Jennifer Ivy Walker
Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle
Can Princess Gabrielle and her lover Bastien save the Kingdom of Finistère.
Princess Gabrielle, ‘the Viking Princess’ and daughter of the King Guillemin of Finistère, has returned home from Paris due to her father’s rapidly declining health. French law proclaims that a woman can neither inherit the throne or rule as queen in her own right. If her father dies before she marries, the throne and Kingdom of Finistère would be lost. The Marquis de Nantes is pressurizing the King to arrange a marriage between Gabrielle and his son, Ugolin Cauchon. Ugolin is a wicked and ruthless man who seeks control of the Breton seas and plans to revoke the Maritime Treaty which ensures safe passage along the coast. Rather than reject the offer outright, the King announces a Yuletide Joust, where members of the nobility will compete to win Gabrielle’s hand in marriage. Gabrielle is distraught and seeks comfort in the arms of Sir Bastien de Landuc, her equestrian tutor and royal personal guard. Bastien has secretly loved Gabrielle for many years and the relationship soon becomes intimate. Bastien dreams of marrying his Viking Princess, but without a title of nobility, he is unable to compete in the joust.
Meanwhile, Ugolin is determined to become the King of Finistère, and will stop at nothing to win the contest. He has a wicked plan to win the contest, marry the princess, and then enslave her in the castle so he can take control of the Kingdom. Ugolin and his cronies attempt to kidnap Gabrielle, but she is saved by her beloved Bastien. The King rewards Bastien with a fiefdom and a title of nobility, which makes him eligible to compete in the joust. As Bastien prepares to enter the contest and win Gabrielle’s hand in marriage, Ugolin has another devious plan to take the princess, her royal dowry, and the Kingdom of Finistère.
Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle is the first in a new ‘Christmas in the Castle Series’ by author Jennifer Ivy Walker. Set in the mythical Arthurian period, the book features familiar characters, such as Sir Lancelot du Lac, and other characters from Walkers’ Sea Raven trilogy series. With a beautiful, star-crossed love story, an enchanting fantasy world set within the royal courts, and a wicked villain, this medieval fantasy fiction novel was a joy to read. The book transports the reader to a mythical realm of kings and queens, armoured knights, and horses. A delightful read for those seeking escapism from reality.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A perfect cosy, medieval fantasy book to snuggle up and escape with over the holiday period.