And so we come to Elizabeth’s story, the final book in my True Love Brides series and probably the one most requested from readers. This book is a little bit different from previous linked books I’ve written: although the majority of events in this book occur after those in The Frost Maiden’s Kiss, there is some overlap. Elizabeth and Rafael’s story begins when they meet, which is right before the climax of Malcolm and Catriona’s story. I wanted the book to stand alone, though, so you’ll see some of those scenes presented again here, but done a little differently. I had a wonderful time writing Elizabeth’s story—and helping Rafael to challenge her expectations—and I hope you enjoy reading it.
This brings us to the end of The True Love Brides series, which carried on the stories of the eight siblings at Kinfairlie first introduced in The Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy. We have, however, only had the stories of seven of the brothers and sisters, a fact which many of you have noticed. It’s no spoiler to let you know that Ross is left without a partner or a true love at the end of Elizabeth’s story. We haven’t heard much from him in recent books. He has been at Inverfyre, completing his training in the service of his uncle, the Hawk of Inverfyre. If you take a peek at the family tree for Ravensmuir and Inverfyre on my website or download it from my online store, you’ll see a little bit more of what the Hawk and Aileen have been up to since the telling of their story in The Warrior. Married in 1409 (the same year as Elizabeth’s birth) they hosted a family gathering at Midsummer after their vows were exchanged. This gathering was where we first met Roland, Catherine and their eight children from Kinfairlie. Roland and the Hawk were cousins and milk-brothers (which meant they shared a wet nurse) so the Hawk’s five children with Aileen are second cousins of the family at Kinfairlie we’ve come to know so well. We’re talking a little break from the family now, to give Ross and the other children at Inverfyre a few years to grow up, then I will launch another medieval series set in the Highlands and Inverfyre. Ross won’t be the only one to have his story told in that series!
In the meantime, I wanted to return to my medieval roots, so to speak, and write a series of linked romances set during the Crusades. My first published book, The Romance of the Rose, was set in the 13th century, in France and the Latin Kingdoms, as the heroine went on a pilgrimage and the hero served with the Templars. My upcoming series, The Champions of Saint Euphemia, is set during the twelfth century, when the Latin Kingdoms were diminished by the Muslim leader Saladin. This series of medieval romances follows three knights and a squire, as they leave the Holy Land to return home to Europe, having accepted an errand from the Templars. Gaston, the hero of the first book, believed he would be a Templar for the duration of his life: he’s served fifteen years with the order when he learns that his older brother has died, making him unexpectedly heir to their family holding. He accepts a request to deliver a package to Paris for the order, believing that doing so is a trifle he can readily fulfill on the way home. Another Templar knight, Wulfgar, is ordered to accompany Gaston to defend the party en route, which was the mission of the Knights Templar. A third knight, Fergus, has completed his term of service and is returning home to Scotland to wed, as previously arranged. Gaston’s squire accompanies him, as does the lady Gaston hastily weds before his departure. The small party soon learns that Gaston has been entrusted with a treasure beyond price, and that someone—in their party or in pursuit—will stop at nothing to possess it. Each of these four stories is a medieval romance in itself and features one of the men in the company, but the mission undertaken by the knights evolves over the course of the linked books. Again, there are overlapping story elements, with some key scenes told in several points of view, but the chronology of the adventure begins in Gaston’s book and ends with the last book in the series. I’m really enjoying the challenge of writing these stories, and I hope you join me on this quest. There is an excerpt from Gaston’s book, The Crusader’s Bride, at the back of this one. The Crusader’s Bride will be available in May 2015 and there are pre-order links available now at some portals.
I am also working through the Ravensmuir and Kinfairlie books to create audio editions, with the plan of ultimately having audio available for the entire series. It’s a time-consuming process, but quite an interesting one. Right now, The Rogue and The Beauty Bride are available in audio, with The Rose Red Bride in production and The Snow White Bride and The Ballad of Rosamunde to follow. Please check my website for more details if you like audio books.
Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.
All my best,