22 October 2015

Excerpt Thursday: THE BETROTHED SISTER by Carol McGrath

This week, we're welcoming author Carol McGrath again, whose latest title is THE BETROTHED SISTER, book #3 of The Daughters of Hastings trilogyJoin us again on Sunday for an author interview, with more details about the story behind the story. One lucky visitor will get a free copy of The Betrothed SisterBe sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's post or Sunday's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.

It is 1068 and led by Countess Gytha the Godwin royal women are about to set out into exile after the Siege of Exeter. Princess Thea, known to history as Gita is King Harold’s eldest daughter and the book’s engaging protagonist. She carries revenge in her heart for the Normans who killed her father at the Battle of Hastings. Once in Demark her uncle, the king, betroths her to a most eligible prince, his third wife’s nephew, Vladimir of Kiev. Will her betrothal and marriage bring her happiness, as she confronts enemies from inside and outside Rus territories? Will she prove herself the courageous princess she surely is, win her husband’s respect and establish her independence in a society protective towards its women?
**An Excerpt from The Betrothed Sister**
Chapter One

Thea glanced up at the thin, fragile moon. Despite all that had happened since the Normans stole England, anticipation gripped her. By the time that moon grew fat again they would be settled in their new home. She moved her lips in prayer to her name-day saint, St Theodosia. ‘Gracious lady, grant us a warm hall, fine furniture and new clothing, and take a care for my brother Magnus.’ Surely her saint would answer her prayer.
Yet, Thea did not confess to her saint her deepest and most secret wish. She wanted revenge on William the Bastard. She wanted revenge not only on him but on his whole House for his destruction of her father, the kidnap of her brother Ulf by William, her mother’s seclusion and the murder of her brother, Magnus. If St Theodosia knew what lay in her heart, she knew it already. Thea wanted vengeance and until she had it, her life would never be complete again. One day, the Bastard, William of Normandy, false king of England, would die an ignoble death, unloved by his children and preferably in great pain because she, Thea, daughter of the great King Harold, wanted him to suffer for what he had done to her family. And, she added this to her thought – one day she would marry a warrior prince who hated the Normans as much as she did and who would help her brothers recover their kingdom. She started. Voices were falling towards them, dropping from the direction of the cliff below the monastery, coming closer.
She twisted round to see the rest of their women following a monk who was swinging a lantern. Their ladies, who were wrapped in their warmest woollen mantles, came in a snaking line down the cliff path to the beach. All of them, even the five children, were carrying small bundles. When the group reached the shingle, the women gathered up cloaks and skirts and bunching the thick escaping material into their hands they began wading out to climb into the fleet of skiffs. Edmund and Padar, their warrior poet, took an arm here and a hand there. They lifted the older women, swinging in turn each of a tiny band of confused children from one to the other over the lapping water. Finally they deposited the women and their offspring into the assorted fishing craft that would ferry them to the big-sailed ships which were to carry them over the Narrow Sea.

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Learn more about author Carol McGrath

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