Please join me in welcoming Rebecca Hazell to my blog today. I am thrilled to have been a part of every leg of her blog tour journey so far, posting reviews for the three books in her trilogy. Be sure to come back on the 25th for my review of CONSOLAMENTUM. Until then, enjoy this post by Rebecca Hazell!
LOVE AND FAITH
One of the ongoing themes in my historical trilogy, The Tiger and the Dove, is love and its relationship to faith. Its heroine, Sofia, has endured many trials of both in her journey from princess to slave to wealthy businesswoman and patron of those in need. Having encountered many variations on people’s faiths, she has been shaped into a unique person who transcends her times. Can she find both love and faith in a way that doesn’t put her at further risk from forces beyond her control?
Here is a very brief recap of novels one and two: in The Grip of God, Sofia, a young Rus’ princess, is captured and enslaved by a Mongol lord who falls in love with her, as does his mad brother. She only wants to break free. And she does: in Solomon’s Bride, she flees to what she thinks will be safety in Iran, straight into more Mongol occupation, plus religious strife, including raids and political assassination, by the original Assassins! She escapes and even finds love in a Crusader castle, only to lose her lover to King Louis IX and his ‘holy war’ to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem.
Most of the wars that raged during Sofia’s lifetime were not so much about faith but more about greed, while faith was used to justify them. God was seen to favor those who won. Only King Louis’ crusade was free from such motivations, but he was not prepared for its consequences. And meanwhile, back in France, he had allowed the establishment of what would become one of the most feared organizations in history: the Inquisition. It became the excuse for a virtual invasion by Normans, who destroyed a joyous, creative culture and brought death and fear in its place.
Here was one war that was based on both faith and greed, and the genocide inflicted on France during the early Inquisition still reverberates through time. In my third novel, Consolamentum, Sofia, having been forced by circumstances to continually move farther west, encounters this war first hand.
And she also encounters the first attempt at reforming the Catholic Church, which had become embroiled in war, greed, and indifference to the plight of the poor. Many people turned away from its precepts in looking to explain their painful lives. The result was a dualistic religion that pitted God against Satan, each equally strong, and both competing for human souls. God, and Jesus Christ, in this version of Christianity, tried to release souls from matter, while Satan sought to entrap them in it. It was a flawed view, and one that Sofia wants nothing to do with. But in an age when faith and politics are intertwined, she too will be affected.
And only love can save her.
About the book
In the finale of Sofia’s memoir, Consolamentum, both dramatic and poignant, her dreams of home are shattered when her own family betrays her. Raising her child on her own, mourning the loss of her beloved knight, and building a trading empire, she seeks safe haven for her child and herself. Her quest takes her from Antioch to Constantinople to Venice. A surprise reunion in Venice leads her to France where she runs afoul of the newly established Holy Inquisition, possibly the greatest challenge she has yet faced. Can a woman so marked by oppression, betrayal, and danger ever find her safe haven, much less genuine happiness?
The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order.
About the author
Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases. She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.
Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.