Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Wouldn’t it be great if I had an Irish book to talk about? Well, as you can probably guess, THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD is set in Scotland. So today I thought I’d chat about a common ancestor to both Scotland and Ireland: the Celts.
The Celts is a term rather loosely used to describe some of the early peoples of Europe and the British Isles. Currently, the six Celtic nations are considered to be Scotland, Brittany, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. The Celtic culture is an ancient one and shrouded in mystery. The Celts were known as warrior adventurers, conquering and spreading through Europe and particularly into the British Isles. Woman may also have been warriors and leaders of their clans. Another important role in Celtic society was the members of the priestly and intellectual class called the druids. Celtic religion was polytheistic and their deities were often associated with natural features, such as rivers.
After the conversion of the Celts to Christianity in 5th century Ireland, thanks to our celebrated St. Patrick, the Celts showed a strong interest in intellectual pursuits, particularly in Irish monasteries. One of the best examples of Celtic intellectualism and art is the Book of Kells, which is an illuminated manuscript in Latin of the four Gospels of the Bible, created by Celtic monks. This brilliantly illustrated work reveals intricate pictures combining Christian iconography and Celtic symbols, such as Celtic knots. The roots of earlier Celtic religion can be seen in the focus Celtic spirituality on the omnipresence of the divine all around us. The interest in adventure can also be seen in the frequent pilgrimages of the medieval Celtic monks, sometimes even getting into a boat without sail or oars and going wherever God led them!
In my debut novel, the hero and heroine reveal some of the characteristics now attributed to Celtic culture. MacLaren is the warrior adventurer. He seeks adventure in France fighting against the English and returns to Scotland a decorated knight, but also rocked by betrayal. In Lady Aila, we see the focus on intellectual pursuits. She has been groomed her whole life for entrance into the Convent. Since the cloisters were often the keepers of language and literature at this time, she has extensively studied Latin, French, and other languages. However, fate intervenes with the battle of Neville’s Cross, killing Aila’s brother and most of her kin, and leaving Aila an heiress. Her life is forever changed when instead of the convent, her father gives her in marriage to MacLaren, the Highland warrior. The road to romance is not a smooth one for Aila and MacLaren, but in the end love prevails!
I completely enjoyed writing The Highlander’s Sword, particularly learning more about the history of Scotland and the Celts. I can think of nothing more romantic than the image of a Highland warrior clad in a kilt. What is your ideal image of the romantic hero or heroine? Can you detect any Celtic influences?
A quiet, flame-haired beauty with secrets of her own…
Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent, until her brother’s death leaves her an heiress. Soon she is caught between hastily arranged marriage with a Highland warrior, the Abbot’s insistence that she take her vows, the Scottish Laird who kidnaps her, and the traitor from within who betrays them all.
She’s nothing he expected and everything he really needs…
Padyn MacLaren, a battled-hardened knight, returns home to the Highlands after years of fighting the English in France. MacLaren bears the physical scars of battle, but it is the deeper wounds of betrayal that have rocked his faith. Arriving with only a band of war-weary knights, MacLaren finds his land pillaged and his clan scattered. Determined to restore his clan, he sees Aila’s fortune as the answer to his problems…but maybe it’s the woman herself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was way more fun. She lives in the Pacific Northwest outside Tacoma, Washington with her husband, two energetic children, and one lazy dog. Please click here to visit her website.