… what a bonus… not one, but two of my favourite people, Authoresses, Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, Guest Blog together today in a terrific salutation to Celtic love… how could I NOT carry this?… take it away, Ladies:
Today we would like to thank Seumas for letting us use his blog for a spot of shameless self-publicity. On February 11th Grá mo Chroí will be released, a joint venture of Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty— the retelling of some of the great love stories from Irish myth.
Grá mo Chroí
‘Love of my Heart’
Love Stories from Irish Myth
Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.
Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty share an obsession academic interest in the stories that make up the folk culture of Ireland. What is actual history, what is fanciful embroidering of the facts, and what is complete invention is almost impossible to say now with any certainty. But there are themes that run through all of these stories—tragic love being one of the most constant.
We decided to produce this collection of retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish mythology as our tribute to this culture which has so captivated us. Love in Iron Age Ireland was a more rumbustious affair than the saccharine Hollywood version. Ancient Irish lovers had to contend with irate kings prepared to wait for decades to take revenge for a slight, jealous first wives who had the right to murder a second wife if they made up their minds to it within three days, not to mention the enchantments that turned children, wives, or enemies into hinds, butterflies, hounds or swans.
Ancient Irish lovers had to be strong and persistent, the women as well as the men. They had to be prepared to defy armies and magic, spend years on the run or in exile.
If your idea of a good love story is the Sleeping Beauty or Brief Encounter, you might want to read this collection and find out what romance was like Irish style, two thousand years ago.
Here is a short excerpt from the second story in the collection, Grainne’s Lament.
I waited all the long length of that day, till the shadows of evening stretched themselves over the land. As the sun sank beyond the rim of this world, so did my hopes and dreams, for in my heart I knew that he would not return to me unscathed.
“It’s only a boar hunt,” he had said, laughing. “I will be with Fionn and the Fianna. What could go wrong?”
So I watched from the ramparts, afraid of what I might see, yet too desperate to retreat within the sheltering walls of the hall, where servants seethed in a frenzy of preparation for the glad feast and merrymaking which was sure to follow. For it was meant to be a celebration. This was the day he had longed for all these years, to be forgiven and reunited with the man he loved almost as well as me.
Fionn mac Cumhall. I can hardly bear the taste of your name on my tongue. Greatest hero of Eire that ever lived, greater even than the dark Cuchullain, you were the man who cared for my Diarmuid as if he were your own son, and the man I should have married. The man we both betrayed.
I always knew that as daughter of Cormac, High King of Ireland, I would not choose my husband, but would marry for duty rather than love. It is how kingdoms are won and kept, through the forging of new alliances and family ties. It is how the highborn live. Besides, in all the land, you, Fionn, were second only to my father. As the charismatic leader of the famous Fianna, and well-loved by all, you were a good match.
My father had listened too much to the jealous whisperings of my brother Cairpre; he feared that your popularity would one day lead you to seek the High King’s position. So he offered me up like some prize cow. That was not the result Cairpre was expecting. He had pushed for disbanding the Fianna, removing you from your source of power, perhaps even for your death. But Cormac kept to the old ways; his wisdom was respected far and wide. He knew how useful the warband was to him, and sought to strengthen his position through me. Cairpre withdrew to plot his petty revenge, and I prepared to marry a man with as many years under his belt as my father.
I had heard all the stories of your heroism, the feats of bravery and chivalry, how women threw themselves at you. I must admit, I was more than a little enamoured of the hero of those tales. Yet there you stood before me on my wedding day, a man as old and grey as the King, but with eyes that were cold, not kindly. There was steel in them, a barrier which no woman, save one, could ever break through to win your heart.
If you like the sound of the world of the ancient Irish, treat yourself to a little Celtic romance for Valentine’s Day. You can get Grá mo Chroí here
Normal price 99c/ 99p FREE Wed 11th Feb – Sun 15th Feb
Almost forgot, we have Amazon countdown deals on the first books in our respective series running from February 11th to February 15th.
Ali’s Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean
Jane’s The Dark Citadel (only Amazon UK)
To learn more about the authors,
you will find Ali pottering about most days on her blog: www.aliisaacstoryteller.com, her Facebook author page, or tweeting. Alternatively, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Jane can be found on her blog, www.janedoughertywrites.com, on her FaceBook author page , or tweeting. You can find out more about her on Goodreads, and all her books are available on Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk.
…many thanks, Ali and Jane… yeez know what to do now, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… get downloading… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
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