This medieval historical romance provides an intriguing portrait of an atypical and powerful woman at the heart of many of the political maneuverings of the time. The vivid descriptions of the machinations of various powerful figures are both enlightening and somewhat dismaying as they show how often the heart and political expediency are in opposition. The author does a wonderful job of evoking the difficulties of the journey, the constant fear of betrayal and chess game of manipulation, and the wonder of women who are just as loyal and adept at protecting their charge as their male counterparts. I am not an ardent fan of history, but these stories have a way of capturing one’s interests and investing one with a desire to see the characters succeed, although there are definitely both highs and lows of the journeys described. This is a story of both a foreign place and time that affected the balance of power in this part of the world and it was fascinating to get a glimpse of some of the players involved. An entertaining read for fans of history and the Crusades who like strong proactive women who are not afraid to fight for what they believe in.
“The Queen’s Guard: Rose” by Traci E. Hall is part of ‘The Queen’s Guard’ series about a group of women who protect Queen Eleanor, who is also Duchess of Aquitaine. This particular story focuses on Lady Mamille de Rou (Mamie), one of the remaining bodyguards, who accompanies her liege on her quest to the Holy Land, despite many setbacks and the loss of her fellow bodyguards. Mamie is known as Rose in the queen’s bouquet of guards, and is adept at using both her warrior skills and her feminine wiles, but she is strangely attracted to the Templar Knight Dominus, and tempts him despite the strictures that forbid any relationship. Each of them must comply with their primary mission directives, but the swirling currents of political maneuverings and danger that overshadow the quest may bring about more than just their personal downfall if they cannot protect their respective charges, it may unbalance the fragile political accord and shift the balance of power with fatal consequences.
Spring 1148—Mediterranean Coast
Mamille of Rou, alias Rose, is one of three elite female bodyguards remaining to protect Queen Eleanor of France. The unusual guard began the holy pilgrimage from France to seize the important city of Edessa from infidels.
Along the way, Mamille has been unable to quell her attraction to the strong and handsome Dominus Brochard, a Knight Templar who has travelled with Eleanor’s guard since the very beginning. But unbeknownst to Mamille, Dominus has been working undercover on behalf of the bishop of Clairvaux, ensuring Eleanor’s husband, King Louis, is protected from certain political advisors with nefarious aims.
Mamille thinks Dominus is way too virile to be chaste, though she honors his decision. Dominus thinks she is way too beautiful to sleep alone, and his frustration lies in being unable to claim her for himself. Instead, he watches over her from afar and takes his jealousy out on the enemy Turks.
But there is someone else watching both of them. Someone with enough power and influence to tear the king and queen apart and wrest Mamille and Dominus away from each other forever.