Friday, October 2, 2015

The Crusader's Bride by Claire Delacroix- Showcase - Review

Those who know me well know that Claire Delacroix/Deborah Cooke is one of my very favorite authors. She writes in several genres and she's a great one for a little genre mixing too. I want to showcase and share my review of the first in her brand new historical romance series, the Champions of St. Euphemia, featuring Knights of the Templar. The series should be read in order because of the continuing story lines and they will be released in three month intervals with the second in the series The Crusader's Heart releasing on October 21.
Enjoy the showcase and my review of book one in the series, The Crusader's Bride

Gaston battled for duty and honor—
until his new wife tempted him to fight for her love.

ISBN-13: 9781927477519
Publisher: Deborah A Cooke
Release Date: 07/28/2015
Length: 350pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound

Read an excerpt courtesy Claire Delacroix website:

Jerusalem—May 15, 1187
Gaston de Châmont-sur-Maine read the missive from his brother’s wife again, unable to believe that he had understood the words correctly the first time. That Raymond should have died so suddenly and at such a young age was incomprehensible to Gaston.
That his older brother was not laughing as he rode to hunt was beyond belief.
But Marie’s meaning could not be doubted. It was there, before his own eyes. Raymond was dead, and he, Gaston, was now Baron de Châmont-sur-Maine. He touched the red wax seal, embedded with the mark of his family’s house, impressed with the signet ring that he had only to ride home to claim.
Châmont-sur-Maine was his.
He would have preferred that Raymond yet lived. His older brother had taken the responsibility of Châmont-sur-Maine with ease and grace, with a charm that Gaston did not share. Gaston was a simple man, a fighting man, a man accustomed to a simple life. He looked around the stables of the Knights Templar, situated in the Temple in the Holy City itself. He leaned against the wall of the stall assigned to his own destrier, Bon Chance, even as that steed nuzzled in the hay. His squires had been dispatched to take a meal in the kitchens, and he had come to this place to read his unexpected letter.
He ached that he would never hear Raymond’s bold laughter again.
As always, the extensive stables of the Templars were bustling with activity. Knights returned from errands and from duty, their horses slick with perspiration. Others were preparing to ride out, their steeds stamping with impatience to run. Some great destriers were being brushed down while others were saddled up. The floor was thick with squires, hastening to do the bidding of their knights, and the air was filled with jokes and commands. He could smell the hay in the stables and hear the clang of anvil on steel from the smithy as repairs were made to armor and armament. Bon Chance nibbled Gaston’s hair playfully from behind and he rubbed the beast’s nose with affection.
Gaston had pledged to the Templars twenty years before and had never expected to leave the order. Raymond was only two years older than him. He was hale and vigorous.
But Raymond had only daughters. His will decreed that Châmont-sur-Maine pass to Gaston instead of his own children.
It was sensible, more sensible than Gaston would have expected from his older brother, but he could not deny the practicality of the choice.
All the same, Gaston was accustomed to war and battle, to the company of men and the good care of horses. He knew little of running an estate, although he had witnessed his fair share of politics and intrigue. He fingered the letter again, astounded at the opportunity, knowing he could not deny it, yet strangely uncertain of what lay ahead.
He would need a wife.
He would need to father children to ensure Châmont-sur-Maine’s future.
He would be a baron. He would ride to hunt at whim, and feast in his own hall upon fine fare, and sleep in the same bed each and every night for the rest of his life. It was impossible to associate his brother’s life with himself and Gaston doubted he would accustom himself readily to the change.
There was no choice, though.
He tucked the missive into his tabard, eying the activity that surrounded him. Responsibility could not be denied, and Raymond’s clear thinking could not be undermined. Gaston would return to France and his legacy.
He would find a bride with all haste and embark upon the task of making sons. He had seen six and thirty summers, and Raymond’s death made him taste his own mortality. There was not a moment to waste in securing the future.
Although he would choose the moment he shared these tidings with the Grand Master of the Temple with care. Gerard de Ridfort was passionate and unpredictable, and truly Gaston could not regret that he would no longer have to follow that man’s command. Gaston instinctively distrusted those who followed their impulse and were impetuous as Gerard tended to be. The astonishing losses of Templar knights at Cresson this same month showed the merit of that man’s leadership, and Gaston did not imagine for a moment that Saladin meant to leave matters as they stood.
Gaston straightened with purpose. If he meant to return alive to Châmont-sur-Maine and ensure the future of his family holding—as was now his responsibility above all others—he had best tell the Grand Master the news as soon as possible.
A Templar could not disobey an order from the Grand Master. Gaston had to ensure that Gerard had as little time as possible to grant him one.
Then he would find a wife, with all haste. Christian women on pilgrimage oft prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It seemed reasonable to Gaston to begin his search there. His expectations were minimal. She would have to be of noble blood, unwed, and both young and vigorous enough to bear him multiple sons. It would not be all bad if he found her attractive, for that would make rendering the marital debt more pleasant.
Beyond that, Gaston expected little of a wife. He hoped to find a practical woman, for he knew naught of courtship or even of conversing with women. He imagined that his inheritance would offer sufficient inducement to the kind of woman he sought.
Gaston de Châmont-sur-Maine left the stables with a whistle upon his lips, certain that all could be arranged sensibly and quickly.
This optimism was only possible because Gaston knew so little of women in general, and of Ysmaine de Valeroy in particular.
That situation would not last.
Excerpt from The Crusader’s Bride ©2014 Deborah A. Cooke

My Review
Delacroix is back, better than ever with an all-new historical romance series featuring Templar Knights who find true love.
Set in the late 12th century her story comes alive thanks to her expressive narrative including some real history mixed with her fantastic fiction. Her backdrops are breathtaking and dangerous as her troupe travels from the Middle East to Europe. Her couple, Ysmaine and Gaston are honorable, believable and both refreshingly innocent. Heading her chapters on genuine Church feast days and her accurate accounting of the historical facts give it that extra dose of authenticity. I can’t wait to see where she takes me on her next Templar tale.
Twice widowed on her wedding night, Ysmaine de Valeroy came to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage to dispel whatever husband curse she’d been put under. When she meets a handsome knight who vows to wed her, she has to wonder if he’s an answer to her prayers or the devil come to take his due.
Upon his brother’s death, Gaston de Chamount, knight of the Templar finds himself the new Baron of his family’s French estate. He must choose a bride before returning to his ancestral home, and seeing a beautiful pilgrim praying to the virgin his choice is made.
Before they can depart war erupts between Christians and infidels. With the fall of the city imminent, the chief Templar entrusts Gaston and other loyal travelers with one last sacred quest to Paris.

About the Series-
The Champions of St. Euphemia, which features a group of Templar knights returning home from crusade and entrusted with a mysterious treasure. The Crusader’s Bride is the first book in the series and was published in June, with the rest of the books following at three month intervals.
For more about the series visit Claire's website.

Upcoming books in the series
                                         Out October 21, 2015              

Connect with Claire/Deb- WebsiteFacebook/Claire - Facebook/Deborah - Twitter

MEET CLAIRE/DEBORAH:New York Times bestselling author Claire Delacroix sold her first book in 1992, an historical romance called THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE. Since then, she has published over forty romance novels and novellas, and has also been published under the names Claire Cross and Deborah Cooke. She has an honours degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. She is an avid reader of medieval vernacular literature, fairy tales and fantasy novels. 
For books written under the pseudonym, Claire Cross, see: 
For books written under Claire's own name, Deborah Cooke, please see:

Today's Gonereading Item is:
A Flower Bookend Set
Click HERE for the buy page


  1. Fun that she has a pen name too! Looks like another really great series for you to enjoy! Have a lovely weekend Debbie!

    1. Thanks Ali, yes I believe she started writing under an alias when it was a popular thing to to then she just kept it for her historicals

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sounds good Debbie. I've added into a possible read pin on my board. Haven't actually come across this author before. Oh dear two deaths on the wedding night - somewhat spooky!

    1. That's a great idea Kathryn, I know she'll be visiting the UK next year but I'm not sure if or when she'll be in your neck of the woods. She's from Canada

  3. Oh I do hope these will be on audio..I am loving listening to her books :)

  4. This book has a bit of everything. Action, intrigue, adventure, treasure, sweet love scenes, vile villains and finally true love

    I highly recommend this book.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.