I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Medieval Christmas with Jennifer Hudson Taylor!

Welcome Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor to Tea and a Good Book!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.

What Would Christmas have been like in the times of your two Medieval-set novels, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary?

Akira and Bryce, as well as Gavin and Serena (the main characters of Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary), would have had their servants decorate their castles in holly, ivy, evergreen, mistletoe, and pine boughs. They would have lit extra candles. It was a time of gathering and feasting with family and friends, They would have eaten minced pie, which consisted of mixed meats with spices and dried fruits. It was made in a rectangular shape to symbolize Christ's crib.

They might have gone caroling since it dates back to the early middle ages when carols were banned from European churches. To keep from interrupting the serous quiet masses, the churches sent carollers out into the streets.

By the 15th century, songs such as: Here We Come a Wassailing, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The First
Noel, Good Christian Men Rejoice and Greensleeves were all well known as traditional carols. Caroling in the form of tramping from door to door died out with the end of the feudal system and didn't revive again until the Victorian period.


Thank you, Jennifer! It's amazing how many familiar traditions have been in practice more than five hundred years!

Jennifer's latest novel, Highland Sanctuary, is available now from your favorite retailer, including Amazon. After the blurb, read my thoughts!

A Sanctuary of Secrets...

Gavin MacKenzie, a chieftain heir who is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh, discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and
comely lass, who captures Gavin’s heart in spite of harboring a deadly past that could destroy her future.

The villagers happen to be keeping an intriguing secret as well. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.

Safe only in the Village of Outcasts, Serena Boyd’s secret is a dangerous one: she suffers from seizures, which during medieval Europe were explained as demon-possession. The penalty—which her father tried to inflict upon her birth—is death.

A warrior and heir to a chieftain, Gavin requires a well-heeled bride. When he arrives to work at the Castle of Braigh, he doesn’t want to be drawn to Serena, a mere servant. Still, he finds himself protecting Serena and the members of her community when odd happenings occur. The villagers won’t trust him completely, however, especially with their mysterious secrets. When he sees firsthand what Serena’s been hiding, will he still love her and be able to shield her from those who think her evil? Or will her future—and the future of her village—be indefensible?

 Drawing from her own experience as the mother of a daughter with a seizure disorder, Jennifer Hudson Taylor writes a touching, tender tale about love in its various forms: mother to child, man to woman, and within a community.  The spiritual threads are encouraging and challenging to both the characters and the reader. I appreciated the research that went into describing the details in the story, including the judicial process.

Fans of medieval-set tales, historical fiction, or love stories will enjoy Highland Sanctuary.


Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Great taste of history Jennifer!

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Thanks, Eva Maria, for stopping by. I hope you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Susanne Dietze said...

Thanks for coming by, Eva Maria! Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas.

Susanne Dietze said...

Thanks so much for coming by to share with us, Jennifer. I love learning about the history of our traditions.