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She is the illegitimate daughter of a dead king, trying to regain a place at court.
He is the powerful lord determined to stop her.
And around every corner lurks treason that could threaten them both.
Also available in Spanish and German for Kindle!
NOIVA DA TRAIÇÀO
(Bride of Betrayal)
For more information, visit the
Harlequin Brazil web site.
Also available for Kindle.
LA FIGLIA DEL RE
(The Daughter of the King)
For more information, visit the HarperCollins Italia web site
A YULETIDE INVITATION
(Includes THE HARLOT'S DAUGHTER)
Mills & Boon
For more information, visit the Amazon.co.uk web site.
A YULETIDE INVITATION
(Includes THE HARLOT'S DAUGHTER)
Mills & Boon
For more information, visit the Mills & Boon web site.
UN AMOR SINCERO
(A Sincere Love)
For more information, click here.
DIE TOCHTER DER DIRNE
(The Daughter of the Whore)
ISSN - 1641-5787
For more information, click here.
Now available in German for Kindle.
|READ AN EXCERPT|
From Chapter One
The man was all
hardness and power. A perpetual frown furrowed his brow.
“Lady Joan, or shall I say Lady Solay?”
Excerpt from THE HARLOT’S
|READ THE REVIEWS|
"I did enjoy the story, it seemed more real and plausible than most medievals. It dealt with real characters with understandable motivations and with divided interests or loyalties. I thought that was a refreshing change from the usual plots and I'm already looking for more books by this author."
"This one is a treat for any reader who enjoys a historical novel with depth."
"Gifford doesn't go for the simple answers. These are complex characters in complex situations. The author had me in tears for the characters within the first third of the book, which isn't easy to do. I don't buy cheap plays for emotion. Ms. Gifford earned every tear."
"I was utterly sucked into the story and taken for a lovely ride. Didn't want to stop reading."
"Lady Joan’s sole purpose in coming to court is to persuade King Richard II too provide her with a grant that will help support her sister and their mother, Alys, who years ago had been the king’s mistress. Tired of the king gibing away money without the approval of Parliament, Lord Justin Lamont is determined to keep Richard from granting Joan’s request. Instead of giving her money, Richard cleverly finds a way to give her the funds she needs by arranging a marriage for her.
Blythe Gifford finds the perfect balance between history and romance in "The Harlot's Daughter" as she expertly blends a fascinating setting and beautifully nuanced characters into a captivating love story."
"Blythe Gifford‘s The Harlot’s Daughter easily transports the reader into the time and the romance...this is a romance that continues to give and delight after the first reading!"
"Blythe Gifford’s second novel THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER is a true treat to devour. It has to be one of the more unique historicals that this reviewer has ever had the pleasure of reading."
"...a beautiful love story of apparent star-crossed lovers."
"...a refreshing return to the true essence of historical romance . . . a love story for all time."
RomanceJunkies.com 4 1/2 Blue Ribbons
"A must read for fans of medieval history...brings history to life complete with political intrigue and turbulent passions."
"Highly romantic . . . intriguing, complex characters. . . will tug at your emotions as you fall into the pages."
"Gifford has chosen a time period that is filled with kings, kingmakers and treachery. Although there is plenty of fodder for turbulence, the author uses that to move her hero and heroine together on a discovery of love. She proves that love through the ages doesn't always run smoothly, be it between nobles or commoners."
Faith V. Smith
"...compelling...desperation and hope weave this tale of love and acceptance into a historical romance that will catch readers' hearts. Blythe Gifford knows how to touch that essential something in us all."
WantzUponATime Book Reviews
"A harrowing time in history is authentically brought to life with realistic characters."
|BEHIND THE BOOK|
The Harlot's Daughter
I’ve been interested in the bastard side of the English royal family tree since I read Katherine by Anya Seton in Junior High School. It’s the story of a lifelong love affair between Prince John of Gaunt, a son of Edward III, and Katherine Roet. They had four children together and in a happily ever after moment, they finally married late in life. Their children were legitimized and in just a few generations, their descendents sat on the English throne.
My new book, The Harlot’s Daughter, is a “behind-the-throne” story also based on a real person. Edward III, one of the longest reigning and most successful of English monarchs, took up a mistress late in life. The woman, Alice Perrers, was notorious in her day and much hated. The chronicles that have come down to us were penned by men who universally loathed her. But she had two daughters by the King, and I was intrigued by what had happened after their protector died. What was it like for those girls to begin life as princesses and end up cast out of the court and into poverty? What would it be like to grow up being known as the harlot’s daughter? This story was my answer.
Historical: The book takes place several years after Edward’s death. His grandson, Richard II is now king and the young man, whose reign began with much promise, was headed for what we would call a “constitutional crisis.” In this highly uncertain time, my heroine returns to court to make her way. (I’ll post more on the historical background on my History page.)
Literary: Katherine, one of my all time favorite books, inspired my journey. In a way, it is the inspiration not only for this book, but for a lifelong interest in English history, the English royal family, and the 14th century in particular. I hope my passion will spark your interest, too.
Personal: My hero and heroine live in a time of conflicting loyalties. In the worst sense, the court was “political.” My heroine in particular must discover how to live with integrity in a world in which you have no power.I hope you enjoy the journey.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Here’s a link to a site on Richard II, during whose reign THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER is set.
The wrong side of the royal blanket:
English Royal Bastards in the Middle Ages
by Blythe Gifford
Today, we think of illegitimate children as easy to identify. In the early Middle Ages, however, marriage itself was not well defined. Consent between two people could constitute a marriage recognized by the church. Unfortunately, such clandestine marriages could also easily be denied if they proved inconvenient. Thus, whether a child was “legitimate” or not often depended on the father’s desire to acknowledge the marriage and/or the child.
By the early thirteenth century, the church attempted to bring the act of marriage into the public arena, dictating a reading of the banns and a blessing in church. Eventually, the church became the arbiter when a true “marriage” had taken place. This was a gradual process, however, and in England, it wasn’t until 1843 that the presence of a church official became a requirement for a marriage to be legal.
Therefore, in the early centuries, there was not the same stigma attached to illegitimate birth as we know it, and a child’s success could depended on his or her talents as much as status at birth.
There was no doubt, of course, about the marriage of a king. Yet royal bastards were very much a part of life and history in medieval England. Some 40 illegitimate offspring of English kings have been identified between 1066 and 1485, with a nearly equal number possible or suggested. (Henry I is in a class by himself, responsible for half of the bonifides.) This number doesn’t include those fathered by princes or dukes, which surely would more than double the numbers.
If he chose to acknowledge an illegitimate offspring, the king could insure that child a life of privilege and power. Some of these lucky sons and daughters were treated as well as the legal issue. (Henry II’s wife Eleanor ostensibly raised one of his by-blows with her own children.)
This acceptance was driven by more than familial affection. An extra son was an extra ally. Many became military or church leaders. Though less prominent, the extra daughters were given in marriage to allies and foreign dignitaries in order to cement relationships. Thus, the bastard children of the king served the same function as legitimate children.
Yet this acceptance would only carry a bastard son so far. William the Conqueror might have been a bastard, but he was the first, and last, from 1066 to now to actually sit on the throne. (We are ignoring here that Queens Mary and Elizabeth were declared illegitimate by Parliament in Henry VIII’s multi-marriage quest for a male heir.) Even for non-royal children, by the twelfth century there was a clear legal distinction between bastards and legitimate heirs in the inheritance of property.
And for a royal bastard, of course, the prime “property” was the throne. After the death of the king, a bastard son could be a potential rival for the throne and a threat to his half-brother. Some managed to navigate the transition, but for many, the king’s death meant the end of a life of privilege and perhaps the end of life itself.
Such was the fate of Geoffrey Plantagenet, son of Henry II. Henry apparently thought his bastard son Geoffrey Plantagenet more talented than either of his legitimate heirs and used him as his first minister during his life. He prepared the way for Geoffrey to be a bishop of Lincoln, a role with as much secular as religious power in those days. (As a bastard, he had to receive dispensation from the Pope assume the office.)
But on his death, Henry had two legitimate sons alive and well: Richard the Lionhearted and John. Both eventually sat on the throne. Rocky relations with his half brothers forced Geoffrey into exile in Normandy.
By the fourteenth century, reported numbers of illegitimate children were down considerably, to one, two, or three per king. Some had no identified bastards at all.
History records nothing about children of the queens. By English common law, any child born to a wife was presumed to be the husband’s unless he was proven impotent or obviously not with his wife at the time of conception (e.g. at war abroad). As with so much history, most of what we know revolves about men’s stories.
Perhaps the most famous bastard family in medieval English history were the Beauforts. They were the children of John of Gaunt, a younger son of Edward III, and his mistress of many years, Katherine Swynford. (Their story is immortalized in Anya Seton’s Katherine, the book which sparked my lifelong interest both in this subject and in the fourteenth century.) When, at long last, he and Katherine wed, their four children were legitimized, but barred from being considered for the succession. Despite this prohibition, within four generations, the great, great grandson of this love match sat on the throne as Henry VII, founder of the Tudor line.
Blythe Gifford has turned a life long interest in English royal bastards into THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER, October 2007, Harlequin Historical. For more, see www.blythegifford.com. Much of the information here comes from The Royal Bastards of Medieval England by Given-Wilson and Curteis.
Harlequin Historical Authors Blog--An Interview with Blythe Gifford
History Hoydens Blogspot--Author Interview
Copyright 2003-12, W. Blythe Gifford
Cover copyright 2007, Harlequin Enterprises
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