly feels a raw connection with, even though this man is taking her back to be bartered off like a piece of bread.
Avelyn may like to act the confident young woman who likes to think for herself and she is an intelligent, feisty and strong woman in her own way. But I think that after all she has been through she is a naive, scared little thing. She has lost all faith and trust in all men, she is instantly on guard around Elrik but because of his calming and patient persona she soon realises that, this man is different.
Elrik; Lord of Roul has been forced to become King David’s notorious and brutal Wolf, to atone for the sins of his father who after being caught in a treasonous act had his life spared by King David under the condition that Elrik became his warrior. So along with his closest childhood friends; Samuel and Faulk – who are the only men Elrik trust’s he became the dark, dangerous and deadly Wolf.
He is an expert tracker, he has this rare skill to be able to find anything or anyone, which is why King David sends in in search of runaway Avelyn. If anyone can find the lass, it’s Elrik. What our hero doesn’t plan on though is that King David is a canny and calculating man and he has plans for them. A plan that not only will solve the problems that is circulating around them but will benefit all – especially the King.
Elrik has a lot of issues from being reluctant to marry again after what happened him during his first marriage (really, what was his first wife thinking?) to holding on to a decades long grudge for none other than Avelyn’s father. Because of the treasonous act that resulted in him being who he is, he will never forgive, that grudge and prejudice means that Elrik has hardened his heart off towards her. He doesn’t want to like her – and yet, he can’t help himself.
I love the instant chemistry between Avelyn and Elrik, the first time they meet is so sexy. It’s like something out of Outlander, he threatens to pick her up and throw her over his shoulder, she says no so he does it anyway. These two even though there is a real trust issue between them, they are so good for each other.
She brings lightness, laughter and the kindness his poor wounded warrior’s heart need’s, even though it takes time for him to trust her his built in, urge to protect her with his life is constant. Whereas he is the steady warm rock she needs in her lonely, scared life. He is the proof that men aren’t always abusive, manipulative brutes that she has always thought, they bring joy to one and other and I absolutely love how Ms Lynn has portrayed each of their own personal mis-giving’s.
I do have a real fondness for a green-eyed, dark-haired rogue, and Elrik is something very special. My goodness me, he is a sexy as hell man, brutishly handsome…. Swooning! He has a charisma that can make any woman go weak at the knee’s, this man is pure sexual masculinity! He did what he thought was right for his father, he cares deeply for those he loves and if you are privileged enough to warrant that love, you are a very lucky person indeed. Everyone think’s him to be a cold, ruthless and brutally dangerous man, but I see a protective, smooth and genuine man who can charm the birds from the tree’s.
I love this book! I really cannot say enough good thing’s about it, everything about this is perfect from the fast and engaging storyline, to the well-defined and completely likable character’s. The fast and witty banter between Elrik and Avelyn is romantic and laugh out loud, it is articulate and flows seamlessly from one beautifully crafted scene to the next. Ms Lynn is a wonderfully talented writer, she keeps you engrossed in the story with her stylish way with words and I cannot recommend this enough.
This is an amazing and highly recommended story, that will be loved by all romance readers.
This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Warriors Runaway Wife is to be released on 28th June and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
I have the great pleasure of welcoming back wonderful Medieval Romance author; Elisabeth Hobbes to Chicks, Rogues and Scandal, Elisabeth is the writer of naughty knights and brooding heroes for Harlequin, Mills and Boon.
Elisabeth’s writing career began when she entered her first novel into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013 and finished in third place. She was offered a two book contract and hasn’t looked back! Since then she has published six Medieval romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon and doesn’t have any plans to stop.
Elisabeth works as a Primary teacher but she’d rather be writing full time because unlike five year olds, her characters generally do what she tells them. When she isn’t writing, she spends most of her spare time reading and is a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book. She loves historical fiction and has a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes.
Elisabeth enjoys skiing, singing, and exploring tourist attractions with her family. Her children are resigned to spending their weekends visiting the past. She loves hot and sour soup and ginger mojitos- but not at the same time!
She lives in Cheshire with her husband, two children and two cats with ridiculous names because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.
Frankie Hi Elisabeth, Welcome back to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Elisabeth Hi, thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.
Frankie Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and your books?
Elisabeth I’ve been writing seriously since 2013 when I entered Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest and finished third. I never expected to get beyond the submission, let alone be offered a two-book contract as a result! I’m a perpetually frazzled mum to two pre-teen Aspies and also a teacher so the fact I manage to write anything constantly amazes me. I’d love to write full time. Maybe one day…
My books are set in the Medieval period which is one I adore. My heroes tend to be the underdog rather than the nobility. The era was brutal and hard and I don’t want to gloss over that so my books are quite grisly in places. Readers should be prepared for a bit of blood and suffering as well as lots of romance, and of course the all-important Happy Ever After. One reader described them as ‘romance in a post Game of Thrones era’ which I loved.
Frankie Wow! Where do you get the time and energy? That is one of the things that I love about your books, it is very real. If you could take a holiday in any era and place, When and where would it be?
Elisabeth I would love to visit Rome. Probably under the reign of Vespasian when the empire was a little more stable and enjoying a break from the more nutty rulers. Luckily there are plenty of sites still available to go visit and imagine myself back then.
Frankie Do you plan out yours stories, or are you more for going with the flow of the writing?
Elisabeth I always set out to plan them – I generally know how the HEA will happen and a few key scenes – but my characters have a habit of doing their own thing and changing the story. I do wish they would behave!
Elisabeth My new release is called Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight. It’s set shortly after the Norman Conquest of England and is a companion to The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge. That book had a Norman heroine and Saxon hero so I wanted to twist things around in this book. My heroine Aelfhild is from York, which was still very much a Viking city at the time, and my hero Gui is from Brittany.
Gui is asked by his friend Gilbert to go fetch Gilbert’s promised bride, Sigrun, from the priory she has been living in. To gain admission he pretends to be Gilbert. Sigrun is terrified of marriage so her maidservant Aelfhild poses as her. Gui and Aelfhild are instantly attracted to each other but both believe the other one is someone else- and already spoken for.
Frankie Do you have a writing ritual?
Elisabeth I work four days so I have one day for writing. I drop my daughter at school then go to the library where I know I won’t be tempted to go online and waste my day away on social media. Apart from that I try to grab any spare time I can to write or make notes and always have a notebook with me in case inspiration strikes.
Frankie If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead character’s?
Elisabeth I’d love my Danby Brothers miniseries to be filmed but I couldn’t choose between the brothers so can I be greedy and say two? I’d love Aidan Turner to play Hal in The Blacksmith’s Wife and Clemence Poesy would play Joanna. I’d pick Santiago Cabrera as Roger in Redeeming the Rogue Knight and Margot Robbie as Lucy.
The Blacksmith’s Wife
Redeeming The Rogue Knight
Frankie Oooohh! Yes, now they would be films I would love to watch! What is it about the Medieval era that catches your attention?
Elisabeth I love the scope for danger and action. The period allows for grittiness and conflict that makes for so much excitement and drama. Characters can be put into dangerous situations that make their eventual victory and HEA even more satisfying. It was when the code of chivalry and idea of courtly love emerged, leading to honourable men willing and able to protect the women they love.
Frankie Your Medieval books are amazing, would you ever consider writing a book set in a different era? And if so which?
Elisabeth Thank you, I’m really pleased you enjoy my stories. I’m actually changing time period for my new book. It’s one of four books in a series set in Scotland that I’m writing with my friends Janice Preston, Lara Temple and Nicole Locke. They’re each set in a different era and mine is set in the early Tudor period. Luckily it is a time I studied at university and isn’t too great a leap from the Middle Ages so I’m partly familiar with it. I have a story I’d love to write set in the 1920s but I’m keeping that to myself until (if) I have time to write it.
Frankie Oh, wow! This new series sounds like it’s going to be great, I hope you do get the chance to write you 1920’s story.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, Elisabeth. I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun. What is your ideal girly night?
Elisabeth I love a night in with a bottle of wine and a good film, something like A Knight’s Tale or Hairspray. And we’d have to remember the 3 Cs – Crisps, chocolate and Comfy trousers!
Frankie Hahaha! I love it and I am so with you on the three Cs.
Thank you, Elisabeth!
About the Book
Beguiled By The Forbidden Knight
He’s her enemy…
…and she must not fall for him!
When her mistress is taken as an enemy Knight’s betrothed, handmaiden Aelfhild knows it would be too dangerous for her Lady – she must go in her place! But there’s more to the scarred Knight than she first thought…she isn’t expecting to fall for him! As the line between friend and enemy blurs, Aelfhild realises she might be protecting her mistress, but not her heart…
Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight is to be released on 31st May and can be pre-ordered at Amazon