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Tuesday 23 November 2021

Anna Belfrage and The Castilian Pomegranate - my Coffee Pot Book Club Guest

(The Castilian Saga, Book 2)

Welcome to my Blog!
Wander through wonderful worlds
real and fictional,
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How an obscure medieval figure grew into a central character – or falling in love with Mr Anonymous

When I am writing a book set in a specific period and place, I usually spend a lot of time reading up about events that happened before my portrayed time and close to my chosen geographical setting. When it came to The Castilian Pomegranate, I knew the year was 1285 and that my protagonists –more or less forcibly exiled from England by a distraught Queen Eleanor—were somewhere in Spain. 

Now, Spain as we know it did not exist in 1285. Instead, present day Spain was home to several states and kingdoms, with Castile and Aragon being the principal Christian kingdoms. And as Robert FitzStephan and his wife, Noor, had been charged with the mission to deliver documents to the King of Aragon, well it followed that once they’d made it over the Pyrenees, they set off towards… Ah yes: one of the problems of writing about medieval courts: they NEVER stayed in one place!!!! The Kings of Aragon had palaces all over the place, but their main residences were in Zaragoza, Barcelona and Girona. Except that in the autumn of 1285, Girona was in French hands.

Let us back up a little: what were the French doing in Aragon? Turns out, the French king, Philippe III, was heading a crusade into Aragon, determined to wrest the crown from his excommunicated former brother-in-law Pedro III. Not, I’d hazard, out of any major religious devotion, but because Philippe III wanted to punish Pedro for having recently ousted Philippe’s uncle, Charles d’Anjou, from the kingdom of Sicily. 

Ha: I can see you all shaking your head. Yes, politics in the 13th century was as complicated as it is in our day, but as a very brief recap let’s just say Charles d’Anjou launched a campaign against Sicily some decades earlier. The then king of Sicily, Manfred Hohenstaufen, was killed in battle and Charles took the further precaution of blinding Manfred’s surviving sons before locking them up somewhere. Problem was, Manfred also had a daughter, Constanza, and this young woman had recently married Pedro of Aragon. 

the Battle of Benenvento

So when Pedro invaded Sicily, he did so to claim these lands on behalf of his wife (who was with him during the campaign, eagerly cheering him on). Obviously, Charles d’Anjou was not happy. Neither was the pope, seeing as the papacy had supported Charles’ original invasion and now stood to lose relevant incomes. The pope decided to retaliate by excommunicating Pedro. And in France, Philippe decided to take up arms—with the blessing of the pope, hence that this whole endeavour is known as The Aragonese Crusade.

In 1284, Philippe started moving south. He was welcomed with open arms by Pedro’s younger brother, Jaume. This disgruntled brother was not at all happy with the rather measly inheritance his father had given him: the Balearic islands, Montpellier, the county of Roussillon with Perpignan as its capital was just not enough, not when Pedro had inherited the Aragonese heartlands! (IMO, Jaume Sr—dad to Pedro and Jaume Jr—should not have split his lands up at all) So Jaume was more than delighted to offer Philippe his support—well, not that he ever went as far as riding with the French, but he was happy to cheer them on as they set off towards the passes over the Pyrenees.

Fortunately for Pedro, there were some men in Roussillon who remained loyal to Aragon. One of them is the man known as “the Bastard of Roussillon”. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that we know of this man’s heroic acts (more of that later), we know he was illegitimate and we even know who his father is—but his name has been forever erased from the annals of history. 

Now, as a writer of historical fiction, peeps like this anonymous bastard are like gold nuggets: they existed, they are even mentioned in a roll or two, but we know absolutely nothing about them beyond those events that earned them a mention. This allows me to invent a life for them—and in the case of Mr Anonymous, I have also taken the liberty of giving him a future beyond 1285.

So, what do we know of this enigmatic man? Well, for starters, we know his father was Nuño Sanchez, Count of Rousillon. Nuño, in turn, was the son of Sancho, Count of Provence, who was the younger brother of Alfonso II of Aragon. So, our anonymous bastard had royal blood in his veins, and as the people of the time were fond of patronyms, I think we can conclude he was known as XX Nuñez. I’m not entirely sure his father would have named him Sancho—maybe that was a name he was holding on to for a much desired legitimate son that never happened. In my book I have called our unknown bastard Nuño Nuñez – for the simple reason that there already is a central Sancho in the story. 

Not only do we know his antecedents on his paternal side, we also know that the Bastard of Roussillon must have been over forty years in 1284 as his father died in 1241 or so. So, this is an experienced man, a man of some wealth and influence and, probably, relatively experienced in warfare. After all, any young man desiring to learn how to fight in this part of the world could always ride with the Castilians or Aragonese as they did battle with the Moors. 

Finally, we have reasons to suspect our unknown bastard had his home somewhere close to the little town of Elne, as this is where he made a stand against the French. Yup. One determined man with whatever followers he could assemble decided to stop the French from reaching the passes over the Pyrenees. It’s a bit like Thermopylae, a small group of brave men facing a gigantic army – Philippe was travelling with close to 30 000 men. 

Obviously, the odds were against our Nuño. But for some weeks, he held out, buying King Pedro time. And then, the French overwhelmed the resistance and Philippe decided a severe punishment was in order.  In Nuño’s own words: 

Beside him, Nuño shifted on his feet and lifted his face to the sun. 

“My people were never buried,” he said, his voice hoarse with disuse. He laughed bitterly. “A house of the Lord became their tomb.” He closed his eyes. “It burned. They rounded them up and forced them into the cathedral before setting it on fire, and the sounds . . .” He rocked from side to side, hands pressed to his ears. “They made me watch,” he continued. “They held me and forced me to hear them scream, hear their pleas for mercy. And when the roof gave—” He shuddered and crossed himself. “A wail, a sound so terrible it tore my soul apart, and then there was silence.” 

“They have paid for their sins,” Robert said.

“Paid? How can you pay for letting infants, children and women die like that? A curse on the French, a curse on Philippe and his sons, but most of all a curse on that accursed Jaume, betrayer of his people and his brother.” He held out his shaking hands, covered in healed burns. “I wrested lose. I tried to get at them, but it was too late, and there was nothing to find, no one to save.” He groaned. “My woman. Our son.” He turned to face the north again. “I just want to die,” he added softly, his voice cracking.

Robert had no notion what to say, so he stood in silence beside the equally silent Nuño. Daylight waned, and still they stood there until at long last Nuño looked at him. “God will have welcomed them into His heaven,” he said, and there was an entreaty in his gaze, a wobble to his voice. 

“Of course,” Robert replied. “Innocents butchered before the image of God rise like angels towards Him.”

The cathedral in Elne burned and burned, while the papal legates and priests that travelled with Philippe did nothing to intercede. After all, the French king was doing God’s work, right?

Huh. For some reason, I suspect God disagreed. Yes, Philippe led his army into Aragon, and yes, he besieged Girona and won the city after some months, arranging for his younger son—yet another Charles—to be crowned in Girona’s cathedral as the new king of Aragon. But then the tides of fortune turned, and by the end of the Aragonese Crusade, Philippe III was dead as was the vast majority of his army. 

Driving the French out of Aragon
Public Domain 
Pere_el_Gran_al_Coll_de_Panissars by Bartomeu Ribo Terriz 

As for Nuño, there is a mention of him in one of the royal rolls of Aragon—still nameless—and then there’s nothing. Which, of course, is why I have him joining my Robert and Noor as they travel further into the Iberian peninsula there to handle all sorts of challenges, always with Nuño at their side. And when things come to a head, Nuño will yet again prove himself brave and loyal—no matter what the cost may be! 


An enraged and grieving queen commands them to retrieve her exquisite jewel and abandon their foundling brat overseas—or never return.

Robert FitzStephan and his wife, Noor, have been temporarily exiled. Officially, they are to travel to the courts of Aragon and Castile as emissaries of Queen Eleanor of England. Unofficially, the queen demands two things: that they abandon Lionel, their foster son, in foreign lands and that they bring back a precious jewel – the Castilian Pomegranate.

Noor would rather chop off a foot than leave Lionel in a foreign land—especially as he’s been entrusted to her by his dead father, the last true prince of Wales. And as to the jewel, stealing it would mean immediate execution. . . 

Spain in 1285 is a complicated place. France has launched a crusade against Aragon and soon enough Robert is embroiled in the conflict, standing side by side with their Aragonese hosts. 

Once in Castile, it is the fearsome Moors that must be fought, with Robert facing weeks separated from his young wife, a wife who is enthralled by the Castilian court—and a particular Castilian gallant. 

Jealousy, betrayal and a thirst for revenge plunge Noor and Robert into life-threatening danger. 

Will they emerge unscathed or will savage but beautiful Castile leave them permanently scarred and damaged?  

Trigger Warnings:
Sexual content, violence

Buy Links: 
This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited


Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.  

Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. 

The Castilian Pomegranate is the second in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain, a world of intrigue and back-stabbing.

Her most recent release prior to The Castilian Pomegranate is The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode! 

All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

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You might Also like

Books By Helen Hollick 


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A Mirror Murder
#1 in the Jan Christopher 
Cosy Mystery Series
set in a 1970s London library 

and now... Episode 2!

A Mystery of Murder
 1971 Jan and her boyfriend DS Laurie Walker
spend Christmas in Devon
(featuring an owl, a teddy bear, some pigs
- and a murder to solve!) 

Liked Pirates Of The Caribbean?
then you'll love the Sea Witch Voyages!

1066 Turned Upside Down -
an anthology of alternative stories
Includes a story by Anna Belfrage!

Friday 19 November 2021

Do join me in my Coffee Pot Cosy Murder Mystery Blog Tour!

available from Amazon

Had I known what was to happen soon after we arrived at Mr and Mrs Walker’s lovely old West Country house, my apprehension about spending Christmas in Devon would, in comparison, have dwindled to nothing.’

Library Assistant Jan Christopher is to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, DS Laurie Walker and his family, but when a murder is discovered, followed by a not very accidental accident  and some serious accusations are made, the traditional Christmas spirit is stretched to the limit...

What happened to Laurie’s ex-girlfriend? Where is the vicar’s wife? Who took those old photographs? And will the farmer up the lane ever mend his broken fences?

Set in 1971, this is the second Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery. Join her (and an owl and a teddy bear) in Devon for a Christmas to remember.

Will a murder spoil Christmas for Jan Christopher and her boyfriend DS Laurie Walker – or will it bring them closer together?

tour dates

November 22nd - December 3rd

on the News Update on my


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for the


among your friends and family!


Wednesday 17 November 2021

My Coffee Pot Guest Kinley Bryan and Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury

Welcome to my Blog!
Wander through wonderful worlds
real and fictional,
meet intereting people,
visit exciting places
and find a few good books
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Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury

By Kinley Bryan

“Somehow it is true that nearly every great thing associated with the [Great] Lakes is unusual in some way—unusual to an astonishing degree,” wrote American action-adventure writer and conservationist James Oliver Curwood in The Great Lakes (1909); he went on to lament the lack of literature about the Lakes. Over one hundred years later I, too, am surprised at how little the Great Lakes feature in popular culture, and I’m excited to share with readers the beauty, the grandeur, and also the terrible ferocity of these vast inland freshwater seas.

My historical novel, Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury, is set during the Great Lakes Storm of November 7-11, 1913. In the days leading up to the storm, three sisters—Sunny, Cordelia, and Agnes—are struggling with personal dilemmas related to society’s expectations of them. Each sister’s struggle is different, and each sister is in a different place, emotionally. As the worst storm in a century descends on the region, the sisters must weather the storm from different places, geographically. Sunny, Cordelia, and Agnes are hundreds of miles apart, in fact—such was the massive scope of this storm.

 The Great Lakes 
as seen from space 

Photo courtesy of SeaWiFS Project,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center,
and ORBIMAGE, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

Sunny, a ship’s cook, faces the fury from the hustle and bustle of the galley on a 500-foot straight deck freighter. The vessels are unique to the Great Lakes, with their long flat middle and two “houses” on either end—the pilothouse at the bow and the boilerhouse at the stern. The cargo, often iron ore or coal, is held in the middle, poured in through the rectangular openings, or hatches, that line the deck from the pilothouse to the boilerhouse. In 1913, the only way to get from one end of the freighter to the other was to cross a football field’s length of open deck; there was no below-deck passageway for the crew.

In those days, the few women employed on lake freighters likely worked in the galley as a cook. The galley was located in the boilerhouse at the stern of the ship, as was the mess room, officers’ dining room, and the crew’s sleeping quarters. Below the boilerhouse, the enormous engine occupied several levels. While Sunny’s straight deck freighter is a fictional one, it was inspired by a real-life vessel that encountered the 1913 storm. To capture the feeling of what it might have been like on a freighter in the early 20th century, I read first-hand accounts of sailors who survived the storm. I also found accounts written by the occasional passenger who rode along in better weather. There are places around the Great Lakes where you can tour a lake freighter, such as the Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and the William G. Mather in Cleveland, Ohio (pictured).

William G Mather
Photo courtesy of Michael Bryan

Cordelia, the youngest sister in my novel, has just married a freighter captain, and is joining him on the season’s last trip up the lakes, from Cleveland to Duluth. Unlike Sunny, who lives and works at the stern, Cordelia finds herself in the pilothouse at the ship’s bow. There she stays in the captain’s quarters, with its clawfoot tub and dark wood paneling and checkerboard-tile floor. She and her captain husband encounter the storm on Lake Superior, near its eastern end. It’s a treacherous area. Waves bounce off the rocky coastline and combine with waves headed for the shore and the result is the formation of these tremendous monster waves. It’s in this part of Lake Superior that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank almost 50 years ago.

Agnes, the oldest sister, is on land when the storm hits. She lives in a lakeside town at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb. From her pale yellow cottage, she has a view of Lake Huron and its incredible vastness. One of the wondrous things about the Great Lakes is that from the shore, the water looks as expansive as any ocean. For Agnes, I drew on my experience living in an old cottage on Lake Erie. I loved watching the lake change from season to season. In the winter, the lake’s southern half froze and snow blanketed the surface as far as you could see. Lake currents created these great, crumpled ice formations at the shore. In the darkest of winter an eerie howl raced across the partially frozen lake.

Lake Erie winter
Photo courtesy of Mike Bryan

In the spring, the ice and snow melted and lake freighters began to appear. They were miles offshore, hazy and hovering on the horizon as if they weren’t moving—and from that distance, silent, so it was always a little surprise to see one. I would wonder about the people on board: who they were, what their lives were like. I would think of my great-grandfather, who in the early 1900s was a schooner captain on the Great Lakes (my great-grandmother was the ship’s cook). Summers on Lake Erie brought warm breezes and sailboat races, the crew’s voices traveling across the water to where I sat on the porch, so distinct they might have been next door. And in the fall came the storms: churning dark water, combers crashing against rocks, freshening wind. When a wave hit the shore just right, the cottage would shake as if from a small earthquake.

I hope readers find Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury to be an immersive experience. I want them to feel like they’re in the heart of the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, with its mountainous waves, freight-train wind, and whiteout blizzard conditions. This was a storm unlike any other, so much so that a hundred years later people were still writing nonfiction accounts of it. I hope readers enjoy my fictional take on the fury.

Three sisters. Two Great Lakes. One furious storm.

Based on actual events..

It's 1913 and Great Lakes galley cook Sunny Colvin has her hands full feeding a freighter crew seven days a week, nine months a year. She also has a dream—to open a restaurant back home—but knows she'd never convince her husband, the steward, to leave the seafaring life he loves.

In Sunny’s Lake Huron hometown, her sister Agnes Inby mourns her husband, a U.S. Life-Saving Serviceman who died in an accident she believes she could have prevented. Burdened with regret and longing for more than her job at the dry goods store, she looks for comfort in a secret infatuation.

Two hundred miles away in Cleveland, youngest sister Cordelia Blythe has pinned her hopes for adventure on her marriage to a lake freighter captain. Finding herself alone and restless in her new town, she joins him on the season’s last trip up the lakes.

On November 8, 1913, a deadly storm descends on the Great Lakes, bringing hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous thirty-five-foot waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos, the women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it.

Buy Links:

Universal Link:

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Amazon US:

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About the author

Kinley Bryan is an Ohio native who counts numerous Great Lakes captains among her ancestors. Her great-grandfather Walter Stalker was captain of the four-masted schooner Golden Age, the largest sailing vessel in the world when it launched in 1883. Kinley’s love for the inland seas swelled during the years she spent in an old cottage on Lake Erie. She now lives with her husband and children on the Atlantic Coast, where she prefers not to lose sight of the shore. Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury is her first novel.

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You might also like 

books written by Helen Hollick 


Amazon Author Page: 

Latest Release

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Previously Published
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The Jan Christopher Cosy Mysteries
set in the 1970s

Blog Tour coming soon

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nautical adventures set during the Golden Age of Piracy

If you liked Pirates Of The Caribbean?
then you'll love the Sea Witch Voyages!


Sunday 14 November 2021

See That Grumpy Old Man Over There?

for Remembrance Day 11th November
by Kathy Hollick Blee

See that grumpy old man over there?
I used to laugh and snigger when the toaster popped when he was unaware, 
he used to jump out his skin and shiver. 
I never understood when I got told to stop, it was funny to me!

One day when I was 18, I spoke to that grumpy old man. 
I was proud to tell him I had signed up for the army, 
he sat me down and said to me, 
"My boy I have never spoken of the past 
and you never did understand why the toaster made me jump!
For I was a soldier and one day you will fully understand."

He told me about his life, 
he said "I boarded that ship and thought 
will I ever see my loved one again and English homeland?"

"I went through pain every day, fighting for my life, regiment, and country, 
we were frightened men in the trenches, 
cold, wet, hungry with dying men around us,.
I will not speak of it today."

I knew he was not telling me everything, he continued to say: 
"One day the guns fell silent on that battlefield, 
a silence not known but only dreamt of. 
For the war was over, 
I had survived, 
I was going home with my head held high, 
for I am the one who served my country for you to live and thrive today.'
He never spoke of any of it again."

He passed away a few years later, and only now do I realize 
what that grumpy old man meant.

For I am a veteran sat watching my son at sports day, 
to get laughed and sniggered at when I jumped and hid under my chair 
when the starting gun went!

Only now do I realize that in a soldiers mind a bang could be a grenade or sniper, 
it is no laughing matter! 
If only I knew back then why that grumpy old man jumped and shivered at a bang.

For today, tomorrow and all days do not let shadows and memories  
of our soldiers die, for they are our heroes, honour, respect and remember them.

Don’t laugh at someone when they get frightened of a bang and react. 
You don’t know their past.


Wednesday 10 November 2021

Andrea Matthews and Ride with the Moonlight & Thunder on the Moor

Welcome to my Blog!
Wander through wonderful worlds
real and fictional,
meet interesting people,
visit exciting places
and find a few good books
to enjoy along the way!

Ride with the Moonlight is set in the sixteenth century on the Anglo-Scottish Border. At that time the area was wild and lawless, ruled by men known as the Border Reivers. After years of warfare between their respective countries, the inhabitants were left to fend for themselves and eek a living out of what was left to them. As a result, the borderers became closer to one another in many ways than they were to their fellow countryman in the Highlands of Scotland or the South of England. They understood and respected each other and would ride for whichever side suited them at the moment. Family ties and a shared experience bound them together, and yet, blood feuds caused rifts between them that could last for centuries.

Into this world, comes Maggie Armstrong, a twentieth century American college student, whose father just happens to be a sixteenth century Border Reiver. When he finds a way to return to his sixteenth century home, Maggie is off on the trip of a lifetime to the wild and untamed Borderland of sixteenth century Scotland and England.

In 1538, the Borders were divided into Marches, three English and three Scottish: the West, East, and Middle Marches. England and Scotland were still two distinct nations at the time, each with its own king. Scotland was ruled by James V and England by Henry VIII, but that’s a discussion for another time

As Maggie is an Armstrong, her family resides on the Scottish side of the border in Eskdale, which today is located in the county of Dumfriesshire, but in 1538, it stands firmly in an area known as the Scottish West March. Her uncle’s peel tower sits just to the northwest of Langholm, atop one of the steep, grassy slopes that overlooks the moors, grasslands and forests of the Esk River Valley. A brook gurgles past the tower, while off in the distance, the sound of the Esk can be heard rushing toward its destination in the Solway Firth.

(James Denham Creative Commons Attribution
Share Alike 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Will is a Foster, whose kin are situated in the modern county of Northumberland, England, though in 1538, his father’s tower sits amongst the rolling hills of the English Middle March. It stands guard over the infamous Tynedale, with its moorland, fertile valleys, forests, and streams. Not far from his father’s tower is Blacka Burn, an estuary of the North Tyne River, where Will and Maggie build their own cottage and his brother Walt has his bastle house.

(Peter McDermott Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Wikimedia Commons)

The heads of both families possess impressive strongholds: four story towers of stone, each with beacons on its crenelated roof to warn of an imminent attack. Within each tower is the great hall, where feasts are held, and on the upper floors, bedrooms are located for the family in case of attack. The ground floor has a storage area and room for cattle, as well as a dungeon of sorts. When peace reigns, however, both Maggie's kin and Will’s family live in a two story stone cottage with a thatched roof. Along with outbuildings such as a stable, storeroom, and chapel, the entire compound is surrounded by a fifteen foot barmekin wall, which is two feet thick and includes a fifteen foot high crenelated walkway.

Peel Tower
(User: Dave Souza Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.5
Wikimedia Commons)

The rest of the family, such as Maggie’s uncle, Andy, and Will’s brother, Walt live in bastle houses. These are smaller two-story edifices, built of stone. The family lives on the upper floor, while the bottom floor is for storage and the housing of cattle. The upper floor can only be reached by a ladder or wooden forestair, much the same as the peel towers.

Bastle House
(Steve M Creative Commonns
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Wikimedia Commons)

Finally, those starting out, like Will and Maggie, as well as the local villagers, might only have small cottages, generally constructed of stone, with thatched rooves. But they’re never too far from the peel tower, where they will go for protection and to aid in the fray during times of attack.

Thatched Cottage
(Motacilla Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Wikimedia Commons)

Much of the second book in the series, however, takes place in the wild and barren hills of the Cheviots to the northeast of Will’s home. Will and Maggie hide among the rugged passes and windswept hills of the Cheviots, roaming along winding tracks that can easily swallow up a man’s trail. Beautiful and desolate, the hills provide coverage for our pair of fugitives.

(Eileen Henderson Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0)

Another important site in book 2 is the town of Hexham. The market town is located about twelve to fourteen miles to the southeast of the Foster peel tower, just north of the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. It lies in the fertile Tyne Valley and is home to the first purpose-built gaol in England, a place Will and Maggie are destined to become intimately acquainted with. It is also the home of Hexham Abbey, which was dissolved the previous year by Henry VIII, its church given to the parish and some of its buildings disbursed to Reynold Carnaby, the Keeper of Tynedale. The men of the Tyne Valley were so wild, the area needed its own governing official in addition to the warden and his sergeants. 

(Rick Macneill Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0)

There are additional places named in passing, such as the Bewcastle Wastes and Liddesdale; wild, lawless areas where a man could get lost or lose his life just as easily. Bewcastle was a town sitting in the English West March on the edge of the Wastes in what is now the English County of Cumbria. Liddesdale was much the same, known for its outlaw inhabitants, but it was located on the Scottish side of the Border, just north of Will’s home in the English Middle March. Only about twenty miles long, it made up a valley of the Liddel Water, but its treacherous reputation lay in its undulating countryside and hidden trails that followed gurgling brooks, as well as the notorious men who resided there.

To keep my readers from getting lost, I’ve included a roughly etched map in Book 2, so you can follow Will, Maggie and company in their travels. Keep an eye out and don’t get caught unaware. You never know who’s wandering the tranquil valleys and windswept hills. 


To find out more about the locations in Ride with the Moonlight, check out my website at

After rescuing sixteenth-century Border reiver Will Foster from certain death at her family’s hands, time traveler Maggie Armstrong finally admits her love for the handsome Englishman, though she can’t rid herself of the sinking suspicion that her Scottish kin are not about to let them live in peace. What she doesn’t expect is the danger that lurks on Will’s own side of the Border. When news of their plans to marry reaches the warden, he charges Will with March treason for trysting with a Scot. Will and Maggie attempt to escape by fleeing to the hills, but when Will is declared an outlaw and allowed to be killed on sight, they can no longer evade the authorities. Will is sentenced to hang, while Maggie is to be sent back to her family. Heartbroken, she has no choice but to return to Scotland, where her uncle continues to make plans for her to wed Ian Rutherford, the wicked Scotsman who she now realizes murdered her father in cold blood. With Will facing the gallows in England, and herself practically under house arrest in Scotland, she continues to resist her uncle’s plans, but her efforts are thwarted at every turn. Will’s family, however, is not about to stand by and watch their youngest lad executed simply because he’s lost his heart to a Scottish lass. A daring plan is set into motion, but will it be in time to save Will’s life and reunite the lovers? Or will Ian’s lies prompt Maggie’s family to ensure the bond between them is forever destroyed?

Trigger Warnings
Violence, sexual content.

Buy Links: 

This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Amazon Link:

About Andrea Matthews

Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

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Twitter Handle: @AMatthewsAuthor @maryanneyarde
Hashtags: #HistoricalRomance #timetravelromance #scottishhistory
#border-reivers #CoffeePotBookClub #BlogTour

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