Catherine Kean is an award-winning author of more than twenty medieval romances, but when her Muse encouraged her to venture into other romance genres, she had the good sense to listen. Learn more about Catherine and her books at her website.
Setting a story in the Middle Ages around Christmastime poses some challenges, since eight hundred years ago Christmastide, for the most, part was celebrated as a religious holiday. However, when I stumbled upon information on the Lord of Misrule, I knew I’d found the perfect inspiration for A Knight’s Redemption, the sixth book of my Knight’s Series.
The Lord of Misrule tradition may have originated from the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which took place in December and involved a sacrifice, feasting, wild reveling, and appointment of a king who ruled over the festivities. In Medieval times, a man chosen from among the lower classes—say, a peasant or servant—was picked days before Christmas to become head of the household. He would rule as lord for a few days, weeks, or even months.
Can you imagine a humble farmer, who’d struggled to feed his family and care for his livestock, suddenly being given all of the authority and privileges of his noble liege? It obviously provided an opportunity for abuses of power, but also added to the Christmas merriment.
The Lord of Misrule oversaw the Christmas feasts, pantomimes, musical entertainment, and general revelry. According to historical sources, celebrating the Lord of Misrule often led to widespread drunkenness, trickery, gambling, and licentiousness, which sounds a bit like some modern parties.
In A Knight’s Redemption, my hero, a fourteen-year-old squire, is shocked to be appointed the Lord of Misrule for Branton Keep. Bolstered by the wild cheering of the folk in the great hall, and intrigued by the shy, visiting Lady Mary Westbrook, he demands her kiss. He’d never be able to kiss her otherwise.
Mary is really in no position to refuse. But, believing that kisses are acts of love, she does say no, and for her defiance, is locked in the castle dungeon.
Embarrassed to have been spurned by her, Holden only intended for her to be locked up a short while, but a fire in the town draws him away from the keep and only later does he return to let her out. She never wants to see him again. Nevertheless, Fate brings them back together six years later.
Will Holden be able to right what went wrong at Christmas years ago? Holden and Mary’s story tugged at my heartstrings, but I do believe they got the perfect Christmas happily-ever-after.
A Knight’s Redemption
Knight’s Series, Book 6
Six Christmases ago, after refusing his kiss, Lady Mary Westbrook was locked in the dungeon by Lord Holden Kendall, a squire at Branton Keep. When an attempted child abduction days before Christmas brings Holden back to the castle, Mary must confront again what happened between them.
Holden is a grown warrior now, and he resolves to not only make matters right with Mary, but finally win her kiss. Yet, as peril ensues, Mary must risk far more than a chance at true love.