Thursday, 13 May 2010

More about Her Banished Lord

Characters really can dictate novels.    Her Banished Lord is the fifth (and final) romance in the Wessex Weddings series and it is one of those novels I didn’t originally plan on writing. It was sparked by a scene in the previous novel, Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord.    When Lady Aude de Crevecoeur walks into the Great Hall at Beaumont Castle, she is mourning her first fiancé.    She has been betrothed to another lord with indecent haste - she does not dislike her new fiancé, but it is a political alliance and Aude has not been given the time she needs to complete her mourning.   
As soon as Aude walked into that hall, she begged me to tell her story. In Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord, Aude doesn’t have much to say - she is all quiet dignity in that novel.   She had her secrets though, and she wouldn't let me rest until I had unearthed them.   She also had a bone to pick with me, she wanted her own happy ending.  Aude was right, of course.   It simply wasn't fair to give her so many fiancés and not find the love she wanted. 

One reader has remarked that both the hero and heroine of this novel are Norman French – this was yet another thing I didn’t plan when I set out to write this book, but it felt right.  The Wessex Weddings novels take place in England and France shortly after the Norman Conquest. The first novel is set  in 1066 and each consecutive novel takes us further on in time, until with this book, Her Banished Lord, we reach 1071. By 1071 the Normans had a firm grip on England.   What was left of the Anglo-Saxon nobility was being edged (or pushed) to the side. Thus my Norman heroine is able to come to claim her new lands in England, and see if she can make a life for herself there.

Cover Blurb:

Claimed by the Norman Count
Hugh Duclair, Count de Freyncourt, has been accused of sedition, stripped of his title and banished from all of King William's land. Proud and determined, Hugh vows to clear his name!
Childhood friend Lady Aude de Crevecoeur offers her help - but how far will she go? Should she risk her reputation and her life, or save her reputation and become Hugh's wife? Turbulent times call for passionate measures...

Photos from my research files:
Hugh and Aude's story begins in Normandy in Jumieges.  The river Seine flows by Jumieges and it plays a dramatic part in temporarily reuniting them.   Here is a view of the river at Jumieges - the next few pictures were taken in 2008 on a visit there.

And here is the Abbey.  In the novel, Aude stays in a lodge in the Abbey...

Here, pigeons are flying round one of the bell-towers...
Pictures of Crevecoeur (in Normandy inFrance) in 2012.  Note that the buildings, although ancient, are of a later period than that in the story.


1 comment:

Kate Hardy said...

I've really enjoyed the Wessex books, so I'm looking forward to this one. I did think Ayde needed her own story ;o)