The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Currently Browsing: Romance

Blowing the Dust Off: Jane Jackson’s Eye of the Wind

It’s Day 6 of my ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series of blogs. Today the lovely Jane Jackson is reminding us about her excellent novel, Eye of the Wind.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy…

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Jenny.  Your brief was that guests should choose one of their books published at least two years ago.  I have chosen ‘Eye of the Wind.’ I’m passionate about the characters, story and background in every book I’ve written, but this one is a special favourite.  Why?  Because Melissa and Gabriel have no choice but to keep secrets, from their families and each other.  As the attraction between them grows, this creates enormous tension which is tough for them, but makes a gripping story.

As a professional writer for over four decades with thirty-two books published, I’ve learned a lot about my craft. A strong plot is important. But for me character comes first.  The characters drive the story and if they don’t grab and hold your interest, you’re not likely to read on. There are so many new books published every week all begging for your attention.

One thing I learned to do (and passed on to my students when I was teaching the craft of novel writing) was give main character/s something to hide, something to protect, and something to overcome.  This gave them greater depth, made them more real, while adding tension and conflict to the story.  Something else I learned as a people-watcher –not nosiness but vital research – is that the reason someone gives for choosing a particular course of action might seem reasonable and logical. But that’s never the full story. Look deeper and you’ll see that there’s more behind it, a pay-off that gives them something they want and feel they don’t have.

e.g.  Jo buys a lottery ticket every week and tells her family all the things she would do for them if she won. Taken at face value Jo’s reason for doing the lottery is so she can be generous. But her underlying motive is to control her family by making them grateful to her.  And this is because she feels unappreciated, taken for granted.  I’m not suggesting that every time you meet someone you should second-guess their actions and behaviour, but occasionally looking a bit deeper can give you some terrific ideas for aspects of character.

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas from, what inspires them.  Mine come from where I live – a creek-side village close to the third largest natural harbour in the world.  Cornwall is an island within an island and has a long and varied history. When copper mining was at its height, tiny Gwennap parish was the wealthiest area in the world.  The Packet Service based in Falmouth carried mail all over the globe and brought back bullion from British-owned sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations.  News of victory against the French at Trafalgar, and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson, was carried ashore at Fish Strand Quay in Falmouth by Lt Lapenotiere, who hired a post chaise to take him to London.  The first trials of nitro-glycerine, invented by Alfred Nobel, took place at Falmouth docks.  William Bickford, a leather currier living in Truro, invented the first safety fuse for use in Cornish mines and quarries.  These backgrounds, and more, have featured in my books.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from ‘Eye of the Wind.’

Her gaze was clear and candid, and a tiny frown puckered her forehead. ‘You sound different.’

He smiled briefly. ‘Not used to talking.’

‘No, I don’t mean your voice: I mean your mode of speech.’

He bent his head, clenching his teeth as tension cramped his gut. In France, speaking only Breton, his disguise a matter of life and death, it had been easy to remain in character. But here in his home county and with her… Looking up he shrugged. ‘You’re right, miss. I used to work closely with the master and I wanted to better myself. Picked up his way of talking. No offence intended.’

‘No, no, I didn’t mean – it was not a criticism, Gabriel, merely an observation. But one I should not have made.’  Embarrassment had smothered her suspicion.

Torn between relief at avoiding potential danger and anger at his carelessness, he deliberately steered the conversation away from the past.  ‘May I wish you well for tomorrow?’

She drew a deep breath then blurted, ‘I’ll be glad when it’s over.’

‘No need to be nervous. You know what you’re doing.’

‘I hope so.’ It was heartfelt, anxious. After a moment she admitted, ‘My uncles don’t share your confidence.’

‘You know why, don’t you?’  He saw concern cloud her face. ‘You are attempting something men believe can – should – only be done by another man.’ One corner of his mouth lifted in brief irony. ‘This is a severe threat to their dignity.’

She was silent then tossed her head. ‘If their dignity is so fragile it must rest on very shaky foundations.’

‘It does,’ he confided. ‘And that is a secret all men would prefer to remain hidden.’

‘Her eyes widened. ‘Really?  No, you are not serious.’

‘Indeed I am.’

Seeing his rueful smile, she gasped and blushed, covering her mouth with her fingertips. ‘You should not say such things.’

‘Perhaps. But there will be occasions when you find that knowledge helpful.’

Watching her visible struggle as she recollected herself and withdrew from his unexpected and startling candour he realized that, despite being out in society, she had not acquired the usual veneer of arch sophistication he would have expected in a young woman of her background. And found himself fiercely glad.

She cleared her throat. ‘About – about the wood…’

It was a deliberate if reluctant retreat from an intimacy he should have resisted. Gabriel knew he must let her go. He turned away and set the basket on the ground.  ‘Why don’t you take a day or two to think about it, miss?’

‘But what you said – about the other trees being more valuable. Would they really raise a lot of money quickly?’

Watching her blush deepen and her lashes flutter down as she realized how much her question revealed, Gabriel wondered just how desperate a financial crisis her father had left her to deal with.  Picking up the last stone he began tying it onto a corner of the canvas, careful not to look at her.

‘They would, miss. And with proper management these woods will still be generating income a hundred years from now.’

‘Truly?’ She sounded stunned. ‘Thank you, Gabriel. Thank you very much.’

His hands grew still as he watched her walk quickly away up the path, her long stride peculiarly graceful, self-consciousness forgotten now she had so many more important matters to occupy her.

That evening after washing himself and his filthy shirt, he shaved carefully. With no mirror he had to work by touch alone. It took a long time, and he did not dare go too close to the wound on his throat. But the honey had done its work and healing had begun. Smearing a fresh cloth with the sweet-smelling salve he bound up his throat once more. Passing a hand over his almost-smooth jaw when he had finished, he smiled. No doubt Berryman would shudder at his efforts. But not only did he feel cleaner than he had for months, he also felt ridiculously proud.

When the men assembled at midday, the overnight rain was just a memory. The sun shone from a sky the colour of cornflowers dotted with thistledown clouds. Word that Francis Tregonning was dead and his wife ill had spread like flames in a gale. All were anxious about the yard and their jobs.

Melissa rode into the yard on Samson. Wearing her black habit and a small beaver hat with narrow rolled brim over her upswept hair, she was very pale but appeared calm as she dismounted. Standing near the back, his arms folded, Gabriel watched her fasten the rein to an iron ring, her fingers trembling. Remaining here was sheer madness. If he cared now in just this short time…Was he not in enough peril?

‘Eye of the Wind’   by Jane Jackson. Accent Press 2013. £1.99.

Kindle link:  http://amzn.to/2qiGcOw

Paperback available from third party sellers.

Reviews:  ‘A first-class historical novel … coupled with a gripping story-line.’    Western Morning News.

‘Satisfying on many levels, well-written and pleasurable to read.’   Historical Novels Review.

Author bio:  Jane Jackson’s first book was published in 1976. She wrote fourteen romances for Harlequin, ten romantic historical novels, and will soon complete the eighth of her Polvellan Cornish Mysteries writing as Rachel Ennis. She has been shortlisted for five major awards.

She taught the craft of novel writing for twenty years and was delighted and privileged to see eleven former students become professional novelists.  Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall all her life finding inspiration for her books in the county’s scenery, history and people.  Her hobbies are reading, coastal walks, baking, vintage vehicle rallies – and reading.

www.janejackson.net

www.facebook.com/PolvellanCornishMysteries

Twitter: @JJacksonAuthor

***

Thanks every so much Jane. Great blog!

Come back tomorrow to discover which book Alison Rose is blowing the dust off.

Happy reading,

Jenny xxx

 


Blowing the Dust Off: Rachel Brimble’s The Temptation of Laura

It’s Day 5 of my Blowing the Dust Off series. Today we are in the company of the fabulous Rachel Brimble. She is taking a peck at her Victorian romance, The Temptation of Laura.

Go grab a cuppa, sit down, and enjoy…

 

The Temptation of Laura…

Despite the title of my second Victorian romance, The Temptation of Laura is not so much about the temptation of Laura herself, but the temptations life throws at her, the hero and many of the secondary characters. Temptation is all around us and more often than not, that temptation could be perceived as opportunity. It’s fear that holds us back from surrendering or resisting.

The book is set against the backdrop of Bath’s theatre world during the late 19th century. There were many changes happening, socially, economically and sexually during this time. The first whispers of the women’s revolution had begun to circulate…not that many men noticed until around 1903 when The Women’s Social and Political Union was founded.

The leaders and supporters of the group began to cause a stir––marching and petitioning for their right to vote. This is marked as a hugely significant and rightly respected time for women at the time. Men had no choice but to sit up and take notice when so many women banded together and refused to be ignored.

This leads me to the question of temptation…I love exploring this theme and all the imaginings it conjures. Each of us is faced with temptations (or decisions) every day and I, for one, am hugely guilty of making the easy, expected, even socially acceptable decision. My books tend to be about the women who do the exact opposite. What better way to earn a living than to create a woman you admire and want to see succeed in her chosen vocation, romance or spiritually satisfying path?

Laura’s story began in book one of my Victorian series with eKensington when she appeared as a secondary character in The Seduction of Emily. It wasn’t long before I knew she deserved a richer, more in-depth story of her own. As a prostitute struggling for a better life…a dreamer who longs to be onstage, I sensed Laura would be a joy to write and spend some time with over the course of 85,000 words. She didn’t let me down J

Hope I’ve ‘tempted’ you to read the book!

 

Here’s the blurb & buy links:

Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…

Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?

 Amazon US

 Amazon UK

 Barnes & Noble

 

Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eight coming in Feb 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Links:

 Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

 Many thanks Rachel, fabulous stuff.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see what Jane Jackson is tempting us with.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 

 


Blowing the Dust Off: Marie Laval’s A Spell in Provence

It’s Day 3 of my ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series of blogs. Today I’m welcoming fellow Accent author, Marie Laval, to my place to talk about her French romance, A Spell in Provence.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy…

 

FINDING INSPIRATION IN PROVENCE 

People often wonder how writers find ideas for their novels. Although I can find inspiration from many different places – a song, a painting, a poem, or even a road map! – I can pinpoint the exact moment when I got the idea for my contemporary romantic suspense A SPELL IN PROVENCE. A few years ago I visited the lovely town of Cassis during a family holiday in Provence. We had an impromptu picnic lunch of baguette, ham and cheese on a village square and sat next to an old stone fountain with an inscription in Latin…and that was it!   

 

Fountains have a special place in the novel, but they are, and always were, very important in Provence. According to an old Provençal saying ‘Eici, l’aigo es d’or’, which translates by ‘Here, water is gold’ – and no wonder when you think how hot it can get in the summer and how parched the earth can be. Anyone who read the wonderful ‘Jean de Florette’ and ‘Manon des Sources’ by Marcel Pagnol, or saw the films, can remember the struggles and hardship the characters faced and their anguish of the characters when the water supply ran dry.

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is set near Bonnieux in the Lubéron region of Provence, one of the many hill-top villages dotting the countryside. My heroine leaves England and buys Bellefontaine, a ‘bastide’ (an old farmhouse) she renovates and plans to open as a guesthouse….until eerie things happen and jeopardise her dream. The hero of the story, Fabien Coste, is heir to an old aristocratic family and has turned his ancestral manor house into a luxury hotel. Once again, the manor house is based on a real place – the castle in Lourmarin – but I have of course changed a few details.

Another important setting in the story is the ancient village of ‘Bories’, which are stone huts dating back from the Iron Age, and which were still used as shelter by shepherds until a few years ago. You can also find isolated bories scattered in the landscape when you travel through Provence.

Provence is not only a beautiful place, it also has a fascinating history – in particular ancient history – which is pivotal to my novel’s story line. Before the Greeks, and later the Romans settled there, the Salyens were the largest Gallic tribe. By the 6th century BC, their main centre was Entremont, which is located on a plateau above what is now Aix-en-Provence.

There were other important centres, such as nearby Glanum. This settlement was dedicated to the Celtic god Glanis, and built around a spring known for its healing powers. The Salyens had the strange – some might say gruesome – custom of displaying the severed heads of enemies at the city gate. They left no writing but many statues of gods and warriors, some of them holding severed heads.

 

When researching and writing A SPELL IN PROVENCE, I loved surrounding myself with photos of hill-top villages, of old fountains and of lavender and sunflower fields. I grew up in Lyon and spent many holidays in the South of France as a child. Writing the novel brought back fond memories of playing in the sunshine, breathing in scents of herbs and flowers, and listening to the woody song of the cicadas.

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is published by Áccent Press and is available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00RVQO8RM

 ***

Blurb:

With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château.  As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is published by Áccent Press and is available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00RVQO8RM

 

Excerpt

Shivering in the cold breeze despite her shawl, Amy joined the guests lining up to be greeted by Fabien, who in true lord of the manor style, stood tall and imposing at the top of the steps, with torches burning on either side of him.

          He might wear a black dining suit and a crisp white shirt instead of a suit of armour, but there was something untamed, fundamentally uncivilized and proprietary about the way he surveyed the crowd – as if he truly owned everything and everyone, like Frédéric had said, and Amy was seized by an irresistible, irrational and overwhelming urge to flee. She didn’t want to speak to Fabien Coste, didn’t want to put up with his arrogant ways. He could keep his fancy chateau, his contacts and glamorous guests, she didn’t need him. She would walk home. It wasn’t that far.

          She was about to step aside when he looked down and their gaze met. Shadows danced on his face. The torches hissed in the breeze, their flames shooting high in the air and reflecting in his green eyes, giving them a deep, dangerous glow. For the space of a heartbeat, the noise of conversations around her became distant and fuzzy, and all she could see was him.

          He walked down, took her hand and lifted it to his lips. Even though his mouth barely touched her skin, a flash of heat reverberated through her body.

          ‘Mademoiselle Carter – Amy, you’re here at last.’

          It was the first time he’d spoken her first name. He made it sound French, sensual and incredibly romantic. Aimée. Beloved.

          ‘Shall I escort you inside and introduce you to a few people?’

          Panic made her heart flutter and turned her brain to mush.

          ‘Well, it’s just that …’

          He arched a dark eyebrow, looked down, and smiled as if he knew exactly what she was feeling.

          ‘You’re here now. You might as well make the most of it.’

 

Author Bio:

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. ANGEL HEART, THE LION’S EMBRACE, the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy are published by Áccent Press, as is her contemporary romantic suspense novel A SPELL IN PROVENCE. She also writes short stories for the World Romance Writers – Letterbox Love Stories and Escape to Africa – and has just signed a publishing contract with Choc Lit for another contemporary suspense novel to be published in 2018.

You can find Marie here http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

and https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor?fref=ts

and https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6538479.Marie_Laval

https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1

 

Many thanks Marie. I’ve always wanted to visit Provence- I am inspired to head that way sooner rather than later.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to read what Kirsten McKenzie has to offer us.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

 

 

 


Another Cup of Coffee: Amy’s Adventure Begins

Starting tomorrow, my blog will be hosting a 10 day series of posts dedicated to promoting books written at least 2 years ago. This ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series will help introduce you to some of the treasures your favourite authors have written in the past.

It seemed fitting, prior to ‘Blowing the Dust Off,’ to feature a blog about my own earliest novel.

Why not grab a cuppa and have a read….

Another Cup of Coffee - New cover 2015

Another Cup of Coffee is the story of Amy Crane’s quest to get her life back on track…and this is how her adventure begins…

Aberdeen airport

…It was only once she’d checked in at Aberdeen airport, her luggage safely stowed, that Amy finally stopped moving. Slumped on a bench, looking around at the people rushing by, she realised that this was the first time she’d been inactive for weeks.

Once her impulsive decision to go home to England had been made, she’d barely stopped for a break in the haste to work her notice period, sort out the ending of the lease on her rented flat, and arrange somewhere to stay in London. Now that stillness was about to be forced upon her, Amy had to face the reality of what she’d done by throwing in a good job and a nice flat for no job and a rented room in a shared house in London that she’d never even seen.

‘I need coffee,’ she muttered to herself. Hoisting her tatty fabric handbag higher onto her shoulder in a bracing gesture, she headed for the café located next to the departure checkpoint.

Having successfully managed to purvey her order to the Chinese-speaking assistant via a mixture of words and semaphore, Amy sat down on one of the fiendishly uncomfortable steel seats. Ignoring the unsightly build-up of used cups, half-eaten meals and spilt fizzy pop, Amy briefly allowed herself to contemplate her situation. Almost instantly her nerves regrouped in her gut, and Amy decided to put off any serious thoughts about the future until she was on the plane. That way, any possible temptations to chicken out and stay in Scotland after all would no longer be an option. Major life planning could wait. For now she would just indulge in her drink and watch the world go by. Then she’d have a wander around the meagre collection of shops, and perhaps buy a book or magazine for the flight, putting reality off for a bit longer.

Unable to put off the moment, Amy picked up her backpack and headed over to the departure gate. As she passed the newsagents’ her eyes landed on a copy of one magazine in particular- it had the appropriate headline, New job, New home, New life.

Amy muttered the words over and over in her head like a mantra, as she purchased the magazine fate seemed to have left for her before joining the queue of people who were also turning their back on the Granite City, for to business commitments, holidays, or in her case, for ever.

During the seventy-minute flight, Amy had managed to concoct enough excuses to delay any plan of action as to what to do next for a little longer. She’d examined the flight safety card thoroughly, had uncharacteristically engaged her fellow passengers in mindless conversation, and flicked through her magazine. Amy had read the occasional relevant passage, but had been disappointed not to find an article entitled You’ve Ditched Your Life – So Now What?

Now, trudging down the gloomy concourse at Heathrow to retrieve her luggage and trying to ignore the patina of perspiration on her palms, Amy was suddenly aware that someone was talking to her.

‘You OK?’

The man striding next to her spoke with a soft Irish lilt, ‘You’ve been chatting to yourself ever since we landed.’

‘Oh, God, have I?’ Amy’s face flushed. ‘I’m sorry; I’m always talking to myself. You must think I’m nuts.’

‘No!’ His eyes twinkled at her as he spoke. ‘Well, maybe just a bit.’

Amy wondered how old he was. Roughly her age perhaps; she always found it difficult to tell with men in suits. Amy didn’t want to think about it, or she’d get onto thinking about how much time had passed since she’d last smiled at a man of her own age, let alone spoken to one, and that way lay madness. ‘You’re probably right. I’ve just chucked in my life, so perhaps I’m insane.’

‘A lot on your mind then,’ he nodded his bespectacled head.

Amy carried on rambling. ‘No job, a home I’ve only seen from a brochure, and I’m getting a serious case of cold feet.’

They reached the dimly-lit baggage collection area as the carousel sparked into life. The whole room spoke of transitory lives, and the dank atmosphere made Amy shiver inside.

The man had obviously noticed her growing unease. ‘Look, I know I’m a total stranger, and it’s none of my business; but if it helps, I think it sounds fantastic. Exciting and brave.’

rucksack

Spotting her luggage heading towards her, Amy grimaced. ‘I don’t feel very brave.’ She grabbed her heavy bag before it lumbered out of reach.

‘You have a blank page. A new canvas to start from. I’d swap what I’ve got for that, and so would most of this lot.’ He gestured to the anonymous crowds that surged around them. ‘Go with the flow, have fun, be yourself, and smile. You have a nice smile.’ Then he scooped up his navy executive wheeled case, extended the handle, and rapidly disappeared, his grey suit merging with hundreds of others in the crush.

Amy stood there, oblivious to the fact that she was in everybody’s way. A blank page. For the first time in days excitement overtook the fear, as she hurried off to hail a taxi to transport her into the unchartered wilds of Richmond…

***

Obviously I don’t want to ruin the story for you- so for the really meaty bits you’ll have to buy a copy!!

***

Buy links

Another Cup of Coffee is available as an e-Book and in paperback from all good bookshops/book retailers

Book Depository – http://www.bookdepository.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/9781783751129
Kobo- https://store.kobobooks.com/Search/Query?ac=1&Query=jenny%20kane
Nook- http://www.nook.com/gb/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&%5Bs%5Dkeyword=Jenny+Kane
Come back tomorrow to read the first in the official #Blowing the Dust Off’ series.
Happy Reading,
 
Jenny xx

The Outlaw’s Ransom: Extract

outlaws-ransom-5-star

This winter sees the release of the follow up novel to The Outlaw’s Ransom,;The Winter Outlaw– in the meantime, here’s a reminder of what happens in The Outlaw’s Ransom…

Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

When craftsman’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers, as punishment for her father’s debts, she fears for her life.  Although of noble birth, the Folvilles are infamous throughout the county for disregarding the law – and for using any means necessary to deliver their brand of ‘justice’.

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

A thrilling tale of medieval mystery and romance – and with a nod to the tales of Robin Hood – The Outlaw’s Ransom is perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and Jean Plaidy.

The Outlaw's RansomThe Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time.

It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be.

rh-and-the-monk

Extract

…Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’

Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother.

‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of.

‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’

Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’

Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous.

‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s ears are not accurate. Far more felonies are alleged out of spite or personal grievance than are ever actually committed. We require more eyes and ears, girl. Accurate, unbiased eyes and ears.

‘The sheriff of this county is not a bad man. No worse than the rest anyway; but Ingram is sorely stretched. He has not only this shire, but Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire within his writ. The man cannot be everywhere at once. No man can.

‘We are believed to have a band of criminals under our control, Mathilda. This is not true. I’m no Hode, although I am lucky to have the respect of the immediate population, and although I know that respect is because they go in fear of me, I’d rather have that than no respect at all. Hode’s principles I embrace, as I do other outlaw heroes’ who have flouted a law more corrupt than they are. Those such as Gamelyn can give a man a good example to follow. What was it he declared, Robert, to the Justice at his false trial?’

Moving into the light of the table, Robert thought for a second before reeling off a verse he’d probably known by heart since childhood, ‘Come from the seat of justice: all too oft Hast thou polluted law’s clear stream with wrong; Too oft hast taken reward against the poor; Too oft hast lent thine aid to villainy, And given judgment ’gainst the innocent. Come down and meet thine own meed at the bar, While I, in thy place, give more rightful doom And see that justice dwells in law for once.’

Eustace nodded to his brother, who’d already shrunk back into the shadows of the nearest wall, ‘I do not have such a band at my beck and call, Mathilda. When I need help I have to pay for it.’

***

The values that – in my mind at least- the Folville brothers see in the stories of Robin Hood form an important undying theme to this tale- and to Mathilda of Twyford they will make the difference between life and death…

lytell-geste

If you’d like to read my first medieval mystery, then The Outlaw’s Ransom is available for your Kindle here –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475660907&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475660990&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer (aka Jenny!!) xx

 


« Previous Entries


The Romance Reviews
© 2017 Jenny Kane | Site Designed and Maintained by Writer Marketing Services