About Quinces

Quincesa nd quicne jelly made by Deborah Cooke

I have a fascination with quinces and was very happy this year to acquire two quince trees for my garden. They’re very young, and just sticks at this point, but I’ll pamper them and hope for a harvest in a decade or so. It might just be one or two quinces, but they’ll be worth the wait.

You’ll notice from the picture above that the fruit is pale yellow. It’s paler inside and granular like a pear. Quinces are also as hard as rocks, even when ripe. They have to be cooked to be eaten. The scent is between a pear and an apple, but when quince is cooked, it turns pink and develops a kind of pineapple flavor. The flavor is distinct, both familiar and exotic. I think the way it turns pink is just magical.

Illustration from Codex granatensis, ca 1400, showing the quince
Illustration from Codex granatensis ca 1400 showing the quince

Quinces have been known for millennia. They originated in the Middle East and spread early to Europe. Some scholars believe that the golden apples of the Hesperides were quinces, and that the apple given by Helen of Troy to Paris was actually a quince.

The Romans mentioned quinces often in their literature. Pliny said it warded off the evil eye. Plutarch documented the ceremony of a newly married couple sharing a quince: since the quince was sacred to Venus, this was to ensure a sweet future together.

Quinces were included in the list of plants by Charlemagne (Capitulare de Villis) that should be grown on imperial estates.They were also planted at the Tower of London in 1275. In Old English, the fruit was called a coyne, which has evolved to the modern quince. Here’s an article by the Metropolitan Museum about the quinces that grow in the Cloisters Museum.

Illustration from Tacuinum Sanitatis, showing the quince
Illustration from Taciunum Sanitatis, showing the quince

Both of these medieval illustrations come from volumes that mention the benefits of quince upon the digestive system and its use in whetting the appetite.

What good are quinces? They are high in pectin and Vitamin C and make a lovely pink jelly. They have that marvelous flavor. This post of a medieval menu includes a recipe for quince cake. As mentioned, they have long been believed to aid in digestive issues. When Magellan undertook his voyage to the Pacific, they carried quince jelly for the officers, not realizing that the Vitamin C in it would ward off scurvy.

We planted our two quince trees this past weekend and I’m very excited to watch them grow.

Hawks & Hounds

I thought today we’d take a look at medieval hunting with hawks. Amaury, the hero in The Hunter & the Heiress, is an accomplished hunter. Elizabeth first sees him when he rides to hunt with his three dogs and his peregrine falcon, Persephone. Amaury’s dogs would be primarily be used to flush game, while the peregrine would take small birds. Amaury uses his crossbow for larger prey.

Hunting of large game was the privilege of the nobility in the medieval era. Deer and boar were specifically reserved for the sport of the aristocrats, but such large animals also provided for the lord’s table. In the forests on a lord’s holding, there would also be smaller game birds like grouse and partridge, as well as hares. The nobility also had the responsibility of hunting predators, like wolves, to ensure the safety of all.

This kind of hunting was also a nobleman’s occupation because of the cost of training and keeping the birds. The birds were kept in special buildings called “mews” in an established holding. The birds were hooded when not hunting because they are sight-hunters and this kept them more calm. They wore bells so they could be retrieved more readily when lost and jesses (leather straps) were tethered to their ankles so they could be held securely “on the fist”. The treatises below include a lot of recipes for medicines for the falcons, and a great deal of advice about keeping the birds healthy. We use “peregrine falcon” as a species, but in the MIddle Ages, “peregrine” referred to the female falcon, while “tiercel” referred to the male. Hunting was generally done with females. (The name “peregrine” derives from the practice of capturing the young birds while they were traveling to their breeding grounds rather than from the nest, since the nests were difficult to reach.)

Falconry characterizes medieval hunting to me. Like many other “pastimes’ of the nobility, it is a sport that allows military men to keep their fighting skills honed. Under the guise of providing for the table, they stalk, hunt and kill. Jousts and tournaments, also the reserve of the nobility, serve a similar purpose as well as providing for the defense of honor and entertainment.

The term falco peregrinus dates from Albert Magus’ use in 1225 but falconry is a much older sport than that. These specific raptors have been used in hunting for about 3,000 years. They are said to be easier to train than other hawks and also inclined to hunt. They circle above the falconer while game is flushed then dive to attack—the speed of descent can allow them to take down birds bigger than themselves. It’s also dramatic.

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, (also called Frederick Barbarossa because of his red beard) lived from 1194 to 1250 and was by all accounts a remarkable man. He wrote a book on falconry called De Arte Venandi cum Avibus: “On the art of hunting with birds”. This book is based on Frederick’s own observations and experience and quite detailed. It’s a very personal guide to a sport he obviously enjoyed.

The Vatican has scanned their copy of this work and made it available for online viewing. You can find it here.

This is a screenshot of two of the pages with their lovely illustrations:

A scrren shot of the De Arte Venandi cum Avibus by Frederick II scanned by the Vatican

The Book of St. Albans from 1486 is a later work but one often quoted for its description of who should hunt with which kind of raptor.

Here is the University of Cambridge’s digitized version of The Book of St. Albans. I’ve linked you to the page where the listing begins (before that, the text concerns training and medicines as well as the keeping of hawks.)

“An Eagle for an Emperor, a Gyrfalcon for a King; a Peregrine for a Prince, a Saker for a Knight, a Merlin for a Lady; a Hobby for a Young Man; a Goshawk for a Yeoman, a Sparrowhawk for a Priest, a Musket for a Holy water Clerk, a Kestrel for a Knave.”

The fact that hunting was reserved to the nobility didn’t mean that common people had no meat to eat: they only had game when they ate at the lord’s table but they also ate meat that they had raised. Common people kept pigs—it was typical to get a suckling pig in the spring, feed it through the autumn, then slaughter it and have smoked pork products for the winter. They also kept geese and chickens as sources of both meat and eggs—so did the nobility—while rivers and ponds were used to raise eels (which could be smoked) and other fish. Fish was eaten on fasting days, when no meat could be consumed. Cows are less common in most areas in the Middle Ages, though goats were a source of milk (often for cheesemaking) as well as subsequently for meat. I’ve always suspected that medieval peasants also trapped rabbits in their vegetable gardens, and likely did have a little more game in their diets than the chronicles might suggest.


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than joining his half-brother’s company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland. A knight and a champion at the joust, he expected to inherit a holding—until the man he has known as his father revealed a terrible truth and disavowed him. Left with nothing, Amaury rides to Kilderrick, where he loses his heart to a beautiful noblewoman in the forest. A practical man, he knows he has no right to court the lady, but when she is abducted, Amaury follows, determined to fulfill his knightly duty by aiding a damsel in distress.

Elizabeth d’Acron has been a pawn and a prize, pursued for her father’s wealthy holding, and wants only to be desired for herself. Seized again, she vows she will surrender to no man—even the handsome knight who comes to her rescue. And truly, there could be no one more vexing than this confident yet inscrutable man, so concerned with duty that he could be wrought of stone—but Elizabeth soon learns that she can trust Amaury to defend her at any cost. She does not expect the seductive fire awakened by his touch, much less his conquest of her wary heart—but has she fallen in love with a man whose affections are already claimed?

Snared between duty and passion, Amaury finds himself beguiled by the lady who challenges his every expectation, but knows he has little to offer her. But when Elizabeth is threatened by a former suitor who will not be refused, Amaury risks his all in her defense, hoping it will be enough. But can he intervene in time? And will love alone convince Elizabeth to place her hand in his for all time?


Pre-order the ebook for February 15 delivery:

Tournaments, Melées and Duels

Amaury, the hero in The Hunter & the Heiress, has previously competed in tournaments and has been a champion at the joust. I thought we would look today at the kinds of formalized combat that developed during the Middle Ages. The book is set in 1375 which is right around the time that formalized combat started to evolve into what we think of as a tournament. People have likely settled disputes with one-on-one combat or duels since the beginning of time and certainly the defense of one’s honor has often been a part of that.

Melées were the earliest formalized medieval combat. For these events, a number of knights gathered at a specific location and rode to war against each other in a big free-for-all. Knights would try to capture other knights, then would charge a ransom for their release. Some younger sons of noble families undoubtedly found this an exciting way to make a living. By the 14th century, though, melées had become less popular in favor of either a tournament of numerous events (possibly including the melée) and single combat.

Tournaments were often hosted by kings to celebrate marriages and coronations. Many knights would come together at an appointed time and place—Smithfields near London was one such location—and compete. These were displays of pageantry and affluence—it became increasily common for there to be costumes involved with references to legends.

The tilt or joust required mounted knights to ride toward each other. This became more developed in the fifteenth century, after the end of the Hundred Years War. Specialized plate armor was developed for tilting (both for the knight and the horse) and the median wall was added between the two knights. The goal was to unseat the opponent but piercing the opponent’s shield without giving him any other damage was considered to be artful. Fifteenth century armor becomes quite splendid, as there is a pageantry element to this display.

Single combat involved two knights battling each other on foot. In some places and times, these disputes were limited to the use of certain weapons; in others, there was more flexibility and the combatants could decide. This could be a means of settling a question of honor, as it is in The Hawk & the Hunter, and it might not be endorsed by the local authority. In the fourteenth century, kings and barons tried to control ritualized combat with limited success—which is why the Baron of Clyffton declines to attend the duel in the book.

Duels could also be commanded by a judicial authority when a verdict could not be decided in the court—it was believed that the divine would favor the innocent party. This was called a gaige de bataille and over the fifteenth century, elaborate rules were developed to govern such a duel. They might be fought until one combatant died, or the loser might be executed. In 1386, for example, Jean de Carrouges and Jacques le Gris fought a judicial duel after Carrouges accused le Gris of raping his wife. Carrouges threw le Gris to the ground in the duel, but le Gris refused to confess to the crime and Carrouges killed him. This was the last gaige de bataille ordered in France. In England, John Walsh of Grimsby fought a judicial duel in 1384 with Martlet de Villeneuve, who had accused him of treason. Walsh won the battle and Martlet was drawn, hung and beheaded for making a false accusation.

Pas d’armes were competitions that gathered a number of knights to demonstrate their prowess and these events became popular in the fifteenth century. One of the earliest occurred at St. Inglevert in 1390 (that’s south of Calais.) Three French knights invited other knights to joust against them in a specific location, where they would await challengers for a specific period of time. Another pas d’armes in 1443 at Dijon called the Pas de l’arbre de Charlemagne is also well-chronicled: two shields were hung in a tree for contenders to select their event, the black one indicating eleven courses of jousting with sharp weapons and the violet one indicating foot combat with swords or axes. That event continued for twelve weeks.

In all these forms of medieval combat, knights could battle à plaisance or à outrance—for pleasure or to the utmost. In the former, there might be a time limit on the match, or a victory declared after a certain number of hits were made, or when one opponent was thrown to the ground. In the latter, one combatant had to surrender, be injured or die to end the fight. These battles could also be fought with weapons of peace, which were blunted, or weapons of war, which were not. The idea was not to kill one’s opponent, but deaths did occur. It was a dangerous game—Elizabeth has a good bit to say on this in The Hunter & the Heiress.

I wanted to show you some wonderful images of jousting knights or medieval manuscripts but all the ones I found were copyrighted and unavailable for use. 😦 Here are two 16th century German books that are available to view on at least these websites. When you have a few minutes, take a look!

Look at some images of knights from Hans Burgkmair’s Turnierbuch ca 1530

Look at some images from the Knights Tournament Book ca 1550

Here also is the online facsimile of the Codex Manesse, a book created between 1304 and 1340 in Germany including songs. Here’s a lovely image of a knight accepting tributes from the ladies. And here’s a melée. The images in this book are wonderful depictions of medieval life, including several of hunting and hawking.

Look at the entire Codex Manesse online facsimile


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than joining his half-brother’s company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland. A knight and a champion at the joust, he expected to inherit a holding—until the man he has known as his father revealed a terrible truth and disavowed him. Left with nothing, Amaury rides to Kilderrick, where he loses his heart to a beautiful noblewoman in the forest. A practical man, he knows he has no right to court the lady, but when she is abducted, Amaury follows, determined to fulfill his knightly duty by aiding a damsel in distress.

Elizabeth d’Acron has been a pawn and a prize, pursued for her father’s wealthy holding, and wants only to be desired for herself. Seized again, she vows she will surrender to no man—even the handsome knight who comes to her rescue. And truly, there could be no one more vexing than this confident yet inscrutable man, so concerned with duty that he could be wrought of stone—but Elizabeth soon learns that she can trust Amaury to defend her at any cost. She does not expect the seductive fire awakened by his touch, much less his conquest of her wary heart—but has she fallen in love with a man whose affections are already claimed?

Snared between duty and passion, Amaury finds himself beguiled by the lady who challenges his every expectation, but knows he has little to offer her. But when Elizabeth is threatened by a former suitor who will not be refused, Amaury risks his all in her defense, hoping it will be enough. But can he intervene in time? And will love alone convince Elizabeth to place her hand in his for all time?


Pre-order the ebook for February 15 delivery:

Fourteenth Century Armor

Today’s research post is about 14th century armor. In 1300, armor was mostly chain mail: by 1400, it had evolved to be mostly plate armor. How and when various warriors changed the style of their armor would depend upon where they lived and how affluent they were. My Blood Brothers series is set in 1375 so the armor worn by the knights and mercenaries in the story will be mixed.

We can look at the tomb of the Black Prince, which was made ca. 1386 for an idea of what was typical in that era. Edward the Woodstock, or the Black Prince, was the heir to the throne as son of Edward III – he died slightly before his father, though, in 1375 and was never king. (Edward III died in 1376.) An effigy of the Black Prince was cast of him arrayed for war – which had been his own request – and it remains at Canterbury cathedral, along with his gauntlets, shield and jupon. He was considered to be an admirable knight and a flower of chivalry. Although the effigy was created about ten years after his death, it is a precise replica of his armor – to the point that recently, it’s been concluded that an armorer was part of the team who created the effigy. (Here’s an article at the Smithsonian’s site about that.)

Most of the images I found online were copyrighted, so I’ll point you to this article at Atlas Obscura which has some good pictures. Hurry back. 🙂

You can see that Edward is wearing a mail collar (called an aventail) to protect his neck and shoulders, and there’s a glimpse of his mail hauberk beneath his surcoat from the side view. There would be a padded aketon beneath it. He wears a basinet of plate armor – his helm would go over this – and his gloves are reinforced with plate metal that covers the hands and wrists. These are called hour-glass latten gauntlets. Then there are more metal pieces to protect the fingers. (In the actual gloves, you can see the leather base where it survives.) His surcoat is embroidered with his insignia, quartered with the fleur-de-lis of the French crown and the three lions rampant of the Plantagenets. He wears plate armor greaves on his legs, sabatons on his feet and defences on his arms – and he has a moustache. 🙂 So, his armor is mostly plate, worn over the chain mail hauberk and with the addition of a mail aventail. The surcoat, which in the previous century fell to the knees and was called a tabard, is also shorter, falling just to the hip, and more fitted.

There is a British artist named Graham Turner who has doen many illustrations for books about armor. That link takes you to the website for his gallery, but you can also search for images by his name. There are many which show all of the elements of clothing and armor for a specific era.

The Medieval Knight by Christopher Gavett

Here’s one of a Knight and equipment c. 1350 (this site licenses images to users but I’ll just point you to it). It’s included in a wonderful little book called The Medieval Knight by Christopher Gravett. (That’s an Amazon link.) The book has a lot of illustrations done by Graham Turner and they’re wonderful. You can see the developments in 40 years by comparing that image to this one, Knight and equipment c. 1390 – actually, the original prints of both of these images were available at the gallery and are still displayed on that site, along with Knight and equipment c. 1310. That page is right here. Click on the image to see it larger.

This knight (1390) wears a padded jupon over his armor with his insignia on it. You can see all the little ties and buckles which necessitated the services of a squire to fasten all around the back. The aketon and mail hauberk would still be worn underneath. The leg armor is now four pieces: the cuisse on the thigh, the poleyn over the knee, the greave on the shin and the sabaton on the foot. The belt with the scabbard for the sword and dagger is also worn much lower, around the hips. Around this time, armor starts to be modified for jousting, but we’ll talk about those developments next time.

My thinking that in the Silver Wolf’s company, only Amaury would have anything close to this full 1390 kit. He would keep it after leaving Château de Vries – of course! – but wouldn’t wear it all of the time. He’s trying to blend in with the company of mercenaries—at least until he escorts Elizabeth to her wedding and insists that they must “arrive in splendor” as a show of strength. As you might guess, Elizabeth will be a little dazzled by the man she’s previously seen as a huntsman when he appears in his full glory.

Next time, we’ll talk about Amaury’s (former) passion – jousting and tournaments.


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than being compelled to join a company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland, much less one led by his notorious half-brother. He chafes to return to his former life of privilege and knows a wealthy bride will allow him to regain his stolen legacy. Elizabeth is a prize unexpected—beautiful and an heiress—and when she is abducted by barbarians, Amaury’s path is clear. He may not be the sole contender for the lady’s hand, but he knows himself to be the best one—and he will use whatever means necessary to seal his triumphant claim.

All Elizabeth D’Acron desires is to wed for love, but her inheritance has made her both a pawn and a prize. Caught between warring chieftains, her defiance blossoms—she chooses instead to flee with Amaury and make a marriage of convenience, hoping her trust in the gallant knight is not misplaced. She does not expect the beguiling fire awakened by Amaury’s touch, much less his unexpected conquest of her heart, and she dares to hope that true love has found a way.

But Elizabeth’s legacy is not so readily claimed—when Amaury’s plan is revealed, she is shattered to learn that her chivalrous husband is no different from other men. Recognizing that the true prize is his lady wife, Amaury rejoins the company of mercenaries and leads the battl to ensure Elizabeth’s freedom, whatever the cost to himself. Can these two lovers overcome the wounds of the past to build a future together? Or will the secret behind Elizabeth’s inheritance destroy any such hope forever?

Coming in January 2022!


The Hunter & the Heiress will ba availble in wide distribution for one week after publication, then it will be exclusive to Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.


Pre-order available at some portals:


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, audio edition

The Hunter & the Heiress will also be available in an audio edition, narrated by Tim Campbell.

Beaupoint and Hadrian’s Wall

Once again, I’m sharing some of my medieval research with you for The Hunter & the Heiress. Last week, we talked about the Siege of Caerlaverock and insignia of medieval knights. This week, we’ll cross the Solway Firth to look at the history that inspired the fiction of Elizabeth’s home, the fictional Beaupoint.

One of the most remarkable resources surviving from 14th century England is called Gough’s Map. This map was completed around 1390 and is one of the earliest attempts to document the reality of the land, for navigation and travel. Previously, mapmakers were more interested in showing the relationship between territories and Jerusalem, or the evidence of the divine in the material world. (Check out my previous post Seven Medieval Maps. Gough’s Map is there, too.) Naturally, it has more detail further south and gets a big vague in Scotland, but it’s still a very useful resource. Here’s an image of the whole map from the Bodleian Library’s website:

Gough Map from the Bodleian Library

You’ll notice right away that the orientation isn’t what you might expect. North is to the left, and south to the right. The map is drawn upon two pieces of vellum, which are seamed in Scotland.

The map is owned and maintained by the Bodleian Library (you can see in the image above that it’s stretched out) but they’ve made a digital (and searchable) version available of the map online right here. What’s really cool about this map is that you can search by modern location name, and in the little box at the top right, you can select details to be highlighted. If you choose Settlements, for example, a number of yellow dots appear on the map. When you hover over one, a question mark appears – click it and you’ll get the information from the map about that location. This tells us what settlements were established in the 14th century, which is pretty cool.

If you start at that seam and look to the right, you’ll see an estuary that indents toward 2 o’clock. That’s the Firth of Clyde. Carry on to the right and opposite an island (just past the notch in the bottom edge of the map) is an estuary that goes straight up and forks like a tree. This is the Solway Firth. That big island is the Isle of Mann. I took a detail shot of this area, since it’s where we want to be.

detail image of the Gough Map from the Bodleian Library website

This is Solway Firth. You can see Hadrian’s Wall extending (east) toward 11 o’clock. Two rivers down from that, there’s a small red dot on the peninsula. This is Caerlaverock. Dumfries is the rectangle to the left of it. The church on the opposite side of the firth and slightly west (down) is Workington; at its 1 o’clock is Cockermouth. The big red church above them is Carlisle, and between Workington and Carlisle, there are four settlements marked: west to east (bottom to top) they are Holme Abbey, Kirkbride, Bowness and Burgh-by-Sands. Hermitage, the inspiration for Kilderrick, is also marked on the map – if you start up Hadrian’s wall, there’s a dark stain to the left between the sources of two rivers. The red mark for Hermitage is there. Just FYI, the two marks on the first peninsula on the left/north of the wall are unlabelled on the map. The right one must be Annan, the mote-and-bailey ca. 1160 which was abandoned by this time – because the route of the river changed – and the left one could be Lochmaben Castle, rebuilt by Edward I around 1300.

Hadrian’s Wall was in ruins in many sections by this time, not just having eroded by time and weather, but because stones were taken from it and reused. We know that the wall originally extended along the south side of Solway Firth, via Carlisle, continuing to Bowness, but the Gough Map shows it ending at the firth. This appears to be speculation about Scotland. 🙂

Here’s a screenshot of that section of Hadrian’s Wall, from the interactive map on the National Trails website, on the pages about the Hadrian’s Wall Trail. The trail is turquoise. (You can find that page, with a lot of great information about hiking the trail, right here.)

Hadrian's Wall path near Solway Firth

We can see the wall passing north of the original center of Carlisle, then continuing to Beaumont, Burgh-by-Sands, Drumburgh and finally Bowness on Solway. Across the firth is Annan. The marshes to the north and west of Burgh-by-Sands are shown here, as well—while rivers and their silt deposits change over time, the name of Burgh-by-Sands indicates that there was always a gathering of silt there. The marshes were there in the 14th century, too, because Edward I drowned in the Burgh Marshes in 1307 on his way to fight Robert the Bruce in Scotland. He laid in state in the church at Burgh-by-Sands and his momument is there. (It’s also marked on this map.) The town name also tells us that the church was fortified. There are some pictures of St. Michaels Church in Burgh-by-Sands on the Cumbria tourist site, right here.

But Beaumont is on this map, too, and this is one of our destinations today. On the Gough map, Beaumont would be between Carlisle and the first dot below it, Burgh-by-Sands. It’s not marked as a settlement, probably because it wasn’t one anymore by the 14th century. There had been a Norman motte-and-bailey keep built over a milestone lookout on Hadrian’s Wall, but in the 12th century, St. Mary’s church was built on the site instead. There are pictures of the church on that same Cumbria tourist site, right here, and you can see that it’s on a rise, which offers a view over the firth. The name itself means “beautiful hill” and the Hadrian’s Wall site makes note of the view to both the north and south.

Why was Beaumont changed from a keep to a church? I suspect the holding was simply too small to justify a keep of its own, particularly if the lord had larger holdings. Beaumont was historically held by the Brun family, who were lords of Bowness and also the patrons of St. Mary’s church. I found some geneology records which referred to a Richard le Brun (ca. 1300) holding Drumburgh, Bothel, Beaumont and Bowness. He was made a knight of the shire of Cumberland in 1307 and granted a license to crenulate Drumburgh in 1307. (Here’s an article about the pele tower in Drumburgh dating from 1307, which survives.) That would have been his main holding, then, if he wanted to fortify the structure. Throughout the 13th century, there are scattered earlier records of the family, listed as lord of Bothyl, bailiff of Egremont and steward of Coupland – another was sheriff of Carlisle. This was a powerful and affluent family, although in the fourteenth century, some of their holdings passed to the Dacre family. Drumburgh Castle was rebuilt (after disintegrating into partial ruin) before 1518 by Thomas Dacre.

The importance of Drumburgh lay in its location, near a popular ford over Solway Firth. These fords were called “waths” and were accessible at low tide. There were probably many waths, but this blogger has posted a map showing four: the Sulwath across the river Esk, the Peatwath across the river Eden, the Sandywath from Drumburgh to Dornock, and the Bownesswath, crossing firth from Bowness to Seafield. The waths were a way to get from England to Scotland without detection on the roads. (This explains why King Edward was in the marshes in the first place and why the Romans had so many lookouts on the south coast of the firth.)

Elizabeth’s fictional family holding in The Hunter & the Heiress is called Beaupoint and it was inspired both by Beaumont and Drumburgh. (So was her surname D’Acron.) Beaupoint is the site of a fictional and popular wath, defended on both sides – and her value as heiress of Beaupoint lies in the strategic importance of her family holding, as well as the wealth of her father’s treasury. It’s a keep rich in history, with Roman ruins underfoot. Her family has ties to the English crown, but also has historically switched sides for advantage. You can readily imagine how a woman raised in such privilege might not only insist upon having her own choice, but would be shocked by her situation when everything goes awry.


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than being compelled to join a company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland, much less one led by his notorious half-brother. He chafes to return to his former life of privilege and knows a wealthy bride will allow him to regain his stolen legacy. Elizabeth is a prize unexpected—beautiful and an heiress—and when she is abducted by barbarians, Amaury’s path is clear. He may not be the sole contender for the lady’s hand, but he knows himself to be the best one—and he will use whatever means necessary to seal his triumphant claim.

All Elizabeth D’Acron desires is to wed for love, but her inheritance has made her both a pawn and a prize. Caught between warring chieftains, her defiance blossoms—she chooses instead to flee with Amaury and make a marriage of convenience, hoping her trust in the gallant knight is not misplaced. She does not expect the beguiling fire awakened by Amaury’s touch, much less his unexpected conquest of her heart, and she dares to hope that true love has found a way.

But Elizabeth’s legacy is not so readily claimed—when Amaury’s plan is revealed, she is shattered to learn that her chivalrous husband is no different from other men. Recognizing that the true prize is his lady wife, Amaury rejoins the company of mercenaries and leads the battl to ensure Elizabeth’s freedom, whatever the cost to himself. Can these two lovers overcome the wounds of the past to build a future together? Or will the secret behind Elizabeth’s inheritance destroy any such hope forever?

Coming in January 2022!


The Hunter & the Heiress will ba availble in wide distribution for one week after publication, then it will be exclusive to Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.


Pre-order available at some portals:


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, audio edition

The Hunter & the Heiress will also be available in an audio edition, narrated by Tim Campbell.