Sometimes you have a choice between bad and worse...and sometimes your choice turns out to be an unexpected blessing.
Over the weekend, my family had a lively discussion about the whiplash of women’s status through the ages, comparing gender equality in ancient Egypt and the modern Western world vs. women’s status in ancient Greece and some modern Middle Eastern countries.
Why would women let that happen? One nephew asked.
Women hardly let it happen.
When a civilization collapses and you’re fighting for survival for yourself and your children, men’s superior physical strength quickly unlevels the playing field.
The fall from equality to second-class citizen with the legal status of a child might be quick or slow, but I suspect it’s always a shock to the individuals involved—and it chafes future generations of women no matter how much time passes.
Because I write medieval romances, I think a lot about the tensions between men and women within society. Medieval women knew they deserved better and many got better from individuals, but they still faced institutional misogyny.
In An Unexpected Gift—available tomorrow as a stand-alone novella—the heroine is at her most vulnerable, physically and emotionally. She’s pitted against a society that sees her as someone to exploit or protect, but not stand beside or respect.
Ada is probably my most traditional heroine in that she is at a powerless moment in her life, which is how most of her historical peers would have lived their lives. She’s brave and strong and resourceful, but ultimately she cannot rescue herself, a fact that she hates.
She must place her faith in a stranger—a man who could be her savior or someone even more dangerous than the man who wants to kill her and her unborn child—and that is where the story begins.
Will her worst fears come true or will Ada find an unexpected gift?
Here's an excerpt:
Here's an excerpt:
He shrugged. “I have not brought you here just to see you killed.
“Why would they not think me dead?”
A secret lay in his hesitation. His looked over her left shoulder. “If they return to the road and find you gone, this is the first place they will look. The nuns will say naught to the attackers, but the men would easily find you in the warming room.”
Ada stared at him. In a hundred years, she wouldn’t have thought of such danger. If almost a year in captivity hadn’t honed her thoughts, what had sharpened his? Montbray wanted her. No, he wanted Bew and thought to get it through her. She ran a hand over her stomach again. If she thought like her captor, killing Thomas and Henry made a horrible kind of sense, but why then leave her behind?
Or had they?
Fear rose with the swiftness of a thunderclap. She knew nothing of him, not his name, his family, his errand. He could be outlaw, for all she knew.
Run! As if she could. She could barely get out of bed of a morning or rise from a bench if she sat for a long time. Running was impossible. She could throw herself on the mercy of the nuns, but who would protect them from these men?
As part of Prairie Rose Publications Third Anniversary Bash, I’m giving away a copy of An Unexpected Gift to two people selected from among those who comment on this blog by midnight Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories. You can find out more about her books here. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of her books.