Troubadour, by Isolde Martyn

God ha’ mercy! Shoulder throbbing with pain, Adela stumbled to her feet. Already she could hear the shouting in the upper bailey. She took a pace forward and braced herself to be set upon; the workmen stood inert. There was a gap in this uneven horseshoe of witnesses. She recognised one of them.
‘Are ‘e daft?’ he growled. ‘Run!’

When Adela, hairbraider to the queen, finds herself the unwilling subject of King John’s attention, she flees the English court and, after stowing away on a ship, finds herself in France. Eventually she is employed as a laundry maid in the entourage of Lady Alys, an English woman on her way to marry the Lord of Mircason to forge an alliance with King John. Adela is startled to see that she and Alys have very similar appearances. When the entourage is ambushed, it is this resemblance which sees Adela, the sole survivor of the ambush, mistaken for Lady ALys, and delivered to Richart, the Lord of Mircason. Adlea knows she will not be able to maintain the deception for ever, but events seem to be overtaking her, with teh wedding looming, and her attraction for Richart growing. In the meantime, Richart’s fiefdom, and those around him, are being targeted by a crusade, coming to topple any people who harbour or befriend heretics.

Troubadour is a romantic saga set in medieval France and England, against a background of real events. Martyn brings to life the political machinations and court life of the times with colour and detail, and the action moves at a satisfying pace.

With an intriguing cast of characters, and a satisfying romantic plot, Troubadour is highly recommended.

Troubadour , by Isolde Martyn
Harlequin, 2017
ISBN 9781489220370

Fleur-De-Lis, by Isolde Martyn

Fleur de Montbullio is, at nineteen, living a quiet but hard life in hiding in the forest. Sick of being without food, without warmth and without her family, she welcomes the chance for a change when a dying man proposes marriage. Soon she is in Paris, a place which holds many opportunities – and just as many dangers.

Now a widow with debts to pay and a business to run, Fleur must work hard to change her fortunes. First though, she must navigate a society which is far removed from that of her youth. Should her upbringing as the child of a noble be discovered, her life may be at risk. A beautiful woman on her own in Paris, she attracts much interest but none is as exciting – or as dangerous – as the interest shown by Raoul de Villaret, a deputy of the Revolution and a man who has crossed Fleur’s path before.

Fleur-De-Lis is a gripping tale of romance, revolution and historical detail. Set in a time which many readers may have studied in highschool history, it gives a far more authentic and personal glimpse of this period of French history than any history book ever could.

A fascinating read.

Fleur-De-Lis, by Isolde Martyn
Pan, 2004