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hh-spotlight-logo.jpgby Blythe Gifford

I confess.  I’ve been unfaithful.

Oh, I still love medieval England and its history. But despite a lifelong love affair with the country and its royal family, I’ve been tempted to stray, to dabble on other shores, with other stories, in other settings.

Blythe GiffordAnd so I had a fling.

With Flanders.

You heard me right. Innocence Unveiled, my June book, is set in the city of Ghent, in medieval Flanders.

I can hear your shocked protestations. Didn’t she love England? I thought what she had with the 14th century England was something special. And, most of all:

Where the heck is Flanders?

We’ll start with that last question. During the Middle Ages, there were a handful of duchies clustered where Belgium and the Netherlands now stand. Referred to as the Low Countries, their connections to England were close. Edward III’s wife, Queen Philippa, was from one of them, and trade ties were strong.

But these are excuses. The truth is that I strayed across the channel to follow a story. One that couldn’t take place any where else.

This book was sparked by a true incident, reported by the chroniclers. As King Edward III was trying to gain support for his claim to the throne of France, he sent an “embassy,” or diplomatic mission, to the Continent to recruit allies. Along with the diplomats traveled a number of “bachelor” knights, each wearing an eye patch and swearing not to speak until he had performed some deed of arms in France. My hero is one of those knights, but instead of staying with the group, he rides off alone.

Of course I had to follow him.

Innocence UnveiledSo I invite you to come along and explore the charms of unknown shores. You’ll find much that’s familiar: My hero is the bastard son of an English princess and the English king and queen even make an appearance.

So I’m not really unfaithful. I’m just being true to my English royal bastards and following where they lead me. (My next book takes me back to the sceptred isle. Honest!)

So give in to temptation. Enjoy a slight indiscretion and discover how much fun a little fling can be.

Are you ever tempted to stray from a genre or setting you’re loyal to? When you do, how do you “cheat”?