His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage
Publication Date: September 28, 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
For bastard-born Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor d’Outremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.
Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.
Eleanor d’Outremer—Noor to family—lost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.
Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noor’s blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robert’s bed for years.
Robert’s new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.
Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?
Okay. Okay, okay, okay. I am just going to jump right in and get started, because OHMYHOLYMEDIEVALSTARS it’s Anna Belfrage, you guys!
I have read, to the best of my knowledge, every book that Anna Belfrage has written. (I have an entire bookshelf devoted to her novels, because I have so many of them and it’s glorious to behold.) I absolutely adored her series, “The Graham Saga.” I couldn’t get enough of “The King’s Greatest Enemy” series. I couldn’t put “The Wanderer” series down. But His Castilian Hawk might be her best work yet. (Which I can’t believe I am even saying, because I didn’t think she could top herself. But Y’all, I think she might just have.)
I love medieval stories from the very bottom of my book-nerd-heart. His Castilian Heart takes place in the time of Edward Longshanks, i.e. King Edward I of England. Robert FitzStephan is rewarded for his service to the king with land, property, and a wife. Marveling at his good fortune, he humbly accepts his prize, and quickly obeys his king’s order to marry the heiress of his newly acquired lands as soon as possible.
Eleanor “Noor” d’Outremer knows that she should be grateful to be under a new husband’s protection. But her fiery spirit balks at being under the thumb of anyone, let-alone a stranger. Especially one with secrets to hide and a devious mistress lurking in the shadows.
Okay, let me just come right out with this. Robert pissed me off. Like setting-my-book-down-just-to-glare-at-it-until-I-felt-better, pissed me off. He is ridiculously easy to love, mind you. You just want to gently shove Noor out of the way and take her place as Robert’s wife the majority of the time. But the way that he handles his long-time mistress…who I seriously want to throw something at…as he is navigating this new marriage of his drove me to eat way more cookies than I am comfortable divulging.
Noor, on the other hand, I flipping adored. She isn’t your typical, flawless, photo-shopped beauty. She is real! Finally! Thank you, Anna, you amazing woman, you. Noor has curves that border on plump, she isn’t the tallest woman around, and leans more to the quiet and shy side. But her spirit! When she witnesses an injustice being done or looked-over, when she feels that she herself is not being treated as she ought to be, she is not afraid to speak her mind; be it to her husband, his mistress, or even to the king. And I loved her fiercely for it.
With all of that said, I couldn’t even sit here and share with you how these characters made me feel, were the writing not superb. Ms. Belfrage is an exceptional author, with a staggering ability to tell a story and to flump the reader right into the middle of the happenings. (Sorry Y’all, but the author isn’t exactly gentle about pulling you into the story. Once you’ve opened that book, you’re there. Thus, you shall be flumped.) Besides the amazing interplay between Robert and Noor, and their complete inability to stay on the page, the story is so beautifully set in the time period of King Edward I that you forget your surroundings. Everything from the sights, the dress of the time, court life and daily living is between the first and last pages of this book, and I could. not. get. enough.
Bottom Line: Robin Hood and Maid Marian, who?
About the Author
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.
More recently, Anna has published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. While she loved stepping out of her comfort zone (and will likely do so again ) she is delighted to be back in medieval times in 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.
Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, October 24
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, October 26
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, October 27
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 28
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Friday, October 30
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Sunday, November 1
Interview at Reader_ceygo
Tuesday, November 3
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Wednesday, November 4
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Friday, November 6
Review at Passages to the Past
Monday, November 9
Excerpt at I’m Into Books
Tuesday, November 10
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 12
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Tuesday, November 17
Review at Books and Zebras
Wednesday, November 18
Review at Novels Alive
Thursday, November 19
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperback copies of His Castilian Hawk! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open internationally and ends on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.