Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Dragon and the Jewel

This week, we have a guest on Romancing History. Brittiany Koren is sharing with us a favorite couple from a historical romance novel.  Since this week is Thanksgiving, it's only right that we give thanks for all the things in life that we love, including great books!  Who doesn't have a certain book that is their all time favorite, one they can read again and again? I do, and I'm sure you do, too.  

Introducing Brittiany:

Brittiany Koren has been a reader of historical fiction since her early teens. In 1997, she got her first job in publishing working for legendary anthologist and book packager, Martin H. Greenberg, and later collaborated with him on several anthologies. She is married to her own real-life hero, and they have three children. She is the proud owner of Written Dreams Editorial Services, where she edits fiction of all genres and non-fiction. Brittiany’s personal goal is to help as many writers as she possibly can write the story they long to share with their readers. She lives in Green Bay, WI.

Visit her website at:

Take it away, Brittiany!

Eleanor and Simon

The Dragon and the Jewel by Virginia Henley is one of my favorite books of all time. When I first read this novel in the 1990s, I was still in high school. I’ve read it several times since then, and it still intrigues me which is amazing even to me, because as an editor, I’m pretty darn picky in what I read in my spare time.
I stumbled upon this novel the old-fashioned way, in a book store. I became so entranced with Henley’s details of the medieval period and the historical characters of Simon DeMontfort, Earl of Leicester and Princess Eleanor Plantagenet, I went on to find more non-fiction books about the real people of the story. It didn’t matter what it was, or how long it was. I was obsessed with their love story and the characters of the novel I had grown to love. And being obsessed when you’re a teenager doesn’t take much. J
               What intrigued me the most about Simon and Eleanor’s story was that they never gave up, no matter what the obstacle was. In the novel, Simon, comes to England penniless. The King’s sister, Eleanor, has been recently made a widow, and Simon falls hard for her. Simon is the ultimate medieval hero. He commands men and women alike. He’s intelligent on the battlefield, and in bed. At one point in his life, he takes over the throne. He’s a force to be reckoned with.
               Eleanor is a breathtakingly beautiful woman, and she plays Simon for what he is: a powerful man. But there’s also a softer side to Eleanor and the time period shown to the reader. She tallies books, handles the running of the keep while Simon plays soldier, and plays the perfect hostess. She’s confident, courageous, and warm. A woman every man wants to be with, and every woman wants to be. Their love story, the way it is depicted in Henley’s novel, is fierce. The details in the novel bring this time period to life in such a fascinating way, it feels as if you’re really there. Henley takes a careful hand in adding in depth to the major and minor characters, making them live and breathe.
               After I read this novel, I was hooked on Henley’s writing. I became a collector of her books. Every time Virginia wrote a new story, I had to have it. Another favorite is The Hawk and the Dove, and I named my daughter after a character in that novel, but that’s another story. J
               Every time I read another one of Henley’s novels, I was happy. Just thinking about reading one of her books now gives me a feeling of contentment, sitting on the sofa all cozy in a blanket, wrapped in the story of a great romance. Her characters gave me something to think about, inspired me to change my own life, and be the person I am today. I became a huge fan of the historical romance because of this novel, and it’s still my favorite genres to both read and edit today. Reading the The Dragon and Jewel has truly affected my life in a positive way. I encourage you to read it, and learn all about Simon and Eleanor and their adventures.

Lily's thoughts:
Thanks Brittiany, for joining us and sharing your favorite couple in historical romance. I really want to read this story now and discover a new author who has been around a long time. Virginia Henley has many books published. Here is a list of some of her historical romances available. This is not a complete list, but just the titles are so tantalizing I'm sure if you're like me you'll be wanting to check out this awesome historical romance author: 

The Raven and the Rose,
A Year and a Day
Bold Conquest 
The Hawk and the Dove
The Falcon and the Flower
The Dark Earl
Master of Paradise 

Here is a link to Amazon's Virginia Henley Page
Start here if you're looking for a great romantic read, or check out your local library.


Brittiany Koren said...

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Lily! Writing the article brought back all the great memories I have of reading when I was a teen, and why I decided to pursue my dreams of having a career in publishing. Thank you for reminding me of that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Nice post, ladies! I can tell you really enjoyed your walk down memory lane, Brittiany. :)

I don't have a book couple like this, but movie couples abound for me. While You were Sleeping's Jack and Lucy are the first to come to mind. I may have to watch that movie again soon. :) (And The Cutting Edge's Doug and Kate, too.)

christina tetreault said...

Hi Brittany

Thanks for sharing. One of my all time favs is Ransom by Julie Garwood, it is a Scottish historical in case you are not familiar with it. I have read it so many times the pages are warped and the cover is bent. I also adore The Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey it was the first romance I ever read when I was in college. That book to has seen better days. :)

christina tetreault said...

I love the Cutting Edge too. I uesed to own it on VHS

Brittiany Koren said...

Thanks for the comment, Stacey. I did, very much so. There's so many books that have so many memories for me. Movies are great, too. Our family tradition is to watch Gone With the Wind every Thanksgiving weekend--so you know what I'll be doing this weekend! :)

Thanks for the comment, Christina. I have read Julie Garwood, but not that particular book. Thanks for sharing. Johanna is another go-to girl for me. I love the Malory novels. What a great book to start reading romance on! My oldest daughter is now old enough I can share some of these books with her, too. Love it!:)

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