Ye Olde Love Story: 3 Reasons Medievals Never Go Out of Style + $30 Giveaway

Ye Olde Love Story:
3 Reasons Medievals Never Go Out of Style
by Laura Navarre

You’ve heard it before:  the lament by historical lovers that the medieval romance—those splendid tales of chivalry and knights in shining armor, tournaments and troubadours, blown trumpets and flying banners—in short, ye olde love story—is viewed in the twenty-first century as a bit passé.  Undoubtedly it’s getting harder to find those sparkling jewels and antique settings in the treasure trove of your local bookstore, unless you embark upon a quest for those gallant lays in the used book section.   But no matter what the luminaries of the literary world may say about the genre’s wane, lovers of medieval romance—from the Anglo Saxon epic to the Viking tale of vengeance, from the Court of Love in Aquitaine to England’s Wars of the Roses—will tell you these sweeping romantic adventures never truly go out of style.

Like many other lovers of romance, I’m obviously a devotee of the period.  My new release, a dark Crusader romance called The Devil’s Temptress about a disgraced Muslim knight and an ardent Christian at Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court, was pretty much my favorite to research and write.  And the reasons I loved doing it are the same reasons you, my good reader, love finding these medieval gems with their stern-faced knights and witch’s cap castles on your bookstore shelves:

  • The Romance of the Age:  The medieval period was the age of chivalry and the era of courtly love.  Castles and courtesy, kings and queens, lords and ladies, troubadours plucking sprightly lays while flocks of blackbirds exploded from pies the size of wagon wheels, applauded by pre-Raphaelite beauties with trailing sleeves and flowing hair, and of course those soulful knights clanking with swords and armor as they bestrode the great hall (more on them later) make the medieval world an enchanted realm where we love to escape.  Not only do we revel in the sweeping battles, the color and pageantry of the joust and the jester—the sense of escape and adventure you find in the medieval world makes the perfect setting for a passionate romance.
  • The Knight in Shining Armor, and Other Alpha Heroes:  No doubt about it, the medieval period was made for the alpha male.  The arranged marriage, the kidnapped bride, the king whose word was law in his demesne, the jousts and duels for a lady’s honor (her ribbon or handkerchief bravely fluttering from the hero’s lance)…never did man rule the roost (or fancy he did) with quite the same boldness and panache.  Although the real-life challenges of the medieval era may have been difficult for many modern women, in the world of romance the lamb lies down with the lion and beauty always tames the beast.   Thus, every medieval romance ends with that fierce killing machine, the medieval knight, gentled by love—on his knees at the heroine’s feet.
  • The Virgin or Awakened Heroine:  As a romance author, I must say the heroine who first awakens to passion in the hero’s arms can be one of the most enjoyable to write.  Whether she’s a wide-eyed virgin, a convent rebel or the wealthy widow of a man who failed to move her, a medieval lady was unlikely to come to her bridal bed equipped with the formidable sexual acumen of the modern bride.  After all, there was no helpful Cosmo magazine in medieval times that described 40 ways to drive your lover wild and ensure the best orgasms of your life in the process!  The Knight in Shining Armor (see above) is usually either the heroine’s only lover, or the only lover who’s ever mattered.  We savor the potent chemistry of the spirited heroine’s hidden vulnerability, the hero’s cocky king-of-the-mountain swagger, and the way the innocent heroine inevitably makes her self-assured hero trip over his own feet.

Given all the above, I think it’s safe to say many of us romance readers will always have the longing to immerse ourselves in the sweeping and sensual adventure of a good medieval romance.  And the good news is this:  as long as we keep reading them, loving them, talking and dreaming about them, the lovely book-people at Dorchester are going to keep making more of them. 🙂

Giveaway:  To win a copy of the beautiful trade edition of The Devil’s Temptress plus an assortment of Dorchester historicals worth over $30, leave a comment in the discussion thread  below. Laura wants to know: If you were suddenly transported back through time to medieval Europe, what would be the best and/or worst part of your new life? 

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47 Responses to Ye Olde Love Story: 3 Reasons Medievals Never Go Out of Style + $30 Giveaway

  1. Lad Castle says:

    You’ve come a long way Baby!

    I believe novel romance was very exclusive—available only to a few ladies of some station. Chivalry was better measured by the non abuse of women. Weighing yesteryear’s woman with today’s self reliant (I’ll get my own lover) heroine—I cannot imagine a modern day female wanting to go back in reality. Either place is ok with me, “except for the heavy armor”—but then I am a man…

  2. Jan Mardis says:

    I would think it would be the modern things we depend on such as health care, washers, dryers and all that stuff. And I know I wouldn’t have liked to be the one to ever cook back then.

  3. For me, the best part of my new life would be those gorgeous medieval gowns! And the tourneys. And, seriously, the sense of community and security one must have felt (during times of peace) in the great hall by firelight or the village square on a festival day. That’s one thing I think we’ve really lost in modern times.

    Of course, what I’d miss the most would be my wonderful fiance! He probably wouldn’t be a medieval knight–he’d be more like the village scribe or the minister (but in a sexy way).

  4. Georgie Lee says:

    The worst part of being transported back in time would be the lack of medicine. Imagine not even having simple pain relievers to take away headaches. The best part would be seeing history come alive and to witness what life was really like back then.

  5. Lovely explanation for why medieval romances remain popular, Laura. I couldn’t agree more.

    The best part of going back in time to the medieval period would be discovering if day-to-day life actually looked, smelled and sounded as I envision it. To stand in a place with no modern noises, sounds or artificial “improvements” would also be fascinating. The worst part would be surviving without said “improvements!”

  6. Larena Wirum says:

    the best all the wonderful history the worst? no bathrooms as we know them today. LOL and no readers

  7. Jane Squires says:

    I love historical romances and those set in this time period hold one on their seat. Please enter me to win.

  8. DarcyJ says:

    I’ve got to say I totally agree with all these comments! How exciting and facinating it would be. Life was simpler then when you think about it…. but with all our technology now (it’s not as simple as we like to think), it would be hard to live without it!

  9. Jerry Lentz says:

    I would like to imagine all the women I could have using the skills I’ve learned in reading medieval romance stories, my poetry, though ripped off by poets yet to be born mixed with my masculinity through modern day P90X and kickboxing techniques, plus the seemingly heretic magic of Mathematics and Science I learned in public school.

    The bad of course would be the lack of bookstores, libraries, Internet, microwave, penicillin, bandaids, contraception, toilet paper, and the most painfully horrible things would be no Dorchester and no Laura Navarre.

  10. Cheri O says:

    I would definitely miss my ereader and modern amenities, but, oh those wonderful nights!!!

  11. Maureen says:

    The best part would be to see what life was like during that time and to live a simpler life. The worst would be the loss of running water.

  12. Patsy Hagen says:

    For me, the worst part would be the lack of a bathroom, with running water, the lack of bathing regularly(they must have really smelled!), and the lack of modern medical care. The best would be the gown and the well-toned men.

  13. JR says:

    In my dream—The King had me abducted from my small village. Word was that I was the last virgin. Along came this silver plated knight and rescued me. I poisoned him by putting Hemlock in his grog and scurried back to the King. It wasn’t for the gold, and the dresses, or the jewels. It was to protect my virginity in his mind.

  14. Linda Cacaci says:

    The best part of being transported would be the beautiful gowns that I would wear. Clothes fit for a queen, but then again, i would be the Queen!
    Linda Cacaci
    LinCaca3@aol.com

  15. Kim says:

    The best part would be the possibility of meeting Leonardo Davinci or Rembrandt. The worst part would be no running water and no bathroom facilities.

  16. Joan Osborne says:

    The best part would be seeing historical events take place as they happened but I think the worst part would be not having the freedoms as a woman that I enjoy today. It was a man’s world back then and a woman was very much under the control of men whether it was her father, brother, Uncle, a guardian, the King or her husband. Women were sold into marriage for their fortunes and alliances or just to unite powerful families. I wouldn’t like being forced into a marriage I didn’t want.

  17. tarenn98 says:

    WOW,what a great question. The best part would be the historical value. The worst part would be the value of women during that time,(of little or not much value).Women forced into marriage if they where from families of power,if not could be done with what the man wanted.,

  18. The best part would be to actually see the many historical sites. They would be a lot less worn. The bad part would that things would not be as clean as they look in a romance novel.

  19. ohhh I love this question!

    If I was transported to medieval Europe, my favorite thing would be to see the world before we ripped it up and ‘modernized’ it. Plus, it would be great to see history unfolding.

    The worst part of your new life? Showers and hygiene! I am a shower/cleaniless freak!

  20. Peggy Brewer says:

    It would be the lack of the basic things in life. But to be able to see a country before modern day society, that would be truly inspiring.
    Not knowing the exact language you would need to speak or being able to understand a word someone was saying to you. In ways it would be a simpler time, no smog, no traffic noise, no loud tv’s or radios. No rushing from here to there trying to get everything done in this busy world.

  21. Juanita Stender says:

    The beauty of the unspoiled land would be a sight to behold. The lack of medicine where diseases spread like wildfire and killed hundreds at very young ages would be horrible to experience.

  22. Debby says:

    The beauty of the land and the castles. i would love to see how a working castle was run. I would miss sanitation and modern plumbing. I like my shower and flush toilet and tooth brush

  23. Sharon Riley says:

    There would be a lot of problems with traveling back in time. The formost would be worring about getting back home. Women were not given a lot of respect. Someone would probably abuse you before you could say Hi i’m a stranger in this land. Hopefully you would land in a nice warm area. I’m sure the country would be beautiful and unspoiled by the electric and telephone lines. There were a lot of brutal people in those times.

  24. Estella says:

    The worst thing would be the lack of sanitary facilities.

    I love medieval romances!

  25. Yvonne B. says:

    Hmmm……all inherent difficulties asides (medicine, facilities, etc.) best part for me would be lack of modern “noise”, worst part, inherent lack of books – especially for voracious reader such as myself.

  26. Tracey D says:

    The lack of warmth I’ve always heard castles were cold and drafty; I need heat! But on the other hand, if I had a hunky knight with plenty of coverrings, I would be more than happy to stay in bed during the winter months!

  27. Virginia C says:

    As a young reader, medieval romances were among my most frequent reads. I was fascinated with all things Arthurian. What an unbelievably tumultuous and mystically romantic era! I would be swept away by the grandeur of the surroundings of the wealthy, just as I would be horrified by the living conditions of the indentured poor. Superstition, religious fervor, devastating disease, and amazing works of art and literature, along with the rich garments and tapestries, all combined for the medieval mix. To the victor went the spoils, and only the strongest survived! Emotions and passions were deeply felt as life could come and go so quickly! More than once, a skilled author has drawn me directly into the battlefield, sensing the bloodrush of the combatants, hearing the clash of metal against metal, and feeling the mighty blows of the powerful warrior strikes. Exhilarating! Then there is the romanticism of the knight and his lady, one of the most evocative of all literary images. Sigh! Rutger Hauer at his most “Rutgerish” in “Ladyhawke”! Double sigh!!

    • It’s funny you mention Rutger Hauer from Ladyhawke! One of my FAVORITE movies. Of course, his hero WAS named Etienne of Navarre… Coincidence?

    • Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

      Congratulations Virginia C! You’ve been randomly selected as the winner of the giveaway. Email me your shipping address at contests@dorchesterpub.com and I’ll get your prize in the mail.

      Thanks for being a voice on the blog!
      Best,
      Allison Carroll
      Editorial and Web Coordinator
      Dorchester Publishing

      • Virginia C says:

        Wow–oh, boy! Thanks so very much! A great blog post & great giveaway : ) Just so I can say this one more time: Here’s to Rutger Hauer at his most “Rutgerish” ; )

  28. Carol L. says:

    I think the best part would be to realize how much we take for granted because it’s what we’re used to. The worse part would be lack of antibiotics and pain relievers. But I agree the dresses would be awesome. And those Alpha male Knights…
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  29. Rebekah E. says:

    I think the best part would be in a time that everyone is so in love with and see what it is really like. The bad part would be not knowing how to exactly how to live in this new world. I would probably be branded a witch for being different.

  30. Lack of hygiene like we are use to – I don’t even like camping and using a port-a-potty so I know I wouldn’t be crazy about this aspect. Otherwise I would love the fashions.

  31. connie rowand says:

    i think the best part would be the chilvery and the romance,to have a night in shining armor sweep you off your feet is every girls dream, but the part i wouldnt like would be the primitive lifestyle cooking on an open fireplace i would probably burn everything i tried to cook, the cloths would be nice to but might be a bit hot without airconditioning

  32. I agree that medievals will never go out of style There have been several series that I’ve read and kept to read again.I know it takes a lot of research to write them accurately which adds to their enjoyment.

    Betty

  33. The best would be clean air, water & food. Less dense populations. The drawback would lack of hygiene, superstition, medicine. The pre-penicillin days were a horror!

  34. julie says:

    the best part would be going back in time to see the world were they really had to fight , live and love. and to be apart of it. and the worst part is comeing back.

  35. I think the best part would be experiencing chivalry and honor without a doubt however, I would miss running water, modern medicine, transportation and clothing. I think we take for granted being able to travel 100 miles in a little over 3 hours, when that distance once took over a week!

  36. As much as I love medieval romances, I wouldn’t want to live in that time. I’m spoiled by modern conveniences and comforts. I would probably like the clothes the best, and hate the clothes the most. There were gorgeous fashions back then, but getting in and out of clothing seems a lot of work. I also wouldn’t like to cook or clean, since I already hate doing those chores. (No offense to those who enjoy cooking…and I don’t know anyone who truly enjoys cleaning.) And considering horses and carriages, I don’t think I’d like the smell in those medieval towns. (I love horses, just not horses’ poop!)

  37. Sherri Riegel says:

    Best part would be a simpler time with music and great gowns and not so much pollution in the air. Worse part would be, as a minor germ-a-phobe, lack of running water and sanitation!

  38. Susan Serefine says:

    The things I would like the most is the gentlemen treated lasies, like standing up when women entered a room and not sitting down until the ladies did. The whole courtship was usually one of respect. Not like today when you go out to dinner with someone and they think you have to hop in bed with them on the first date. The thing I would hate the most is chamber pots! I like my modern plumbing.

  39. lori b says:

    If I were transported back, the best thing would be the simplicity of a life that didn’t have all the modern conveniences of today. The kids were better and helped out and just the times were better than they are today.

  40. Dorotha Holloway says:

    never never go out of style, knights, damsels, castles, too romantic,

  41. Virginia C says:

    Wow! “The Devil’s Temptress” is a fantastic read!!!

    “The Devil’s Temptress”, by Laura Navarre, is a superbly told tale of medieval political intrigue and the two passionate lovers caught in the court’s spidery web. Alienore of Lyonstone is the personal scribe and favored lady-in-waiting of Eleanor of Aquitane, the displaced wife of Henry Plantagenet, King of England. Secretly trained in the skills of a knight of battle, Alienore takes up the cause of women she believes to have been wronged. She meets her match on the battlefield in the form of a mysterious dark knight known as the “Raven”. Scarred inside and out, the Raven uses his position as master-at-arms to cloak his hidden agendas. Is the black knight honorable, or is he the Devil in human form? Should Alienore give in to the powerful longings created by the Raven’s tough and tender manner? Will he give his heart, something he has vowed never to do again? Ms. Navarre spins this enthralling romantic tale with great skill and historical detail. “The Devil’s Temptress” is a very involving adventure which is also richly characterized. Highly recommended!

  42. I read this piece of writing fully concerning the difference of newest and
    previous technologies, it’s remarkable article.

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