Medieval

#Review | A Midsummer Knight’s Kiss by Elisabeth Hobbes #AMidsummerKnightsKiss @ElisabethHobbes @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello my wonderful followers, I am so excited to be sharing my review of this amazing book; A Midsummer Knights Kiss by Elisabeth Hobbes….In fact excited may be an understatement, I may need sedating with copious amounts of tea, you can be sure there will be a gif involved in this review….anyway, enough of the waffling grab that cuppa and enjoy.

A stolen moment…

…to reunite them!

Since her mischief-making childhood with Robbie Danby, Rowenna has curbed her impetuous nature and become a lady. When she meets Robbie again in York he’s close to claiming his knighthood, and their newly awakened affection inspires in Rowenna a decidedly adult impulsiveness! Yet Robbie’s heart appears to belong to another…unless a Midsummer kiss can change everything…?

My, oh my!! I have become swooning, melting, besotted mess on the floor because of this beautiful book….if ever there was a need for a #DoubleSigh then this is. It seems like an age since I read the Rogue Knight and was first introduced to the Danby brother’s (Yes, I have missed the first book; the Blacksmiths Wife, something that will be rectified).

The starts of when Rowenna and Robbie are children with the best opening scene concerning Geese – yes, you read rightly; Geese, something which did bring back childhood memories of being chased by the wretched things; honestly you all may laugh, but it was horrific…but, you don’t to read about my issue with Geese, you want to hear about this gorgeous book. From that first fun and enlightening chapter you can easily see that there is a very strong bond between them but there is also a spark, a hint of what will be a fabulous romance – even if at first they don’t realise it themselves. It’s lovely to see them as children, not understanding those little feelings and twinges they were feeling around each other, then when Robbie founds out something which will change his whole life and he leaves to start his Knight training, Rowenna is left behind it is these years apart that Rowenna especially knows that what she is feeling for Robbie is far more then just friendship and cousinly love.

We then fast forward years later when our hero and heroine are grown and finally reunited, Robbie is the brave, loyal and devilishly handsome Knight in training, he is full of idea’s of what his future will hold and dreams to be a great Knight, dreams which also happen to involve him marrying pretty lady-in-waiting; Mary. When they stop off at York, Robbie soon reunites with childhood best friend, Rowenna who he soon realises is as different from the little sprite he had left behind she is now a beautiful very lady-like young woman who posses far more charm and grace then he ever remembers and an even more wilful then he remembered. Now he is back and he now not only must figure out exactly what he wants but there is another dark secret that is lurking in the shadows , the secret that changed his whole perspective on his life all those years ago. There are obstacle in their way throughout, does one follow ones heart, or do as one is dutifully bound to? This question does appear throughout and it is a joy to watch as Rowenna and Robbie orchestrate their way through the trials that they must face.

Rowenna and Robbie are perfect for each other, they both have issues and their difference in character compliment the other perfectly; such as Rowenna and is bright, sparky, feisty and full of energy (that does at times get her into trouble) and Robbie is far quieter, he is charming, brave, brooding, thoughtful – at times – he definitely over thinks everything apart I think they just about manage adult life but together they are a strong force, they have an unbreakable bond that connects them, which has lasted the test of time since they were children.

This is a mesmerising and atmospheric, romantic adventure through a beautiful city in a time of unrest and upheaval which also happens to he the highly anticipated return of the Danby’s this time we have moved to the next generation in the form of Rowenna and Robbie. What I particularly loved about this, was watching Rowenna and Robbie discover themselves, they grow into the fabulously complex individuals right before your eyes.

I just loved it…

I have got to mention Robbie’s friend; Cecil, he is a fabulous character, personally speaking as much as I adore Robbie, I thought that Cecil stole every scene away, even though they are very different, their personalities are a little like chalk and cheese there is a underlying friendship and respect between them that makes for great reading and I really do hope that one day Cecil will get his own story…not that I’m hinting…oh, OK I am!

This has everything that we have come to expect from an Elisabeth Hobbes book; danger and unease, tension both from certain aspects of the story and crackling tension between Rowenna and Robbie. Humour, intrigue, romance, gorgeous settings, flawless historical detail, but there was more to this book then just a stunning back drop of York and a brilliantly portrayed romance, i felt that Ms Hobbes had really put her all into this book, there is an unmistakable passion for the story and the history that comes through the writing. Something else I did picked up from this is that I really need to read the Blacksmith’s Wife, that book has been sitting on my kindle for way too long, after reading and loving Rogue Knight and this I need to know Hal and Joanna’s story

This is a stunning book, enthralling and thrilling story which does take the reader on a marvellous journey, the character’s have more hurdles then in an Olympic sport which keeps the reader completely engrossed you are willing Rowenna and Robbie on, you become desperate for them to find their happiness, as there are few characters who deserve it as much as these two do. There is nothing that can say against Elisabeth Hobbes writing, she really is a master in her own right, she will grab your attention and never let you go until the last word and even then the story will stay with you a lot longer.

It’s a richly textured in emotional depth, excellently detailed so much so the story comes alive with sparkling clarity.

This was an Arc copy via the author, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Elisabeth. x

A Midsummer Knight’s Kiss is to be released on 3rd October and can be pre-ordered now, and I definitely say go and grab a copy as soon as you can.

#BlogTour | A Conspiracy of Wolves (Owen Archer Series #11) by @CandaceMRobb #AConspiracyOfWolves #Review @HFVTB #HFVTBBlogtours

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Hello my wonderful readers! I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on the brilliant blog tour for; A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb, I am so excited to be sharing my review of this amazing book with you, plus there is a chance to win a hard copy at the end of this post. So, grab a cuppa, make yourself comfortable, you know what I’m like when I start babbling.

A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb

Publication Date: August 1, 2019
Severn House/Crème de la Crime
Hardcover & eBook; 256 Pages

Series: Owen Archer, Book 11
Genre: Historical Mystery

 

 

When a prominent citizen is murdered, former Captain of the Guard Owen Archer is persuaded out of retirement to investigate in this gripping medieval mystery.

1374. When a member of one of York’s most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim’s father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim’s household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she’s not telling?

Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen’s enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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My goodness, just how brilliant is this book? Full disclosure; I was at first a bit tentative about reviewing this, mainly because with it being book eleven in the Owen Archer series, I did worry that I had come into the series way too late to truly be able to enjoy it, I didn’t know if the previous stories were linked in anyway or if I would be missing out on anything by not reading the previous ten books; but I loved the sound of this so much that I just went for it and oh, boy am I pleased that I did, this is amazing – how has this series past be by for so long? H

I really didn’t need to worry about not enjoying it or not being able to follow the story, if I didn’t know this was apart of a series, I would have read it like a stand-a-lone, but saying that I am eager to read more of Owen Archer – who is a stunning hero, my god how much have a fallen head over heels for this one eyed, marksman and medieval detective? Be still my beating heart, it is definitely a moment for a #DoubleSigh 😉

Set during the 14th century in York, after the brutal death of Hoban Swann; a member from one of the most prominent families in York, Hoban’s father asks Owen Archer to help and investigate what happened. Owen is currently grieving after a friends death, but not knowing where his future lays, Owen accepts the case. It first appears as though the victim has been attacked by something dog or wolf like, as his wounds could only come from such a savage beast, yet Owen has other idea’s, from his first look over the body he soon realises that the killer must be human, and then when another body is discovered and Owen thinks that these two attacks must be connected some how…but how? – Well, I ain’t going to tell you, am I? 😉 So with his friend Geoffrey Chaucer (Yes, the very one, and no not the Paul Bettany one either ;-)) honestly, Chaucer is a hoot, the way he irritates the hell out of Owen with his constant babbling and writing is very funny, there is quite a bit of one eye rolling from Owen.

I do love the relationship between Owen and Chaucer, when I first met them I would never have thought that they would have such a great if odd friendship, I don’t know if Chaucer has been a constant fixture thought the series, but from this I would say he has because there is such a ease between them, I really love how these two are written a fictional character and a real man from history good friends. I love it.

As the investigation progresses Owen think that healers apprentice Alisoun knows far more then what she says and going from the way the story opened I would have to agree with him, I do really like Alisoun, she is a interesting character she is trying to learn the ways of the healer and yet she is unsure of how to make her own way in that world, I love how her character develops through the story.

Anyone who follows my reviews will have an idea of what the book is like, as I am a bit of a creature of habit and do tend to stick very closely to what I like, I love a good historical mystery, I love following the investigation and trying to guess where the story is leading some times you can guess where there the investigation is going, but this one took me by surprise. I first though this person was involved then quickly changing my mind to that person – honestly I would have found most of the cast of characters guilty for something, and then; boom this mind-blowing ending that made me sit back and go “Woah, that was unexpected!”

Overall this is a seriously great, edge of your seat, page turning mystery that grabs you from that very first sentence. It has a real edginess to it that is not for the faint hearted, the writing is some of the best I have come across it is very clear that Candace Robb has a passion for the era and these stories, as you can feel it in the words the details are incredibly accurate everything from the clothing to the dialogue is bang on the mark with historical accuracy. While reading and as you delve deeper and deeper into the mystery you feel the tension that swirls around Owen’s shoulders as he tries to find out what is going on, and for me that is the perfect historical, I love that realism.

A brutally, realistic and edgy mystery that you won’t wish to end.

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About the Author

I’m Candace Robb, a writer/historian engaged in creating fiction about the late middle ages with a large cast of characters with whom I enjoy spending my days. Two series, the Owen Archer mysteries and the Kate Clifford mysteries, are set in late medieval York. The Margaret Kerr trilogy is set in early 14th century Scotland, at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Two standalone novels (published under pseudonym Emma Campion) expand on the lives of two women in the court of King Edward III who have fascinated me ever since I first encountered them in history and fiction.

I am a dreamer. Writing, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, being with friends—there’s always a dreaming element.

Website | Facebook | Twitter  | BookBub

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Blog Tour Schedule

Do check out the other blogs which are participating in the blog tour.

Thursday, August 1
Review at Book Frolic
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Saturday, August 3
Feature at The Writing Desk

Monday, August 5
Feature at Book Addict Rambles

Tuesday, August 6
Excerpt at Broken Teepee
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, August 7
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, August 8
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, August 9
Feature at I’m All About Books
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, August 10
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Sunday, August 11
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Monday, August 12
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter
Review & Interview at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, August 13
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, August 14
Guest Post at Words and Peace
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, August 15
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a Hardcover copy of A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb! To enter, please use the Gleam form here : Conspiracy of Wolves

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be 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 a new winner is chosen.

#Review | Reclaimed By Her Rebel Knight by Jenni Fletcher #ReclaimedByHerRebelKnight #MedievelRomance @JenniAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello my dear readers! Do I have an amazing book to share with you today, or what? I have the massive pleasure to tell you a little about the incredible; Reclaimed By her Rebel Knight by Jenni Fletcher. This book is simply stunning, I know that I may have over done the gushing on here, but it’s so amazing, so grab your cuppa take a seat and enjoy and apologies for the long review you will have to endure.

Married to a perfect stranger

Reunited with her warrior husband

When Constance inherited her father’s lands she had no choice but to marry cold-hearted Matthew Wintour. He left her for the battlefield without even a wedding night. Five years later Matthew has returned—a valiant knight! But Constance is no longer a frightened girl. And this time she must reach out to discover the honourable man behind the armour and what pleasures await them in the marriage bed…

My, oh, my!!! Jenni Fletcher you have out done yourself, this is how you write a Medieval love story; captivating, evocative, thrilling, enchanting, it’s a feast for the senses and has one of the best endings ever! Another shining gold star to be attached to Jenni Fletchers cap, this is sensational! By far one of the best Medieval romances I have read – and I have read a fair few – but this is as perfect as you can get in a Medieval romance;

When Constance is orphaned at the tender age of fourteen, if she was to keep her property and her fortune out of the King’s hands she must marry. She ends up married to Matthew, who just after their wedding leaves England for Normandy to do his duty and serves the King, or as my gran used to say; ‘he went off to find a war’ while Constance must leave her home; Lacelby and live with her uncle until her husbands return – whenever that maybe!

The story and their marriage really start five years later, in 1214, Matthew returns Constance can’t say she is happy or sad about that as she doesn’t know the man that she is to spend the rest of her life with, neither got to know each other in those few moments together, they were just children, she can’t even remember what he looks like. Neither of them wanted this marriage, but it was a necessity to save her from the ruthlessness of the King. Even though she doesn’t know the man she must share a bed with, she is determined that she will try and be a good wife and make this unwanted marriage work for them both.

I instantly felt a connection with Constance, she is a wonderful character, she is a strong and resilient young woman, who takes everything in her stride, never one to complain and she has a quietly soothing side to her that can ease the brooding of beasts, she is always rational but as you will soon see she possess a lioness heart of courage when the time comes. She was forced to leave the only home she has ever known, become married to a man she doesn’t know and then left again before the wedding night. Any other woman would become a wailing shrew, but not our Constance. She is uncertain of how to act around Matthew, she is worried about their marriage, yes she is more then equipped to run a household, but she knows nothing about men, especially not one as large, brooding and distant as her husband.

Matthew, oh Matthew!! Be still my overly beating heart, honestly I need sedating, he is just….#DoubleSigh!! I don’t have the words for just how amazing this man is, I need my swooning gif…..

Anyway, he may be the finest, most loyal and trust worthy hero I have come across in a long time. For once we have a hero that isn’t complex, his emotions and his responsibilities are in utter turmoil, but he knows what he wants, he wants the best for everyone and he strives to bring peace and clarity. Is there anything more heroic then that? He is genuinely a good man, who has an awful lot weighing on his ridiculously broad shoulders, not only having to deal with the political mess, having to protect those he cares about from any repercussions from what is about to happen and most importantly he wants to make amends and do what is right by Constance…phew, I’m tired just thinking about it all. Do you see how vague, I’m being? Very good reason there is a major plot entwined within this glorious love story, one that I refuse to give away.

What I love about Constance and Matthew more then anything is that they are very relatable and very realistic couple, they are flawed especially after they were pushed together in a marriage of convenience, yet they work, they face a turbulent journey to their HEA but they work through their issues, they do what so few couple is romances do, and they actually talk. Yes there is a spark when they meet, they are both drawn the other because they have both changed so much, they were just kids when they married and now they are in their prime – or how Matthews says to Constance when he first see’s her “You’ve…grown” he says while looking at her bosom. I love that, it’s awkward and funny.

But don’t just think that this is run of the mills love story, oh no! There is a serious and deadly sub plot that will have you perched at the edge of your seat, going “Oooh, eek, wow!” if your a nail biter, you may not have any nails left by the last page.

This book is a testament to just how bloody amazing Jenni Fletcher’s writing is, she has a gift for storytelling, she flawlessly entwines a beautiful and enchanting love story with passionate historic detail, you become immersed in their world. Her passion for era come through her writing with such clarity, you are transported to the Medieval era through the strong and accurate details, and you fall in love with her beautiful and realistic dialogue, this is stunningly perfect!

Oh, and before I forget, do read the historical notes at the front and the back, they are so enlightening.

This was a Arc from the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Jenni. x

This glorious book is out today, and can be purchased from Amazon and I cannot recommend it enough, so grab a copy while you can.

#Review | Secrets Of A Highland Warrior (Lochmore Legacy #4) by @NicoleLockeNews #SecretsofAHighlandwarrior #LochmoreLegacy @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello everyone! I am so excited and saddened to be sharing my review of this amazing book; Secrets of a Highland Warrior by Nicole Locke, I cannot believe that we are on the last book of the Lochmore legacy, I may need a good weep, someone bring the tissues as I will be crying a river of tears by the end, bring the comfort chocolate and Kleenex.

The key to his past…

…lies with the enemy sharing his bed!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Rory Lochmore had expected to wage battle, to claim land and finally secure his standing within his clan… Instead he won a wife. A McCrieff wife. Their convenient marriage could unite the two long-feuding clans forever. But can a political alliance give way to a passion strong enough to stand the secrets of the past?

So here we are, the last ever book in the Lochmore Legacy – unless of course there is going to be a Lochmore Heirs or something spin off?….Hint, hint! Anyway, it has taken me ages to write this review, mainly because I started bawling like an infant every time I came to say goodbye, I just couldn’t do it, but I have battled on and hopefully a review of this fine book will come through my waffle.

Anyone who knows me, will know how much I love a marriage of convenience, I love how the couple have to work that much harder for their happily ever after. I love their banter, their waspish sniping and then then the moment that they finally give in makes it all the more beautiful to read, and this is where Ms Locke comes into her own.

Even though this is the final book in the series, I cannot express how much I have been looking forward to reading it. To finding out the secret that has plagued the Lochmore’s and McCrief’s for century’s, why did these two mighty clans hate one an other? What got between them? Who are Ailsa and Rory? If your have been reading this series, I know that you would have been asking your selves these questions and here we find out all the secrets and lies. I knew that this finale book would be well worth the wait, as Nicole Locke is a fantastic author, for me she is one of the reigning champions when it comes to Medieval Romance, I adore her work she is in a class all of her own, but this, well this is certainly special.

In this finale book of the series, we have travelled back to 1293, where we finally find out all the secrets and the mysteries that have been building up over the last three books. Where we meet Rory Lochmore – oh, Rory!! Be still my thundering heart – and Ailsa McCrieff join their warring clans with their marriage of convenience, some thing neither of them wanted especially with the enemy.

I love the sniping, bantering and chemistry between Rory and Ailsa, they are enemies and that is what makes them all the more engaging, their battle for happiness is real and engaging. I do like that there is a real sense that if Rory and Ailsa allow themselves to put the family feud behind them they could make it work, all the sooner then they do. They both have issues, there is a lot of distrust between them, but you instantly see that there is a spark in the air when they meet. They are both hugely likable, and complex individuals, who you will instantly form a bond with. I love when they finally see that there marriage could be more then joining their feuding clans, it could be a proper marriage with something more, it is then that really moves the story onwards.

Ailsa is a great character, I love her feistiness, her intelligence and her caring nature. She is also brave and very out-spoken, something which Rory admires hugely, even if he doesn’t show it. Likewise with Rory, I got a strong sense of a vulnerable side to him as soon as we meet him, he wants to prove himself not just to his father but to the whole clan, he wants to show everyone that he can be Chief, he can be a strong resourceful leader. He has a sense deep down that he doesn’t belong and it is that what keeps hi going and pushing forward, it is that sense of not fitting in, of not being accepted that makes him become the man he is. Which if you ask me, there is nothing at all wrong with the man wo has invaded my dreams with those glorious arms, with that mighty chest, that ability to wield a sword and his sense of purpose….swoon! Please someone stop me, before I start on about his pert, well-formed, leather clad backside….oops, too late 😉

Like the previous books, there is more to just this then a sensual and beautifully portrayed romance, as ever with Nicole Locke there is a sense of danger and mystery. With a poisoning, unease and mistrust at every corner, not to mention the mystery that surrounds Rory, something that the ingenious Ailsa starts to unravel as the story progresses.

Just a word on the epilogue, written by the wonderful Janice Preston and Oh, my goodness, it is glorious. It is such a beautiful and fitting end to what has been a dramatic, inspiring and bewitching series. That epilogue lets everything all into place, it’s an enchanting and powerful piece of writing.

Over all, this is glorious! I love the story, it takes the reader on a magical and dramatic adventure, that is expertly and intricately woven into what is a true love story. The character’s brilliant, each one is well defined and likable – not to mention gorgeous, swoon-worthy, sexy, intelligent and full of real conflicted emotion. Bu, what really caught my eye and my imagination was the writing, the way Nicole has described each scene, you have this glorious picture in your mind, your can feel the textures of the clothing, the aromas, the sounds, it’s tantalising and vivid.

I am astounded yet again by this series, each book has been beautiful and atmospheric, each one has been such a joy to read. There is a real mixed emotion or sadness that this series has come to an end, and gratitude and awe that Nicole, Elisabeth, Lara and Janice have allowed us to follow their heroes and heroines through the ages. Thank you all for bringing such a varied and inspiring set of books to the world.

This was an Arc via the author in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Nicole. X

Secrets Of A Highland Warrior is to be released on 27th June and can be pre-ordered at Amazon. I cannot recommend that this book be read, so do grab your copy.

#BlogTour : Listen To The Wind (The Orphans of Tolosa #1) by @Susanne_Dunlop #Review & #GuestPost #ListenToTheWind #TheOrphansOfTolosa @HFVTB

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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.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

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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.

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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.

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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.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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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

Friday, May 17
Review at Bookish Sarah
Review at Comet Readings
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 20
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

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

Monday, May 27
Review at Macsbooks
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, May 28
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

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Giveaway

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 Rules

– 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

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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.

Simply stunning!

Kings Knight is available from Amazon, and I cannot recommend it enough!

Review : Reclaimed by the Knight (Lover to Legends #7) by Nicole Locke

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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…

My View

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.