Take six romantic adventures back in time to the Middle Ages along with five authors including Tracie Peterson, who tell the stories of couples challenged by the injustices of their times. Some couples are pulled apart by wars and feuds, while others have their futures determined by their oppressors. Can a faith be found to keep hope alive and give joy in all circumstances?
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||7.90(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Tracie Peterson, bestselling, award-winning author of over ninety fiction titles and three non-fiction books, lives and writes in Belgrade, Montana. As a Christian, wife, mother, writer, editor and speaker (in that order), Tracie finds her slate quite full.
Published in magazines and Sunday school take home papers, as well as a columnist for a Christian newspaper, Tracie now focuses her attention on novels. After signing her first contract with Barbour Publishing in 1992, her novel, A Place To Belong, appeared in 1993 and the rest is history. She has over twenty-six titles with Heartsong Presents’ book club (many of which have been repackaged) and stories in six separate anthologies from Barbour. From Bethany House Publishing, Tracie has multiple historical three-book series as well as many stand-alone contemporary women’s fiction stories and two non-fiction titles. Other titles include two historical series co-written with Judith Pella, one historical series co-written with James Scott Bell, and multiple historical series co-written with Judith Miller.
DIANNE CHRISTNER lives in New River, Arizona, where life sizzles in the summer when temperatures soar above 100 degrees as she writes from her air-conditioned home office. She enjoys the desert life, where her home is nestled in the mountains and she can watch quail and the occasional deer, bobcat, or roadrunner. Dianne was raised Mennonite and works hard to bring authenticity to Mennonite fiction. She now worships at a community church. She’s written over a dozen novels, most of which are historical fiction. She gets caught up in research having to set her alarm to remember to switch the laundry or start dinner. But her husband of forty-plus years is a good sport. They have two married children, Mike and Rachel, and five grandchildren, Makaila, Elijah, Vanson, Ethan, and Chloe. She welcomes you to visit her website at http://www.diannechristner.net
Pamela Griffin lives in Texas with her family. Her main goal in writing is to help and encourage those who know the Lord and plant a seed of hope in those who don’t, through entertaining stories. She has over fifty titles published to date, in both novels and novellas, and loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her at email@example.com
Yvonne is an award-winning, best-selling author of 56 novels, founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, and is now director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat (htp://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/novelist). She has joined Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas as Acquisitions and Managing Editor of Candlelight Romance and Guiding Light Women’s Fiction. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Recent releases are a novella in Reluctant Brides and Name that Tune in A Gentleman’s Kiss (Barbour). Her 50th novel is Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC (Abingdon), which she signs periodically at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge TN. Her non-fiction compilations (Grace Publishing) are Divine Moments and Christmas Moments (2014), Spoken Moments, Childhood Moments, and Christmas Moments Book #2 (2015). She blogs at www.christiansread.com and Novel Rocket Blog.
Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and full length historical Until That Distant Day. She lives with her husband in the beautiful North woods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys spoiling her three cats, teaching high school literature classes, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel. .
Read an Excerpt
The Knight's Bride
Chivalry Lives in Six Stories from the Middle Ages
By Tracie Peterson, Dianne Christner, Pamela Griffin, Yvonne Lehman, Jill Stengl
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Pamela Griffin
All rights reserved.
Dinkelsbühl, Germany, 1632
The hinges on the large, plank door creaked as Graf Christian von Engel peered into the armory. An elbow-cop, hung in an amusing manner, hailed him. Inside, the tang of metal and smoke instantly filled his nostrils. The unattended shop contained many things to interest a man, even if the idea of going to war did not.
He caressed the smooth surface of a breastplate, then stepped up to examine an odd-shaped helm. An army wearing such a headpiece would frighten the enemy to death. He turned it this way and that, then slipped it over his head.
The rusty visor snapped closed. Christian gave it a jerk. Stuck tight. Sucking in a breath of hot, moist air, he fumbled with the lock, but the visor would not budge. He tried to shove off the infuriating chunk of metal. The helm clamped itself around his throat. In his shuffling about, his feet bumped something, and he nearly lost his balance.
"Be still. You'll hurt yourself."
Every muscle in his body tensed at the soft musical voice. Hot coals of embarrassment burned the pit of his stomach.
"Stand still, now. Let me help," the female voice insisted.
"I need no help." The helm's ventail, with only narrow slits for breathing, muffled his words. He felt a light touch on his shoulder and stilled. The working of the visor's spring pin pressed the helm against his cheek.
"There. Now it should open."
Christian jerked the visor. Fresh air cooled the top segment of his face. A pair of soft blue eyes gazed up at him. Surrounding her face was hair the color of golden grain. The eyes twinkled, and the woman's lips curved. She averted her gaze to the arming-nail, glancing up at him once or twice while she unfastened a clasp by his neck. Christian did not stir.
"You may remove it now," she said and stepped back.
Slowly, he lifted. It slipped off.
"The helm is a relic." She cocked her head and studied him. "Perhaps you should consider keeping a squire."
"The land is too dangerous for a squire's travel," Christian grumbled as he replaced the helm in its proper place.
"Ja, it is that," a deep masculine voice boomed. Christian jerked his gaze away from his lovely rescuer-tormentor and spun around to get his first look at the German craftsman. The stocky armorer had bushy, light curly hair, wrinkles, and a stern face.
Christian exhaled deeply, like one who had discovered a rare treasure. "I have traveled a long distance to meet the armorer over whom the entire kingdom raves."
Gerrard Trittenbach's expression softened, and they exchanged introductions. "If you heard that I am a man who takes pride in his craftsmanship, then you have heard no falsehood."
From the corner of his eye, Christian noticed the lovely Fräulein slip away. "I need a new suit of armor. My entire armory is in disrepair." The man did not reply, only leveled a penetrating gaze. Unsure of how to persuade him, Christian foolishly rambled, "Cleaning, buckling, leathering ..."
"Oh? Are you preparing to go to war?"
"Nein." Christian shook his head. "Only to defend my land. The Swedes are ravaging nearby estates. It is only a matter of time until —"
Gerrard's eyes lit. "So your loyalties are with the emperor?"
"I would prefer to remain neutral." He shrugged. "The Swedes and French who invade our German lands disregard such a stand. In their eyes, if you do not join up with them, you are considered their enemy. I suppose it is the same with the emperor."
"Ja. No middle ground." The armorer's expression darkened. "Let me show you a few pieces."
Christian followed Gerrard about the workshop as they discussed details.
"We must fit you," Gerrard said. "Come. Stand here and remove your outer clothing."
Christian did as the older man bade and dispensed with his doublet. The armorer took measurements. A small boy peeked out from an open doorway that led to a rear shop door. But what really bothered Christian was that the Fräulein remained in the room in a far corner, sewing. Although she paid him no attention, her presence unsettled him. With his arms suspended over his head and the armorer poking about his body, he wondered what one was supposed to do with his gaze in such a circumstance. More to the point, how could he keep it off the Fräulein? He glanced at Gerrard. A scowl darkened the older man's face.
Finally, with a grunt, Gerrard dismissed him. Christian instantly lowered his arms and snatched his clothing.
"Where are you staying tonight?" Gerrard asked.
Christian tugged at his doublet. "My men and I intend to camp outside Dinkelsbühl."
"As you implied, the countryside is not safe. We will find you beds inside the city wall. How many men?"
Gerrard glanced over his shoulder and softened his voice. "Amelia, Daughter, can you come here a moment?" So the Fräulein was his daughter.
She crossed the room and stood before the armorer. "Ja?"
"Would you run to Watchman Hurtin's house and see if we can find lodging for Graf von Engel and his six men?"
Amelia gave Christian a brief saucy glance, then nodded respectfully at her father and departed.
"Thank you for your kindness, Herr Trittenbach. I'll see to my men and return." As Christian left the shop, he heard the clatter of small feet. A boy's voice could be heard through the open window.
"Who was that, Papa?"
"Why, that was Graf Christian von Engel of Engelturm."
"Where is that, Papa?"
Christian couldn't help but smile. So what if he had made a fool of himself? He had met the respected armorer and had taken care of a necessary task. He had secured safe lodging for his men. Best of all was the armorer's daughter. He strode down the narrow, cobbled street. As he passed by the colorful shops — each topped with an orange-tiled, steeply pitched roof — he thought, Dinkelsbühl. A sweet city.
* * *
Hours later, Amelia fiddled with the black velvet lining, irritated with her crooked stitches. Father, her only living parent, valued her work as an integral part of their armor merchandise. But ever since Graf von Engel had entered their workshop, she had torn out rows of uneven stitches. When the count had opened his visor and gazed into her eyes, weakness and desire swept over her in one warm rush. Her face felt hot even now in remembrance.
Many men frequented her father's workshop. But none had ever interested her nor earned her father's approval. She had even traveled with her father to other villages and castles. But never had she recalled meeting anyone who stirred her like this.
The familiar sound of the shop's creaky door hinges drew her gaze. There stood the object of her thoughts. The count shifted his stance and scrutinized her with sky-colored eyes.
She pushed aside her work and squirmed to her feet. "Good news. We found you lodging."
A smile softened his lean, angular face. "You are too kind. Is it far?"
Amelia gestured toward the watchman's home. "Nein. Just beyond the Tor."
The count nodded. His center-parted, brown mane brushed against the shoulders of his doublet; its full curls cascaded down his upper back. He glanced out the shuttered window to the gate. "Could you take me there?" His eyes teased. "Otherwise, I might take a wrong turn. The countryside is very dangerous."
With her father occupied in the back room, she pretended to consider. "Since you paid Father such splendid praise, ja. I will go with you."
Christian swept open the door. She brushed by him, and they stepped out onto the cobblestones. They had not walked far before the count spoke. "You are quite charming."
"How can you say so? I took advantage of your moment of weakness."
"Indeed you did. But if you had not come to my rescue, I might still be stumbling in circles."
Amelia's laughter bubbled forth. "Where is Engelturm?"
"On the edge of the Black Forest. West, not far from the River Rhine."
"Oh, I have seen the Rhine. How lovely it is."
"I am glad you liked it. You travel often?"
"Ja. But look, here we are." A round-faced woman stuck her head out an opened window of a house built into the city's wall.
Graf von Engel hung back and frowned. "So soon. I am disappointed."
"Come," Amelia urged. "I will introduce you."
* * *
Amelia left the count and returned to the workshop, humming. When she entered, her father was seated at a workbench.
"Where have you been, Amelia?"
"Why, the count returned. I took him to the watchman's house."
His eyes darkened. "I wish you wouldn't associate with him."
Amelia was shocked at her father's blunt remark. Was he not the one who had suggested they find the count and his men lodging? "Why would you wish such a thing?"
"Our kingdom is at war. It is not a good time to fall in love."
"Love?" Amelia gasped, even more shocked. "Don't be absurd. We just met."
"I saw the way you looked at each other. For all we know, he could be a spy."
Amelia just gaped at him.
Her father sighed heavily and stretched forth his stocky arm. "Come." She crossed the room to him. "If he hurts you, my own heart will break."
Amelia's eyes stung, and she nodded. It was her greatest pleasure to serve her family. Although she did not understand why her father was concerned about the count, she certainly could not deny her attraction, nor was there any reason not to trust her father's judgment and abide by his request.
* * *
The next morning, Christian entered the armory and watched in amusement as the armorer's little son galloped about the room. In his make-believe, his hands grasped an air bellows — the reins and neck of his horse — which he brought to a halt before a standing suit of armor. "You! Draw your sword and defend yourself!" He laid the bellows aside. "Wait here, Beauty," he commanded, then turned back to the faceless helm. "You, sir, are a coward!"
"Gut! Sehr gut!" Christian clapped. "Good! Very good!"
The boy ran up to Christian, his eyes bright. "Are you a knight?"
"My Opa was," Christian spoke fondly of his grandfather. "Are you?"
"I hope to be. But Father says that the knights are fading out." He pointed to the empty suit of armor. "My papa made him."
Christian knelt down beside the lad and held back a chuckle. He touched the boy's shoulder. "What is your name, son?"
"How old are you?"
"Hello, Graf von Engel," Gerrard greeted.
Christian straightened. "I was just getting acquainted with Nicolaus."
"I hope he has been minding his manners."
Christian glanced into Nicolaus's pleading eyes. "Indeed, he has."
The boy beamed and turned back to his father. "May I play?"
"Ja. Run along."
"A fine lad." Christian's gaze swept across the room in search of the armorer's daughter. "I wanted to thank you for all your kindness."
"Ach, think nothing of it."
"Will you come to Engelturm and set my armory in order?"
"I have not decided. I shall have an answer upon your return."
"Do consider it," Christian said before he opened the door and strode out.
"Humph!" Christian whooshed — the breath being knocked from his chest. When he could breathe again, he muttered, "Of all the clumsy —"
"Me? Clumsy?" Amelia fumed from the ground.
"Nein. Me. I am the clumsy one. Here, let me help." She eyed him warily and rejected his outstretched hand. He apologized as she stood and brushed off her long skirt. "Truly, I am sorry."
Amelia nodded. "We are even now. You have seen me in an embarrassing situation, and I have seen you —"
"Stop!" He held up his hands in defense. "Enough." They looked at each other and burst into laughter. The count shook his head. "You are a delight."
Her brows arched. "Am I?"
He softened his voice. "I wish I didn't have to go. But my men await."
A glimmer of alarm passed over Amelia's face. "May I pray for your safety?"
Christian's heart swelled. "I would welcome it above any other thing." He boldly stated, "Upon my return, may I see you?" Her face paled. Christian frowned. "You are not spoken for?"
"Nein. But, of course we shall meet again. You have dealings with Father. Godspeed."
"Farewell," he tried to say, but she was already gone. Pondering her abrupt behavior, he strode away in search of his men.CHAPTER 2
The silk lining was flawless, a labor of devotion. Someday Graf von Engel would wear it over his heart. As Amelia stitched, she also prayed for his protection.
"Finished?" Gerrard asked.
"Ja. I think I need a stretch."
"Go. You work too hard."
"No more than you." Amelia rose from the heart-shaped, wooden chair and left the stifling shop, smoky from the fire needed to work the metal. She had not walked far alongside the street named Unterer Mauerweg when two small bodies darted from behind a cart.
"Nicolaus! Heidi!" Amelia shouted for them. "Anschlag!"
The two little bodies jerked, and their feet stopped churning. Their faces slowly turned toward Amelia. She crooked her finger, beckoning them. Their tiny shoulders instantly sagged, and their hands stole behind them. Amelia smelled mischief as the two dawdled forward.
"What is behind your backs?"
Heidi thrust forward her arm. "Buttercups for you!"
Nicolaus joined in the false tale. "Ja. We know how you like them."
Amelia stifled her amusement and accepted the bouquet. "And aren't they a lovely gift?" The hills beyond the city were clad in brilliant yellow. She cast a dreamy gaze toward the wall. Somewhere out there was the count.
"Can we go play now?" Nicolaus tugged on Amelia's sleeve.
The children were forbidden to go outside the city wall since Swedes had been reported to be in the vicinity. The sad restriction was for their safety. "Where did you find these? From someone's window box?"
Heidi's face paled. Nicolaus's mouth formed a pout. Amelia accusingly arched a brow. Nicolaus set his hands on his hips. Heidi pointed toward the wall.
With a sigh, Amelia knelt down. "You did a very dangerous thing. The enemy's army would like nothing better than to catch Kinder, to whisk children up onto their horse and carry you off to their camp. Then they would barter you Kinder to capture the entire city. You would not want that to happen, would you?"
"Oh, nein. There was nobody out there." Heidi's braids whipped from side to side as she shook her head.
"There was not even one horse." Nicolaus clearly did not display any signs of regret.
"They could be hiding and gallop out in an eye blink to snatch you up before you could run to safety." Amelia watched Heidi's eyes widen as the child scratched her arms. Hopeful she had instilled a measure of caution into the children, Amelia gentled. "Let's take half of the flowers to Heidi's mother so she can share the beauty. Shall we?"
Amelia touched their shoulders and urged them forward. "And you know, Kinder, buttercups are poisonous. We'll have to scrub."
Nicolaus straightened his arms toward the cobblestones and clenched his hands into fists. "Ugh!"
Amelia stifled a giggle.
* * *
Frau Hurtin had a houseful of daughters. The oldest, Lore, looked up from her weaving as Amelia paraded the children through the room and deposited them with Frau Hurtin. In this warm household, it was easy to see why Nicolaus loved to come and play. Lore, who had listened to the children's chatter, left her work to cross the room to Amelia.
"Are there really enemy soldiers beyond the wall?"
"Don't worry, dear. Our walls are thick and strong."
Lore nodded, but her expression remained doubtful.
Nicolaus reappeared, his face scrubbed red. "Frau Hurtin says that Heidi cannot play anymore today."
Amelia gave Lore a parting smile and drew Nicolaus away. "Nor can you. Let's go home." He shrugged away from her touch but obeyed.
* * *
At bedtime, Amelia listened to Nicolaus's rote prayers. He hugged her neck as she leaned over him to adjust his feather coverlet. She kissed his cheek and smiled.
"Can we pray for Count von Engel?"
Amelia blinked. "You met him?"
"Ja. He was nice to me. He's very tall and brave."
"Brave? How do you know?" She fastened her gaze on Nicolaus's carved headboard, hoping that her cheeks would not give away her emotions.
"Because he's out beyond the wall. And he's getting fitted for war."
"Oh. Ja. Let's pray for him."
Nicolaus scooted out from his feather coverlet and knelt on the floor. "God. Keep Count von Engel safe so I can see him again."
These were the very words she had been praying every day this past week.
Excerpted from The Knight's Bride by Tracie Peterson, Dianne Christner, Pamela Griffin, Yvonne Lehman, Jill Stengl. Copyright © 2005 Pamela Griffin. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Knight's Bride: Chivalry Lives in 6 stories from the Middle Ages is a fabulous collection. This collection includes: Where Angels Camp - by Dianne Christner - A Legend of Mercy - by Pamela Griffin - The Stranger’s Kiss - by Yvonne Lehman - A Kingdom Divided - by Tracie Peterson - Alas, My Love - by Tracie Peterson - A Child of Promise - by Jill Stergl - This book introduced me to 5 new to me authors and I look forward to more by them. I, especially loved Tracie Peterson's addition to this collection and will definitely be adding her books to my wish list. A new favorite collection! 5 plus stars.