Monday, June 9, 2014

GUEST BLOGGER: SAMNATHA HOLT

Today, I welcome Guest Blogger SAMANTHA HOLT, the best selling author of historical romance and an honored friend of mine. This is her cover for her new book, TO DREAM OF A HIGHLANDER. Pass the time until the Highlander airs in Samantha's Holt's world of incredibly vivid world with hot, hot, hot Hero Finn and Heroine-we-all-want-to-be Catriona.


Take it away Samantha. :)



Love in Medieval Times
It's hard to remember that love ever existed in medieval times. Most people are no strangers to the idea that arranged marriages were a common occurrence. During my research, frequent references are made to the fact that noblemen and women looked at marriage as more of a business arrangement than anything to do with love. If you were a peasant, you had certain freedoms that noble folk didn't but you were still very much limited in your choices and in such nuclear communities, your chances of finding that one special person would probably have been relatively low. Violence within marriages was also common so if you had a husband who merely tolerated you, then you could probably consider yourself lucky.

However, it was not all doom and gloom. Romantic soul that I am, I love it when I come across a tale of love. Though they are few and far between, we have to consider that there were probably many more love matches than we have record of. Women had few ways of voicing themselves and, poems of chivalry aside, real love was something rarely written of.

Christine de Pizan is a relatively well know feminist and is a fascinating woman. Though still very much a product of her time, she challenged the stereotypes of the time. And as a poet in the late medieval age, she was very highly regarded.

While her surprisingly modern views are absolutely fascinating, what first drew me to researching her was how she talked of her marriage.


Marriage is a sweet thing,

I can prove it by my own example,
God indeed gave to me 
A good and sensible husband.
Thank God for being willing
To save him for me, for I have truly
Experienced his great goodness: 
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.
The first night of our marriage,

I could already feel
His great goodness, for he never did to me
Any outrage which would have harmed me,
But, before it was time to get up,
He kissed me, I think, one hundred times,
Without asking for any other base reward:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.
And he said, with such tender words:

"God made me live for you,
Sweet friend, and I think that he had me raised
For your personal use."
He did not stop raving like that
The whole night,
Without being any more immoderate:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.
Prince, he makes me mad for love,

When he says that he is all mine;
He will make me die of sweetness;
Indeed the sweetheart loves me well.



Christine was married at the tender of age of fifteen to Etienne du Castel who was ten years her senior and she talks of him as a kind and understanding man when it came to their first night together. He also encouraged her to write, though she did not pursue poetry until after his death ten years later. His death greatly grieved her and she threw much of her grief into her work. Without a doubt, theirs was a love match.
Another story that fascinated me and challenged our modern day view of medieval marriage was the tale of Margery Paston. The daughter of a wealthy family, she secretly became engaged to the estate bailiff in 1469. Her family were deeply shocked and we know of her mother's disapproval of this match from a letter she wrote to Margery's brother. Margery reportedly boldly stated her intention to marry Richard and her mother threatened to kick her out! Obviously a strong-willed woman, Margery stated her intention once more and said 'if these words did not make it final then she would make it quite clear before she left.'
Margery did indeed marry Richard and the family found that they lost money without Richard's accounting skills, so they were forced to accept the marriage and reinstate Richard.
So there we go! Love did exist, fiery females held their own, and people did marry the one they loved in spite of family pressures. With this in mind, are medieval romances that farfetched? Well, maybe just a little, but these moments did exist and still do. Some lucky men and women truly had a happy ending and these old tales of love will forever stick with me and continue to feed my romantic soul.

Le sigh. THANK YOU SAMANTHA. Here's a bit more to convince you to rush over and purchase TO DREAM OF A HIGHLANDER:
 


Blurb:
Scotland, 1230
Sent on a rescue mission, Finn mac Chaluim is prepared to do his duty, hand over the lass and return home.
But fate has other ideas.
In the midst of a Norse invasion, Catriona barely escapes with her life. Masquerading as her sister, she finds herself in the hands of Finn who intends to hand her over to her sister’s betrothed, Laird Gillean. In the interests of bringing peace to her home, Catriona is determined to continue the ruse—even if it means going along with the marriage and denying her growing attraction to a man who keeps his hurts hidden behind a quick grin.
If the green faery, Tèile, has anything to do with it, Catriona and Finn will come together—but only at the right time. Thanks to her last attempt at matchmaking, many paths were changed and now it’s up to her to put it right. Can she help Finn— who learned the hard way that sharing your life with someone only leads to heartache—get past his doubts? And will the battle-scarred Catriona even accept him into her heart? When Laird Gillean’s attentions toward Catriona become dangerous, both Finn and Tèile will find they have an uphill battle on their hands.
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