Guest Author & Giveaway: Amanda Forester featuring The Highlander's Heart

Friday, November 18

I occasionally play the lottery, I think it's my only hope of ever being rich. Not that that's really important to me...ya know, except for the practically unlimited book buying budget :)  That would be FANTASTIC!  And the need not to work, and possibly have more time to read the books purchased with the practically unlimited book buying budget.

While the idea of a lottery was not new to Medieval times, it wasn't quite as easy to play as it is today, so there weren't very many ways to gain wealth unexpectedly....except for maybe via ransom!  Historical Romance author Amanda Forester is my guest today to share a bit about her medieval Highland romance, The Highlander's Heart where ransoming plays a major role in the plot of her more ways than one.  Read and enjoy!

Ransom: How to Get Rich Quick in Medieval Europe

You have heard of Robert the Bruce – right?  He claimed the throne of Scotland and kicked some English butt at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.  But what happened after that glorious battle?  Did you know Robert had a son, David, who went on to rule Scotland for 42 years?  Never heard of him?  Most likely because he spent most of his days in English captivity, waiting to be ransomed.

Unlike battles today, the goal was often not to kill your enemy, it was to capture your opponent.  Knights and nobles caught alive could be ransomed for a nice sum.  A dead knight was worth nothing.  Thus, there was a strong incentive to capture your opponent alive.

However, in the massive battles, how could you tell who was who?  Here is where heraldry became important.  Knights decorated themselves and their shields in bright colors so as not to be missed.  These symbols were basically an announcement about their noble lineage, and an advertisement of their ransom potential.  A brightly colored shield said, "Hey, don't kill me, I'm worth money!"

Chivalry rules guided the conduct of how someone was ransomed and how the "host" was supposed to treat their captive.  Far from being locked in a dungeon, captured knights and nobles were treated as "guests".  Captives, on the other hand, were honor bound not to run off, and sometimes were even allowed to return home to collect the ransom amount.  However, they were expected to return if the ransom could not be raised.

In 1355, Scotland's King David had been held captive in England for ten years.  He was tiring of captivity and was willing to make a deal with the Scottish throne.  Nobles in Scotland, on the other hand, were ready to let England keep their long absent king, and clans jostled to claim power.  This is the setting for my latest release, The Highlander's Heart.  When Laird Campbell comes across Lady Isabelle, a lost English countess, he does the most natural thing and plans to ransom her back to her kin.  All does not go according to plan, however, as it seems nobody ever told Lady Isabelle that she wasn't supposed to run away!

In the end, Isabelle decides she'd rather stay with her hunky Highlander (who wouldn't?) and Campbell decides the girl is far more valuable than the ransom.  History did not give King David quite as happy an ending; he was eventually ransomed for 100,000 merks, but his ransom was never fully paid.

Lady Isabelle escapes her murderous English husband only to be abducted by a Highland warrior and held for ransom.  Her determination to break free from captivity is exceeded only by the passion growing between her and the Highland Laird.  David Campbell plans to hold Isabelle for ransom as an easy way to line his pockets and return her back where she belongs, but he is unprepared for a feisty English lass with a penchant for finding trouble.  Caught between rival clans bent on claiming the throne of Scotland, Campbell must choose a side, and a bride.  Standing on the brink of war, Isabelle may be his only hope to save his clan, and his heart.

Thanks Amanda for being my guest today, as well as all of the fun history info.  See, you can read romance and learn a few things at the same time :)  Who needs history books when you can read romance!  I'm looking forward to learning more (*wink wink*) in Amanda's next book True Highland Spirit due to be released in March 2012 (I think it's her best cover yet).

If you'd like to learn more about author Amanda Forester and the Medieval Scottish Romances that she writes you can find her at her website, her blog, on Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the release of The Highlander's Heart, Amanda's publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win:

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Tell me this...what bits of history have you learned from reading romance?  AND please leave some comment/question love for Amanda about her books, or the post. (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & Canadian addresses only.  No PO Boxes.
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on November 21st at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Carol L. November 18, 2011 at 3:40 AM  

Good morning ladies,
I have The Highlander's Heart on my TRL. Love Historical Scottish romance.
Through every Author's research for their books I have learned many historical facts. Mostly the history of Scotland's Kings and Lairds.Their battles and the outcomes. I've learned much about England's royalty and their families, social rules and absurd expectations regarding woman. :)I have actually learned more history reading romance then when I was in school.Thanks so much for this opportunity ladies.
GFC name is Lucky47
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

erin November 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM  

Thanks for the fun post and giveaway! This book looks awesome! Definitely going on my wishlist.

I'd have to say that I've read enough HR to learn a lot about GB/Ireland/Scotland history and customs. Royalty, clans, and the limitations of women... how they dressed, what they ate, how they fought... etc etc. I really love when an author incorporates real events and/or battles. You can definitely tell who's done their homework as these historical events really come alive.

Thanks again for the post and giveaway!

GFC: erin

cheryl c November 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM  

I have trouble resisting a Highlander book, and this story sounds especially intriguing.

I read a lot of historical romance. I have managed to learn quite a bit about customs, dress, food, daily living, important historical figures and events in varied settings and time periods. My favorites are Medieval England and Scotland, the old American West, and Regency England.
castings at mindspring dot com

Amanda Forester November 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM  

Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by today!

Carol - I have also learned more about history through reading and now through doing research for books than I ever did in school. And I'm finding it much more interesting!

Amanda Forester November 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

Erin - I also enjoy when a book really captures the essence of the history. That's one reason I love historical fiction!

Cheryl C - I can't resist a Highlander either!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa November 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

I've had this book on my wishlist since I first read the blurb.

GFC follower- Lisa Richards-
alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Laurie Ryan November 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM  

There was clearly a different set of rules back then, weren't there. Talk about civilized behavior! We could take a few lessons from that, I think.

The Highlander's Heart sounds great, Amanda. Congratulations on the new release. Now, where's my nook. I need to go order it. :)

Amanda Forester November 18, 2011 at 11:49 AM  

Lisa - I'm glad to have made your list!

Laurie - maybe they had the right idea! Of course it wouldn't do to be a serf back then. Thanks for the download!!

Na November 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM  

Amanda, your highlander story sounds exciting and romantic too. I have learned a lot about romances such as social customs and what a duke, earl, marquess, knight etc. does. They were quite involved in politics and marriages was like a contract. It wasn't easy to get out of them and then there's the whole issue of legitimate and non-legitimate heirs. History is always interesting to learn about.

+25 Purchased a book and email sent
GFC follower

CrystalGB November 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM  

The Highlander's Heart sounds great. Amazing cover.
I have learned from historical romance about historical events,social customs and rules, how they dressed,what they ate, and the disadvantages that women faced.
GFC follower

Amanda Forester November 18, 2011 at 3:40 PM  

Na - a good marriage was also a good way to increase your fortune. Marriages were like contracts and often done (at least for the nobility) to seal a negotiation. King David was married at the age of 4! His bride was an older woman at age 7!

Amanda Forester November 18, 2011 at 3:42 PM  

CrystalGB - Women were at a distinct disadvantage since much of the laws and customs favored the rights of men. There were some notable strong women though that emerged through history and they are some fascinating characters!

June M. November 18, 2011 at 4:04 PM  

I have learned a great deal about life in Scotland and England from reading historical romances, including what life was like (their food, clothing, customs, travel, housing, etc), history of battles and major historical figures (such as Robert the Bruce), and so forth. Historical Romances have interested me to where I have to learn more about different things, leading me to search out information.
This story sounds great. The heroine sounds like a fun character, and I can't resist a Highlander hero. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.
June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous,  November 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM  

I was a good student, but have certainly learned more about history reading historical fiction and romance. The social structure, the role of the knight, a lords duty to his people and king, the intrigues of court, the position of women and their options, the role of the church, the expectations of children depending on their birth order, marriage as a political and financial agreement even for minor aristocracy and business people, and the list goes on. Most of all, the names, places and dates learned in school acquire a face and "people" attached to the events. You get to see just what impact these action had on the lives of people.
I did not know the story of David Bruce. I did know about ransoming. I did an after school program on life in medieval times at the library where I worked. It lasted several months and we covered quite a bit. I taught them about heraldry and had them design their own shield following the rules. We compared their life with what it would be like if they were of noble birth or of the peasantry. We ended it with a knighting ceremony and a banquet - served on trenchers with goblets and eating knives. I fixed foods that would have been served (at least as closely as I could). Everyone seemed to get a lot out of it and enjoyed it.

Great covers for all three books. Medieval Highland stories were the first romances I ever read and they are still my favorite. Best of luck with the release of THE HIGHLANDER'S HEART and the future release of TRUE HIGHLAND SPIRIT.

GFC Follower, librarypat.

Tweeted the giveaway.!/pbbearclaw/status/137662525587206144

Shared on Facebook.

BLHmistress November 18, 2011 at 7:47 PM  

Hi Amanda my question is if you had the opportunity to go back in time would you and what era would you choose?

I, myself has learned a lot from reading Historicals- whether it be lately Highlanders or Native Americans and their cultures this is the many reasons why I love reading historicals. I love history any way so while I learn I am entertained as well with a good story.


chey November 18, 2011 at 8:09 PM  

I learned about some English, Irish, Scottish, US and European history reading romance.
I follow by gfc.

Booklover1335 November 18, 2011 at 8:18 PM  


I wish they would have that kind of event at my library! That sounds soo awesome. You really went all out. I'm incredibly impressed with your dedication and your creativity to do something like this for your patrons.

Lexi November 18, 2011 at 9:44 PM  

Huh, all this historical romance I have been reading and I still learn something new. =) I didn't know they held people for ransome so commonly, or that is was so civilized.
Usually the things I learn are about the type of dress, or social protocol, or that they would cover every mirror in the house after someone passed to make sure the spirit wouldn't get caught in them.
So much to love about historical romances! The plot line of your book sounds like a great adventure and maybe a little sweet too. Can't wait to read it!

GFC follower Lexi
eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

LilMissMolly November 18, 2011 at 10:06 PM  

I've learned a lot about the Highland way of life and the various battles and wars between the Clans themselves. I love reading about this stuff!

Amanda Forester November 18, 2011 at 11:49 PM  

June - I also enjoy learning some history as I fall in love with a great story!

Librarypat - I want to be a student in your class!! Sounds like great fun and that you really put in the extra effort to make history come alive!

Amanda Forester November 19, 2011 at 12:01 AM  

BLHmistess - I definitely would like to visit medieval Scotland or regency England. But then I'd like to come back home to my central heating and indoor plumbing!

Chey - reading historical fiction can really make history come alive and be much more memorable.

Amanda Forester November 19, 2011 at 12:24 AM  

Lexi - I really enjoy learning the different customs that make a point in history come alive. You are right there are many customs that were traditionally done around major times in life such as weddings or funerals.

LilMissMolly - the clans of medieval Scotland were definitely stronger than any centralized government, and they certainly did not always get along!

Maureen November 19, 2011 at 10:57 AM  

What an interesting post and I never knew how the ransom game worked. Since I had little interest in history through school I often find out different historical information from reading historical romances. My favorite is just getting an idea of how people lived their daily lives. The book looks pretty interesting with the ransom angle involved.
I follow on GFC
mce1011 AT aol DOT ocm

gamistress66 November 19, 2011 at 6:59 PM  

the book sounds like an interesting read (enjoy those english ladies messing w/ the highland laird's plans) :) enjoy reading historicals and picking up various tidbits about history (which I was never too good at in school) and life in earlier periods

gfc follower
gamistress66 (at) aol (dot) com

Ivy November 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM  

One of the numerous things I've learned (I'm still learning) was about the War of the Roses. It's not something we really heard much about in school but I received an in depth lesson from a romance novel. It was wonderful & interesting.

So, what happened to King David? Did he die in English captivity? Marry, have children? Now I have to go find out...

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