Shannon here: Port Yonder Press author, Janalyn Voigt shares a romantic destination and a real life romance she stumbled upon while researching her novel, The Dawnsinger. The book releases in Fall 2011, so you won’t get your copy until then. Comment on any post dated Jan 3 – 7. Deadline: Jan 8, midnight Central time. Here’s Janalyn:
Eleanor and Edward, a Love Story that Transcended Death
I’ve fallen in love with Welsh Castles. I know this even though I’ve visited them only virtually while researching my debut novel, DawnSinger. A work of romantic epic fantasy would not seem to require much research, but I base its world on 13th-Century Europe.
I drew one of the locations within DawnSinger from Castle Conwy (Conway), which guards the mouth of the River Gyffin in Wales. My first glimpse of this monolithe stunned me. In the picture it didn’t look real, towering above the miniscule cars parked beside it. I pored over images and tourist videos alike, utterly smitten. Here’s the picture that hooked me:
Castle Conwy © Cadw. Crown Copyright
English King Edward I had the castle built between 1283-87 by James of St. George. Its masterful design makes the construction of Castle Conwy one of the highest achievements of medieval military architecture. The period in which King Edward I erected a string of Welch castles, Conwy among them, was brutal.
Contrasted against the cruelty of the age in which they lived, the love story of King Edward I and his child bride, Eleanor of Castile, blossomed like a tender rose among thorns. Theirs was a marriage of political convenience, made when Edward was 15 and Eleanor somewhere between 9 and 13 years old (her birth date remains uncertain). Although they married early, they lived apart and did not consummate the marriage until Eleanor was probably in her late teens. In the years that followed, their marriage of convenience grew into a union of love marked by fidelity.
Edward was one of the few kings of his time who did not take a mistress. He and Eleanor were inseparable. She even gave birth (to Joanna of Acre — named for the place of her birth) in a tent while accompanying her husband to the Holy Land during the Eighth Crusade. Altogether, the couple had 15 or 16 children, many who did not survive childhood.
Eleanor and Edward were crowned King and Queen of England in August 1274, following the death of Henry III. Eleanor would live just 15 more years. While traveling to join her husband in the city of Lincoln in late fall of 1290, she grew ill, probably with quartan fever. She had to halt her journey just 10 miles from her destination. She died with Edward at her bedside.
Edward accompanied his wife’s body to its burial in Westminster Abbey. At each place where her remains rested along the way, he erected “Eleanor Crosses,” elaborate stone monuments in her memory. In all, 12 crosses stood at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddingston, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham, Westcheap and Charing. Today only three Eleanor Crosses survive. All have lost the tall crosses they bore, but the lower stages remain. The best of the three (and the only one still in its original location) is at Geddington.
Many years after Eleanor’s death, Edward spoke of her as she “whom living we dearly cherished, and whom dead we cannot cease to love.” Although he eventually remarried, he continued to honor Eleanor’s memory until his own death in 1307.
©2010 Janalyn Voigt
The Geddington Cross
About Janalyn: Janalyn Voigt writes novel books. DawnSinger, her debut novel, a work of epic romantic fantasy, releases in Fall 2011. Janalyn has published articles with Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. She is a member of ACFW & NCWA. Find her at: Website: Janalyn Voigt, Twitter: @janalynvoigt, Facebook: Janalyn Voigt, Tales of Faeraven
DawnSinger, a fantasy by Janalyn Voigt. Deception awaits Nalyn when she journeys to Torindan Hold with Spreil, Guardian of the Lof Staep, at the High Queen’s summons. Can she uncover the truth, complete an impossible task and overcome her own wayward heart in time to release the DawnKing, and salvation, into a divided land? Debut author Janalyn Voigt’s fantasy is set for a 2011 release.