I’m thrilled to be part of the fabulous Meet the Ocelots event. I hope our readers will enjoy discovering our books and our characters!
Prepare to meet the heroine in my upcoming release, Love Lost in Time, a dual-timeline tale set in beautiful Carcassonne.
But first, a little teaser:
A tale of love, death and redemption…
Languedoc, south-west France
Madeleine Winters must live in her late mother’s old stone house in south-west France for one year before she can claim her inheritance – and sell it! Reluctantly leaving her life in England, she begins to renovate the house. But she’s not prepared for all the discoveries…
Is it her imagination when she hears a woman’s voice? Or when the ground shakes?
When ancient human bones belonging to a female are found beneath the kitchen floor, the mystery deepens. How did the woman end up buried, without a sarcophagus and all alone, in that particular spot in the Cabardès hills?
And why were her bones broken?
Septimania, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
17-year-old Nanthild attends Charlemagne’s court with her father, where she is introduced to Bellon of Carcassonne. Unimpressed by the blustering young warrior, Nanthild is shocked when Charlemagne and her father arrange their wedding as a gesture of ensuring Bellon’s support in the king’s conquest of the volatile southern region of Septimania.
Despite his Visigoth origins, Bellon is installed as Count of Carcassonne, and he soon has to face challenges to Frankish rule that often keep him away from home – and his family.
Bellon’s absences make it easy for Nanthild to keep her calling as a healer and wise woman from him, and she continues to visit those in need of her help.
But dangers lurk on her journey…
Nanthild is the daughter of a Frankish count in the late 8th century. Her path takes her from Francia to the sunburnt southern region of Septimania, as part of the Franks’ expansion. A hotbed of fighting between Visigoths, Moors and Franks, the area along the Mediterranean Sea has seen much suffering, but a newly appointed count of Carcassonne, Bellon – of Visigoth descent – should bring much-needed stability. And a link to the Frankish king, Charles – who would later become known as The Great. That link is Nanthild.
But not everyone at Charlemagne’s court is content with the king’s choice…
Nanthild leaves the cooler north-east behind for life in a volatile area, with a man she has only met once. But fortunately, he turns out to be a good husband, who is also often away. This makes it much easier for her to keep a secret – she is a Pagan. But she is also a wise woman who knows about herbs and potions, and she uses her skills to help those who need it.
As the years pass, she bears Bellon two healthy sons, whilst still continuing with her calling, and she manages to keep her beliefs secret. She faces political and personal challenges, but fate always smiles on her.
Until one day, when she is on her way home from helping a young woman give birth with her companion and her escort…
Septimania was a sunny, dry region in south-west France which was until recently called the Languedoc-Roussillon, but it has since merged with the Midi Pyrenées to become the large new Occitanie region. Parts of Septimania were held by the Moors, who often allowed Christians and Jews to practice their religion openly, though they still had to submit to Moorish rule. However, not all was peaceful, so when the Franks arrived from the north, the fighting began anew.
Carcassonne was inhabited in Roman times, when the first walls were built. You can still see remnants of those ancient walls, and of those built by the Visigoths and later conquerors. In the 8th century, it was a crucial defensive site on the border to Iberia, then ruled by Moors and Visigoths.
Mountain tribes such as the Vascones (the modern Basques) dealt Charlemagne a massive blow when they ambushed his train in Roncevaux in the western Pyrenees. And the Moor and Visigoth rulers of various cities didn’t give in easily either.
Whilst Bellon is a real person, the first count of Carcassonne, Nanthild is my invention. Nothing is known of his wife, and the only certainty about his offspring is two sons, Guisclafred and Oliba. Other name of potential sons appear in some records, but are likely in fact Bellon’s grandsons.
Nanthild’s disappearance is the key moment in Love Lost in Time…
Love Lost in Time will be released on 28th November 2019, and the Kindle version is now available on pre-order at Amazon.