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The Crusader's Vow (The Champions of Saint Euphemia, #4)
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Gaol/Buddy Reads & Challenges > BR — The Crusader’s Vow

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message 1: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Starting on or about the 14th. All welcome.

Returning home to Scotland triumphant after his military service, and entrusted with the precious relic of the Templars, Fergus is more than ready to wed his beloved Isobel and begin their life together. To his dismay, Isobel has wed another in his absence, and he believes all of merit is stolen from his life—until Leila resolves to win the valiant highlander’s heart for her own. She is convinced of her own success, until Isobel tempts Fergus anew.


Becca Woo hoo!! I’m on board! Can’t wait to dive into this one :)


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Great Becca!

I’m so glad u are joining us!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Hey Joanna and Becca!

How about we get started next Weekend?


message 5: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Hi Andrea, I will probably start sometime this week after I get my current reads done. I won’t be able to read much next weekend if at all, so I think that will work.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Hi Andrea, I will probably start sometime this week after I get my current reads done. I won’t be able to read much next weekend if at all, so I think that will work."

Ok.

Hopefully Becca can join us!


Becca Yes! I am onboard. If it works for you both, I'd like to get started this week since I cannot read much during the weekend and I have a busy few weeks ahead. The headstart should keep me on pace with you. How quickly do you typically read during these buddy reads?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Becca wrote: "Yes! I am onboard. If it works for you both, I'd like to get started this week since I cannot read much during the weekend and I have a busy few weeks ahead. The headstart should keep me on pace wi..."

Great!

I’m glad you can join us!


Becca I’ve read through chapter 9. I thought I’d stop there and see how far you all get this weekend. I always find my self wanting to binge on Delacroix novels and this is no exception! Fergus drove me bananas at the beginning on this book but now the intrigue is heating up and I’m excited to see where it goes. There are some pretty nasty villains in this one. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and moving forward with the story :)


message 10: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Awesome Becca. I think I will be getting started tonight. I will shoot for Chapter 9 through the weekend.


message 11: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Alright, just getting started. I really enjoyed the prologue! I really like how her character’s attraction tend to start in regard for each other’s character. It makes it feel more substantial and believable.


Becca Yeah I agree. Though I sort of understand Fergus, I feel like he is a little bit crappy to Leila after he gets home. I’ll be interested in how you interpret it! There are a lot of threads! I’m so excited I get to discuss a Claire Delacroix book in real time with you all!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Prologue

P 7

“Any regrets?” Fergus asked, his own voice husky.
“Only for what can never be,” Leila admitted softly. “I would see my cousin again, but not return to Palestine. I would play with her son, but not risk my own future. I would wed, with my uncle’s blessing, but not to the man he chose.”


P 8

“And face the wrath of your betrothed?” she suggested, a smile in her voice. “Isobel might not make the conclusion you expect.”

“Then she is a fool,” she said hotly and straightened beside him. “For any woman with blood in her veins would desire a man so loyal of heart as you, even if he were not wrought so tall and fine, nor possessed of such valor.” “Leila!” Fergus protested, surprised by her endorsement. “You know little of me...” “After eleven months in each other’s company, I know much of you, and all of it has merit.”


@Andrea CP

Fergus is shocked at the profound admiration Leila has for him


P8
“You need not fear that I will act upon this, or that I will be more than your faithful companion,” she continued more quietly. “But if the lady Isobel fails to see your merit, or dares to doubt your integrity, she will answer to me.”

All of this foreshadows something ominous with Fergus’ intended...


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Ch 1

P13

The Templars’ squires contented themselves with whispering to each other like young girls, and Leila did not deign to give them even a glance.

In book 1, Crusader’s Bride, I thought that the squires were older than Laurent/Leila.

P16

When they crested a rise, Leila caught her breath at the hilly expanse of land spread before her with the sea sparkling beyond it. The forest was so richly green that she thought her eyes deceived her. The water, beginning at the base of the hill and stretching into the distance, shone silver in the morning light. Mist was gathered near the water and obscured the view to the left and in the distance. The wind lifted her hair, though, and she imagined the mist would soon disperse.

I love description of the outdoors and natural world. I feel as if I am seeing what Leila is seeing of Scotland for the first time

P18

“I have made my choice, Fergus, and I must ensure its success,” Leila replied. “There is much I left behind, to be sure, but it is better to admire in the road ahead. Yearning for the past is of no merit.”

And

She straightened in her saddle. She would not expect failure, not before she had tried to succeed.

Leila is very determined to stick by her d vision and make a way for herself.

P19

Were there more men like him in this land? Leila could only hope so. A tall and handsome man of honor with a valiant nature would suit her well, even if that man could not be Fergus.>

Leila adores Fergus so much! Can he live up to Leila’s view of him?

P22-23

People spilled out of the cottages, the mill, and the keep itself, surrounding Fergus. Their happiness was as evident as his own. He leaped from the saddle and shook hands, accepted kisses, was hugged and clapped upon the back repeatedly. He might have been greeting family instead of those pledged to his father’s service. Leila approved of this warm relationship between laird and villein. Children ran through the delighted crowd, geese honked, dogs barked, and goats bleated. Leila heard Fergus laughing and smiled herself at such merriment.

We are witnessing Fergus’ homecoming and she’s getting a favorable impression of her new home in terms of Fergus’ familial relations with the villeins.



Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Ch2

(view spoiler)


message 16: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Jul 23, 2018 10:28AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna,

Where are you in the book? I just saw in my feed that Becca is over 60%.

If you two are far ahead, I won’t bother with posts like the one’s above (created/cut/pasted via my iPhone, no less!).


message 17: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
I am through chapter 4, so not too far. Will try to post on it in a bit.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "I am through chapter 4, so not too far. Will try to post on it in a bit."

Oh, you aren’t much further ahead of me.

I’m ready to begin ch 3.

I’ll probably start it while on my lunch break


message 19: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Ok, I just realized I am only through 3.

So, I can see why Becca became frustrated with Fergus. He is really struggling with the fact isobel did not keep her word. That must have been a good reason. I see this as hanging on, but I think it is, at least in part, Fergus disappointment in himself for wrongly placing his trust. So, I think his willfulness makes sense.


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Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Ch 1

P13

The Templars’ squires contented themselves with whispering to each other like young girls, and Leila did not deign to give them even a glance.

In book 1, Crusader’s Bride, I thought tha..."


Loved all these quotes! I think Bartholomew was an old squire, otherwise the ones we don’t know much about are normal aged.


Becca Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Ok, I just realized I am only through 3.

So, I can see why Becca became frustrated with Fergus. He is really struggling with the fact isobel did not keep her word. That must have been a good reaso..."


I think your assessment is good. I think it was a dream that kept him going through 4 years of hardship and it was hard to let go. It just got aggravating because as the reader, I could see the drama coming a mile away!!


Becca The squire who really didn't get a lot of page time in earlier books was Hamish. I really liked seeing more of him and how he played a role in this story. I think that is what I enjoy about Delacroix. She gives insights into characters at all levels of society and it gives her stories depth.

How far are you now? I've hesitated to post comments since I didn't want to spoil anything.


message 23: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Yes, the drama is coming, clearly!

I haven’t had much time to read at all the last few days, but I will be tonight and tomorrow quite a bit.


Becca Okay :). I have a confession. I was sick and read the whole thing. I knew it was wrong but I felt crappy and wanted to finish it. It’s all fresh and I’ve contained my notes along the way so I’ll be ready to discuss whenever you have time to read again. We can go at whatever pace you need to! I’m looking forward to discussing! I am conflicted about certain points and will be interested in your opinion!


message 25: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Becca wrote: "Okay :). I have a confession. I was sick and read the whole thing. I knew it was wrong but I felt crappy and wanted to finish it. It’s all fresh and I’ve contained my notes along the way so I’ll be..."

LOL — sounds good. I am finding the writing easy, as expected.


message 26: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Through Chapter 5

Agnes — we have a spy in the midsts. I wonder if all (or part of) the woe that has occurred in the past 4 years is due to her machinations. It’s an interesting dynamic there with Leila instantly distrusting her.

Fergus— come on man. Don’t be so stubborn and melodramatic, I hope he doesn’t hold on to his “love” for Isobel for too long.

Leila — much to admire here. I love her outlook and attitude. She’s smart and determined. I am curious if something will come out of her uncle. Maybe he will find her.

Callum — great father figure from what I can tell so far, but he must have ceded to Fergus’ judgement too much in the past. It’s giving Fergus a spoiled child feel, who thinks he is always right.


message 27: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Through Chapter 8

I am glad that Fergus is beginning to see things more clearly. Isobel is calculating and he’s noticing some oddities in Agnes.

I am curious what Isobel will do. Maybe she’s intent on mudering her husband? And I don’t see how she thinks to pull off her son as Fergus’.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Becca wrote: "Okay :). I have a confession. I was sick and read the whole thing. I knew it was wrong but I felt crappy and wanted to finish it. It’s all fresh and I’ve contained my notes along the way so I’ll be..."

That's too bad.

I was really looking forward to a welcome addition to read the rest of the series with Joanna and I.

I hope that you are feeling better.


Becca Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Through Chapter 8

I am glad that Fergus is beginning to see things more clearly. Isobel is calculating and he’s noticing some oddities in Agnes.

I am curious what Isobel will do. Maybe she’s inte..."


Oh my goodness, isn't Isobel awful?! It makes me wonder what Fergus saw in her at the beginning. Though I think now that Fergus is "seeing the light" it is a testament to all his experiences in Outremer and on the road back. Though I think Leila has the best instincts out of the entire group. I love how she believably reads people and is so insightful.

Isobel is pretty despicable. When I first read from her point of view, she scared the crap out of me. The deviousness and selfishness of her character is one of the creepiest and most well-developed that I've seen in a female villain.


Becca Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Becca wrote: "Okay :). I have a confession. I was sick and read the whole thing. I knew it was wrong but I felt crappy and wanted to finish it. It’s all fresh and I’ve contained my notes along the ..."

I'm still super into discussing this! I just wanted to read while I had the time since I had other ARCs lined up and travel and company in my future. I have only read this book and would still love to discuss it with you both. I still have not read the Crusader's Handfast and would very much like to also read and discuss that one when you both are ready for it.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Becca,

How can you discuss without spoiling if I haven’t finished the book?

Are you still going to post, if so, please indicate which chapter and use spoiler tags.


message 32: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
So far I think it’s working fine.

How far are you Andrea?


message 33: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Becca wrote: "Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Through Chapter 8

I am glad that Fergus is beginning to see things more clearly. Isobel is calculating and he’s noticing some oddities in Agnes.

I am curious what Iso..."


I am looking forward to more time in Isobel’s head. She does seem complex. Agnes is another interesting dynamic. In one way she would seem to be on the same side as Isobel but has a different loyalties and desires. She is also gross.


message 34: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Through Chapter 10

The continuing story that Leila is telling is genius. I think I have heard of it before, but I am enjoying this detail and rendition. I love how Leila could identify Agnes by scent and that they are picking up on her scheme right away.

I am curious how they will resolve the inheritance issue, if the king will support Fergus.


message 35: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Through Chapter 13 — this is getting exciting! I am having trouble setting it aside.


message 36: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
I meant to come back and comment more on chapter 13 and before I knew it, I finished the book. Once you get to a certain point, it is really difficult to stop!


message 37: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Chapter 12: (view spoiler)

Chapter 13: (view spoiler)

Chapter 14: (view spoiler)

Chapter 15 to the end: (view spoiler)


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "So far I think it’s working fine.

How far are you Andrea?"


I’m sorry. I have fallen behind. I finished ch 9. Will read more this eveung.

I’m going to post today comments for ch 3-6 today.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Ch 3

“My intended is most fastidious, Iain, as many Saracens are known to be.”

“The Saracens had a fondness for cleanliness that far exceeded that of most in the west,” he commented. “I remember it well. Their homes were a marvel.”


In fact, xn Europe thought bathing unhealthy! In the holy-land, the “infidel” was cleaner in their habits than xn Europe.

“My mother despised sewing as well,” Fergus confessed. “She was much happier riding to hunt.” “Truly?” Leila’s eyes lit. “Truly.” “I should have liked to have met her.”

Leila has in common with Fergus’ mother an aversion to needlework in favor of a love of sport.

The handfast was a compromise, an arrangement of good sense, and he would use the time to find Leila the husband she could love forevermore.

Since we know Fergus and Leila are the h/H, and we know she already loves him, we’re going to spend time watching/waiting for Fergus to let go of Isobel and love Leila and see her value.


message 40: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Yes, the bathing differences were funny to me. Appropriate, but also funny.


message 41: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Jul 30, 2018 04:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Ch 4-5

“I trust you are right, my lord,” she said, her tone temperate once more. She worked steadily and in silence, the line of her shoulders telling him that she was yet annoyed. The next day would prove him right about Stewart and Fergus knew it.

Despite Leila’s beautifully words of praise for Fergus in the prologue, he is verrrry stubborn.

He’s been warned about Isobel and “visiting” her by Duncan, his father and Leila, but he’s determined to visit his old flame and her husband.

Ch 5

“Well enough.” Leila closed her hand over his, seeing that he was torn. “I am not Isobel, and I never will be. I will not pretend to be. But I will try to be the best wife to you, Fergus, that I can.” “That is the most one can expect from a marriage of convenience.”

Fergus smiled sadly. “I would not have you aspire to what may not be, Leila. My heart is given and lost forever. Even though Isobel has wed another, she will always be my beloved. I will be as good a husband to you as I can, but that and a good home may be all I can offer to you.” Leila rose to her knees and framed his face in her hands. “The heart heals, Fergus.” “I am skeptical.”



Again, we have to wait for Fergus to “get with the program” where Leila is concerned. Fergus is a mule.

The linen with its blood stain was removed and set aside, and they worked together to put fresh linens on the bed. “I will give it to my father before I leave in the morning,”

I’ll bet Agnes steals evidence of Leila’s maiden hood.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Ch 6-7

“I thought you had eyes in your head, lad, never mind the Sight. My mother would have said that one wished for honey on both sides of her bread and more besides.”

Honey on both sides of the bread! I like that! I’m going to use it!

Ch 7

Calum pursed his lips. “It is too easy to hate those we have never encountered, to see the differences between us instead of the similarities. Why do we shed so much blood in Outremer? Because we all believe Jerusalem to be a holy city. We all could worship there, but instead of tolerating each other’s needs, we fight for suzerainty over a place that should be above such battles. I witnessed such kindness there, at the same time as there was ruthless slaughter.”

Xnity, Judaism and Islam have so much in common, but instead of working from a place of commonality, all three has chosen to be at odds.

Early on Calum was very friendly toward Leila and then happy about Fergus hand fast with her. I wondered why. I’m glad Claire Delacroix explained why Calum was so open-minded. It would have really bugged me for Calum to be so gung-ho about Leila, and have it passed off as normal or unexceptional without some sort of explanation how he came to have such expansive views for the time.



Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Alright, just getting started. I really enjoyed the prologue! I really like how her character’s attraction tend to start in regard for each other’s character. It makes it feel more substantial and ..."

Absolutely. Leila’s admiration/love for Fergus isn’t a simple crush or hero-worship. She has taken a measure of the man and his character!


message 44: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Jul 30, 2018 05:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Ok, I just realized I am only through 3.

So, I can see why Becca became frustrated with Fergus. He is really struggling with the fact isobel did not keep her word. That must have been a good reaso..."


I think since he was apart from Isobel for so long, he built up an image of her (imagined) virtues that did not match her character.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: .Callum — great father figure from what I can tell so far, but he must have ceded to Fergus’ judgement too much in the past. It’s giving Fergus a spoiled child feel, who thinks he is always right.


.."


This was a brilliantly keen observation Joanna!

Fergus is stubborn and very accustomed to following his own inclinations, so it seems, even in the face of good advice. Etirely possible hecwascindulged as an only child by his parents!


message 46: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Ok, I just realized I am only through 3.

So, I can see why Becca became frustrated with Fergus. He is really struggling with the fact isobel did not keep her word. Tha..."


Yes, and while good at heart, his judgement in matters of the heart at least have not really been put to the test. He just assumes his inclination = a good decision.

I can relate to him in this. It is tough knowing if fate had not acted or some other force, you may have made a terrible, miserable decision.


message 47: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "So far I think it’s working fine.

How far are you Andrea?"

I’m sorry. I have fallen behind. I finished ch 9. Will read more this eveung.

I’m going to post today comm..."


No worries, Andrea! I have seen some of your updates and know you’ve been keeping up with a lot. I finally had a good chunk of time to read that I went for it. Considering how long it took us to get to this one, it’s no surprise that we were at different paces.


message 48: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 06, 2018 12:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Ch 14

Was that selfish? Did she make too emotional a choice? Leila’s thoughts spun and she knew it was because she had no anchor, no friend, no one to hear her worst fears and dispel them, either with laughter or practicality. She had no one in whom she could confide, no one she trusted fully, no one who would tell her when she was wrong.

This is the real isolation of Leila’s situation. She figured out that she would need to win allies, and she has been winning the respect of the people in the community. However, she doesn’t have a trusted friend or confidant to talk her down off the ledge.

Also in Ch 14, L is reminiscing on missing her cousin and has thoughts about how kind and hardworking Aziza’s husband is. Why didn’t her uncle choose a nice kind man as a husband for Leila? Why choose a violent brute? Does the uncle hate Leila?

Ch 15

Very satisfying that (view spoiler)


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments I finished the book.

This is not my fave of the all four that I have read, but that is par for the course with series books. I still need to draft my review.

I agree, that was too (view spoiler)

One thing that CD did as a good job with was eventually explaining why Calum was so receptive to having an "infidel" for a daughter in law. Based on what I know of the the role of the church, the mindset and the crusades, it would have really bugged me that Calum embraced Leila without some sort of explanation as to why he is so "broad minded," or had views unlike his contemporaries including his own wife.


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Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4107 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "I finished the book.

This is not my fave of the all four that I have read, but that is par for the course with series books. I still need to draft my review.

I agree, that was too [spoilers remov..."


Yes, that was well done, and while Alasdair was a quaint addition, but it does leave you with more certainty of her continued welcome.


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The Crusader's Bride (other topics)

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Claire Delacroix (other topics)