Friday, 5 February 2010

Blackthorn Winter - Cover, Blurb, Excerpt, Reviews

Blackthorn Winter is the second of the Herevi Sagas.   The decades-old feud between the De Ronciers and the Herevis is first explored in the earlier medieval saga The Stone Rose. The eBook edition is out in October 2014. 
Here's the new cover with the blurb below:

Arlette de Roncier, the young and innocent daughter of Count François de Roncier, one of the most ruthless nobles in Brittany, agrees to an arranged marriage in faraway Aquitaine. She has no idea that her father’s greed for a few acres of family land has led him to murder his own flesh and blood.
Arlette is sent to meet her betrothed, unaware that one of the men in her entourage, Gwionn Leclerc, is in truth her distant cousin, Raymond Herevi. Raymond has seen his family destroyed by Count François and is out for revenge. In Arlette he thinks he has found the perfect scapegoat...
This story is not a traditional romance, but a richly detailed evocation of living and loving in the middle ages. First published in 1993, Blackthorn Winter has been revised and given a less ambiguous ending.

Readers Write

‘I am a big fan of Elizabeth Chadwick and I think this book matches the storytelling talent of Chadwick. Loved it.’

Some places that inspired Blackthorn Winter:

Rocamadour, South West France
Medieval Gateway - Rocamadour

The sword of Roland embedded in the rock in the Ecclesiastical City - just visible on top left 

The famous Black Madonna - pilgrims come to pray here

The place where St Amadour's body was found

Ecclesiastical City
Roofs in the lower town seen from the Ecclesiastical City

Vannes, Brittany in France

St Peter's, Vannes
Locmariaquer, church

Romanesque arches in Locmariaquer church

Dolmen of Mane-Lud, Locmariaquer

To read a sample, please click below:
Below is the 1993 cover of the original Headline edition.
Cover Blurb
The Breton castle of Huelgastel is not the easiest place to believe yourself the equal of any man, and though Arlette de Roncier tries her utmost to prove herself, the only way she will ever be a worthwhile offspring in her father Count Francois de Roncier's eyes is to make a favourable marriage.   But marriage is not what Arlette wants - and especially not on the Count's terms.

In the nearby village of Locmariaquer, Raymond Herevi sits and waits, licking the wounds that de Roncer's men inflicted when they overran his father's manor.   Raymond has lost his family and his heritage, and some of his good looks, to de Roncier's thugs and is determined on vengeance.

When Raymond arrives at Huelgastel, disguised as a would-be squire, Arlette immediately catches his eye.  Her glossy red hair is a beacon that draws him across France to the Aquitaine where Arlette is to join her betrothed - a man more than three times her age.  It seems the situation is ripe for Raymond to gain his revenge...

This novel was inspired by a true story, that of Agnes of Essex. In 1163 Agnes’ father was disgraced and her fiancé, Aubrey de Vere, the first Earl of Oxford, rejected her. Agnes of Essex was shut up in a tower and at length the Church insisted that the marriage took place.  Please see the comments box below!


Count Etienne drew himself up to his full height. 'Use what weapon you will girl. There will be no wedding between you and me. I've no use for you. I'll give you a day to pack your belongings. You can take your entourage back to Brittany.'
'I shall not go.'
'Indeed you will.'
The Count's face suffused, just like her father's did when he was angered. It made Arlette's heart quail.
'No, I won't,' she stood firm. She was used to standing firm in the face of a man's fury. . . 'I will be your wife. I will become Countess Favell. You have made a legal contract with me and, God help me, I'll make you honour it.'


A deep flush stole over Arlette's cheeks. 'You kiss very sweetly. I didn't know it could be so sweet to kiss a lover'
'We're not lovers,' Gwionn said.
She pushed his hand into the neck of her gown and placed it on her breast. Impossibly her expression was trusting, innocent and seductive all at once. Her breast was warm, a perfect handful. Barely Gwionn mastered the desire to press himself upon her.
'No. But we will be.'


RaGena DeAragon said...

Just a word about the real Agnes of Essex. She did not "shut herself" into a castle, but was kept within a fortress by her husband (according to the bishop of London), Aubrey de Vere, first earl of Oxford. This may have been his means of expressing his displeasure at her appeal to the pope to uphold the validity of their marriage. The letter of Bishop Gilbert Foliot to Pope Alexander II and from Alexander to the bishop regarding this case have been preserved and are available (in Latin) in print.

Carol Townend said...

Thanks ReGena, I am sure you are right. it is awhile since I wrote that book, I shall amend the details at once!