Cover Harlot's Daughter
Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  All rights reserved. ®and T are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2007

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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.

Harlequin HistoricalsTM
ISBN 13# 978-0-373-29470-1
ISBN 10# 0-373-29470-1

Contest Achievements
Placed Third in the Historical/Regency category of the 2008 Beacon Contest for published authors.

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Also available in Spanish and German for Kindle!


Bride of Betrayal by Blythe Gifford


The Harlot's Daughter by Blythe Gifford


(Bride of Betrayal)

Harlequin Brazil
JUNE 2012

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 eBook, visit the
Amazon web site.

(The Daughter of the King)

HarperCollins Italia
November 2016

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Mills & Boon
November 2008

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Un amor sincero by Blythe Gifford



Mills & Boon
November 2008
ISBN: 9780733590610

For more information, visit the Mills & Boon web site.

(A Sincere Love)

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(The Daughter of the Whore)

November 2008


The Harlot's Daughter by Blythe Gifford

(King's Daughter)

January 2009
ISSN - 1641-5787
For more information, click here.


Harlot's Daughter by Blythe GIfford

(King's Daughter)

ISBN 978-83-238-5428-9
For more information, click here.
The Harlot's Daugher by Blythe Gifford

Now available in German for Kindle.

From Chapter One

      The man was all hardness and power.  A perpetual frown furrowed his brow.  “Lady Joan, or shall I say Lady Solay?”
      She slapped on a smile to hide the trembling of her lips.  “A turn in the caroling ring?  Of course.”
      He did not return her smile.  “No.  A private word.”
      His eyes, large, heavy lidded, turned down at the corners, as if weighed with sorrow.
      Or distrust.
      “If you wish,” she said, uneasy.  As he guided her into the passageway outside the Great Hall, she turned her attention to him, ready to discover who he was, what he wanted, and how she might please him. 
      God had blessed her with a pleasing visage.  Most men were content to bask in the glow of her interest, never asking what she might think or feel.
      And if they had asked, she would not have known what to say.  She had forgotten.
      Yet this man, silent, stared down at her as though he knew her thoughts and despised them.  Behind him, the caroler’s call echoed off the rafters of the Great Hall and the singers responded in kind.  She smiled, trying to lift his scowl.  “It’s a merry group.”
      No gentle curve sculpted lips that formed an angry slash in his face.  “They sound as if they had forgotten we might have been singing beside the French today.” 
      She shivered.  Only God’s grace had kept the French fleet off their shores this summer.  “Perhaps people want to forget the war for awhile.” 
     "They shouldn’t." His tone brooked no dissent.  “Now tell me, Lady Solay, why have you come to court?”
      She touched a finger to her lips, taking time to think.  She must not speak without knowing whose ear listened.  “Sir, you know who I am, but I do not even know your name.  Pray, tell me.” 
      “Lord Justin Lamont.”
      His simple answer told her nothing she needed to know.  Was he the King’s man or no?  “Are you also a visitor at Court?”
      “I serve the Duke of Gloucester.”
       She clasped her fingers in front of her so they would not shake.  Gloucester had near the power of a king these days.  Richard could make few moves without his uncle’s approval, a galling situation for a proud and profligate Plantagenet. 
      She widened her eyes, tilted her head, and smiled.  “How do you serve the Duke?”
      “I was trained at the Inns of Court.”
      She struggled to keep her smile from crumbling.  “A man of the law?”  A craven vulture who never kept his word, who would speak for you one day and against you the next, who could take away your possessions, your freedom, your very life.
      “You dislike the law, Lady Solay?”  A twist of a smile relaxed the harsh edges of his face.  For the first time, she noticed a cleft in his chin, the only softness she’d seen in him.
      “Wouldn’t you, if it had done to you what it did to my mother?”  Shame, shame.  Do not let the anger show.  It was over and done.  She must move on.  She must survive.
      “It was your mother who did damage to the law.”
      His bluntness shocked her.  True, her mother had shared the judges’ bench on occasion, but only to insure that the King’s will was done.  Most judges could not be trusted to render a verdict without an eye on their pockets.
      Solay kept her brow smooth, her eyes wide and her voice low.  “My mother served the Queen and then the King faithfully.  She was ill-served in the end for her faithful care.”
      “She used the law to steal untold wealth.  It was the realm that was ill-served.”
Most only whispered their hatred.  This man spoke it aloud.  She gritted her teeth.  “You must have been ill-informed.  All her possessions were freely given by the King or purchased with her own funds.”
      “Ah!  So you are here to get them back.”
      She cleared her throat, unsettled that he suspected her plan so soon.  “The King honored me with an invitation.  I was pleased to accept.”
      “Why would he invite you?”
      Because my mother begged everyone who would still listen to ask him.  “Who can know the mind of a King?”
      “Your mother did.”
      “A King does as he wills.” 
      A spark of understanding lit his eyes.  “Parliament turned down her last petition for redress so she has sent you to beg money directly from the King.”
       “We do not beg for what is rightfully ours.”  She lowered her eyes to hide her anger.  Parliament had impeached one of the King’s key advisors last fall, then given the five Lords of the Council unwelcome oversight of the King.  It was an uneasy time to appear at court.  She had no friends and could afford no enemies.  “Please, do not let me detain you.  My affairs need not be your concern.  You must have many friends to see.”
       “I’m not sure that anyone has many friends these days, Lady Solay.  You asked about my work.  Among my duties is to see that the King wastes no more money on flatterers.  If you try to entice him into raiding the exchequer on your behalf, your affairs will become my concern.” 
       The import of his words sank in.  She risked angering a man who had power over the very purse strings she needed to loosen. 
      “I only ask that you deal fairly.”  A vain hope.  She had given up on justice years ago. 
       She stepped back, wanting to leave, but he touched her sleeve and moved closer, until she had to tip her head back to see his eyes.  He was tall and lean and in the flickering torch fire, his brown hair, carelessly falling from a center part, glimmered with a hint of gold. 
       And above his head hung a kissing bough. 
       He looked up and then back at her, his eyes dark.  She couldn’t, didn’t want to look away.  His scent, cedar and ink, tantalized her.
       Let them look.  Make them want, her mother had warned her, but never, never want yourself.  Yet this breathless ache, surely this was want. 
       He leaned closer, his lips hovering over hers.  All she could think of was his burning eyes and the harsh rise and fall of his chest.  She closed her eyes and her lips parted.
       “Do you think to sway me as your mother swayed a King, Lady Solay?”
      She pushed him away, relieved the corridor was still empty, and forced her lips into a coy smile.  “You make me forget myself.” 
      “Or perhaps I help you remember who you really are.”
      Her smile pinched.  “Or who you think I am.”
      “I know who you are.  You are an awkward remnant of a great King’s waning years and glory lost because of a deceitful woman.”
      Gall choked her.  “You blame my mother for the King’s decline, not caring how hard she worked to keep order when he could not tell sun from moon.”
      When he did not know, or care to know, the daughter he had spawned. 
      “I, Lady Solay, can tell day from night.  Your mother’s tricks will not work on me.”
      Then I must try some others, she thought, frantic.
      What others did she know?
      He had made her forget herself.  She had been too blunt.  Next time, she must use only honeyed words.  “I would never try to trick you, Lord Justin.  You are too wise to be fooled.”
      Muttering a farewell, she turned her back and walked away from this man who lured her into anger she could ill-afford.  

Copyright © 2007 by Wendy B. Gifford
This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. and Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.
® and ™ are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license.


"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."

Ana T.
Aneca's World

"This one is a treat for any reader who enjoys a historical novel with depth."

Deborah Hern
CA Reviews

"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."

Alicia Thomas
The Good, the Bad and the Unread

"I was utterly sucked into the story and taken for a lovely ride. Didn't want to stop reading."

Carrie Lofty
Salome's Corner

"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."

John Charles
Chicago Tribune
Copyright 2007, Chicago Tribune, Reprinted with permission 

"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!"

Merrimon Book Reviews

"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."

Harriett Klausner

"...a refreshing return to the true essence of historical romance . . . a love story for all time."

4 1/2 Blue Ribbons

"A must read for fans of medieval history...brings history to life complete with political intrigue and turbulent passions."

Marilyn Rondeau
RIO- Reviewers International Org.

"Highly romantic . . . intriguing, complex characters. . . will tug at your emotions as you fall into the pages."

4 1/2 Stars

"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
Romantic Times
**** Four Stars

"...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
4 1/2 Books

"A harrowing time in history is authentically brought to life with realistic characters."

Kay Quintin
Fresh Fiction




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.


Characters in The Harlot's Daughter in purple







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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