Historical romance set in England in 1138.
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England, 1138. Set against the dangerous backdrop of the crusades, this sweeping romance captures the story of a beautiful, young woman and the dashing knight who will battle his fiercest enemies to win her undying love...
Ever since she was fourteen, Alyson of Olverton dreamed of marrying a brave, charismatic young knight. His name was Guillelm de la Rochelle and his marriage proposal satisfied her deepest yearnings. But her father forbade their union, prompting Guillelm to set out for the Holy Land, breaking Alyson's innocent heart. Seven years later, the valiant knight has defied rumors of his death and returned home, having no idea that nothing is the same as when he left...
Back from fighting in the crusades, Guillelm is stunned to find Alyson entrenched in his father's ancestral castle even worse she was betrothed to his father before he died. Despite this chilling fact, Guillelm finds himself struggling to resist the temptation to seduce her. Torn between intense jealousy and overwhelming desire, he shocks them both by proposing marriage a second time, justifying that it will be easier to keep her safe if she is his bride. Little do they know, however, that there is an enemy in their very midst one who won't rest until he destroys their chance at everlasting love...
Staying at the manor of Thomas of Beresford was a bitter-sweet occasion for Alyson. Still grieving after the painful encounter with her sister, she found the manor contained many echoes of her old home at Olverton. It was the same kind of house, with a great hall and solar, a small pantry and buttery, a staircase to a series of small upper rooms and the kitchens and bake-house across the yard. The furnishings were those that reminded her of her childhood: sturdy oak tables and trestles, earthenware crocks, a few faded wall-hangings. She missed the flowers that she had spread about Olverton hall, and the scents of her old still-room, but otherwise she could have wandered through this place blindfold and known where she was.
In one way however it was strange - very strange. There were no womenfolk, no maids, no lady of the manor, no laundresses or spinsters.
Her host remarked on it as he showed her to the narrow chamber that would be hers for the night. ’I had my steward put you in here, my lady; you being a lone lass among men. It was my mother’s sewing room.’
‘Thank you, Sir.’ Alyson glanced about, taking in the fresh thatch over the window shutters, the recently re-daubed wall by the bed, the stout bar to place across the door. There was even a candle for her and a small brazier, in case the summer night turned cold. ’You have made me most welcome.’
‘No, ’tis nothing for the woman who can look at me without flinching. That is a rare skill, and one none of the village maids have mastered.’ He scratched uneasily at his patchy beard, ducking his head under the low roof-beams. ’I would have women here, but they do not stay. The last washer-woman to work here told me straight out before she left that I had the evil eye and would sour milk.’
‘How cruel!’ Indignant on his behalf, Alyson crossed the floor in two steps to lay a hand on his arm. ’That is folly, utter superstition. You must never think it true.’
‘I am used to it. Do not let it trouble you.’ Thomas grinned, the scars on his forehead seeming to crack open afresh once more. ’But you are as fiery as the dragon himself! Tell me, are you the wee maid who gave him that title?’
Startled, Alyson dropped her cloak on the bed. ’I did not realize he had mentioned it.’
‘Once, only, my lady, in Outremer, when he was a lad of twenty and we were making camp before our first siege. The talk round the fire fell to those remaining at home. The other men spoke half in jest as they bragged of women bedded and left, but not Guillelm. “If I could have the girl of my liking, she would be a small, dark elf, a clever girl, with eyes the color of a rising storm. She knew and recognized me before any other,” he told us then, and he tapped the dragon on his shield.’ Thomas of Beresford regarded her closely, his battered head on one side. ’I thought then Guillelm spoke of his ideal, but here you are, in the flesh.’
‘Please, Sir -’ Alyson knew she was blushing and fumbled with her riding gloves. She was stopped by her companion.
‘I am glad you are real, my lady.’
‘Please, call me Alyson.’
‘Then you must call me Tom, as Guillelm does.’
‘Sir - Tom,’ Alyson faltered.
‘Sir Tom will do very well.’ He peered at her in the dim light of the chamber and nodded. ’The good thing is that you are so different from the other one.’
Alyson felt the scrape of a sudden chill across the back of her neck. ’What other?’ she whispered.
‘Never mind, it is years past and best forgotten.’ Sir Tom squeezed her arm, his eyes very kind behind their mesh of angry scars. ’Now we should return to the hall, or Guillelm or his miserable shadow Fulk will have something to say.’
They walked downstairs, Alyson beset with a new fear. Who was the other one? What woman had Guillelm known in Outremer that she should cast so long a shadow? ‘Who was she?’ she demanded.
‘Her name was Heloise.’
‘What was she like?’
‘Proud and blonde - but I will say no more, so do not ask.’
‘Then I will ask Guillelm.’
Years ago, Alyson of Olverton loved Guillelm de la Rochelle and dreamed of becoming his wife. When he asked her to marry him, Alyson’s heart sang with joy until her father shattered her world and refused to allow the match. Because of this, Guillelm went on a crusade to the Holy Land and if rumors are true, died there. Alyson prays daily that the rumors prove false, and when Guillelm finally returns Alyson’s prayers are answered. Alyson still loves her knight and can only hope his love for her is just as strong despite being away from each other for seven long years.
Guillelm de la Rochelle has returned to his father’s castle a changed, if not ‘risen’, man. Scorning the stories of his demise, Guillelm is amazed at the changes in his father’s home since his departure. Not only is the only woman he ever loved living in his deceased father’s home and thus Guillelm’s ancestral castle, but he finds out she was betrothed to his father as well. While Guillelm finds this disconcerting, the fact remains that Alyson is in danger. Now that he has found Alyson again, Guillelm will stop at nothing to keep her safe. Even marry her himself.
A KNIGHT’S VOW drew me in with the pageantry of this medieval time and I was compelled to read this book. My heart melts any time a knight fights to win his lady love. Watching Guillelm do just that kept me sighing at the wholly romantic nature of his actions. Stoic at times, sinfully sexy and seductive at others, Guillelm is the ideal knight in shining armor. I think Alyson agrees with me one hundred percent!
A KNIGHT’S VOW is a gripping historical tale of love, life, and chances. It is a heady and passionate read which rapidly took me to a place that is timeless. I couldn’t have asked for a better story!
Catanetwork - Single Titles
Readers looking for a sweeping romance imbued with plenty of passion, intrigue, history and emotion will devour Lindsay Townsend debut historical, A Knight’s Vow.
Set during the Crusades and featuring a wonderful heroine, a gorgeous hero and plenty of twists and turns, this unforgettable first novel heralds the beginning of an exciting career for a terrific new voice in Medieval romance!
The only thing Alyson of Olverton wanted was to be the wife of her beloved Guillelm de la Rochelle. When he proposed to her, Alyson was ecstatic – until her father’s stubborn refusal to see her married to Guillelm destroyed her every chance of happiness.
Realizing that he couldn’t see Alyson every day and not be married to her, Guillelm decided to leave and to go to the Crusades taking place in the Holy Land, leaving behind a broken hearted Alyson. When rumours reached her that Guillelm died, Alyson was crushed. But she refused to believe that these vicious rumours were true, so instead she put all her energies into praying for Guillelm’s safe return. Alyson had almost given up hope of every seeing the love of her life again, until seven years pass and Guillelm returns to her.
But the man standing in front of her is not the man she bade goodbye to seven years ago. He’s now a changed man, hardened by battle and made distant by all the atrocities he witnessed. Guillelm cannot believe that so much has changed since the last time he had been in England. Alyson had taken refuge in his father’s house and, had his father not died, she would have been betrothed to him!
Although Guillelm is disgusted by the fact that the woman he loved could countenance getting married to his own father, he still finds himself drawn to Alyson and he finds himself unable to stop thinking about her. Torn between anger, jealousy and desire, Guillelm soon realizes that she is in danger of losing her life at the hands of a capricious enemy – and the best way to keep her safe is by proposing marriage!
But will they ever manage to recapture the love which they shared when there is an enemy on the loose, desperate to make them pay?
A Knight’s Vow is a terrific Medieval romance penned by a supremely talented writer who recreates the past vividly and makes her readers fall head over heels in love with her valiant hero, intelligent heroine and their wonderful romantic story which will keep them reading late into the night and anticipating the next release by this wonderful storyteller!
Red Roses for Authors
Alyson of Olverton has often dreamed of marrying Guillelm de la Rochelle. Guillelm went to the Crusades after being turned down as a suitor by Alyson's father, but now he has returned to claim his inheritance. Meanwhile, through necessity, Alyson had taken refuge in his father's house and would have become his bride had he not died. Although her heart belongs to Guillelm she cannot bring herself to tell him for he seems distant and different to the young knight she loved. What Alyson does not know is that he has been scarred by a woman's cruel words, and though he loves Alyson he is afraid that she can never love him. Their path to true happiness is strewn with dangers, especially for Alyson who has an enemy in Guillelm's best friend.
This is romantic and compelling reading for all fans of historical stories. I enjoyed it and recommend this author for her strong voice and narrative skills. Five red roses.
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