My childhood daydreams of castles and princesses led me not only to Grimm, Lang, Perrault, and Anderson fairy tales, but to novel-length YA tales. Even as an adult, I’ve enjoyed the fantasy worlds of Just Ella (Margaret Peterson Haddix) and Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine). Both expand on the story of Cinderella in fun, clever ways. I especially loved reading them with my daughters.
But author Olivia Rae took her castle and princess daydreams in a completely different direction: historical fiction. Last week I featured Salvation, the first book in The Sword and the Cross Chronicles. Revelation follows.
Awards for Revelation:
- Finalist 2016 – Grab Me Contest
- Finalist 2016 – I Heart Indie Contest – Inspirational
- Semi-Finalist 2016 – Kindle Book Awards – Romance
Also check out Olivia’s Secrets of the Queens series:
- A Life Renewed (2020)
- A Life Redeemed (2021)
- A Life Reclaimed — coming soon
Olivia Rae brings an inspirational award-winning tale of intrigue, love, and a faith that can change even the proudest hearts.
King Richard needs a royal wedding…
Richard’s niece, the feisty and resourceful Lady Ariane is to be his pawn. Though she has spent the last ten years living with the infidels in the Holy Land, Richard plans to turn her into a pious Christian lady, one fit to marry the nephew of King Phillip of France and, thus, seal a lucrative contract between the two countries.
But she needs the right teacher.
Proud and fierce, Templar Knight, Julian de Maury believes he has been chosen by God to free the holy city of Jerusalem from Saladin’s evil grip. But when Richard orders Julian to return to England with Lady Ariane and oversee her Christian education, he’s angry and terrified; he has been denied his destiny and England holds a dark secret better left buried. Now he must come to terms with his past and his attraction to the forbidden Lady Ariane.
This is definitely a page turner. I had planned on reading only the first book in the series, but after finishing it, I couldn’t resist jumping into the second. I loved the premise, and was curious to learn about Breanna’s brother, Templar Knight Julian de Maury, only hinted at in the first book.
Julian is thoroughly disappointed to learn of his new order from King Richard: to find, teach, and escort Lady Ariane safely back to England so she will be fit to marry the nephew of France’s King Phillip. Julian sees this command as several steps beneath his life’s calling, which is to serve God by fighting for Jerusalem.
I loved that Julian had to face his own fears, pride, and attraction to Ariane, who is meant for another. Yet part of me was puzzled about that attraction. Though intelligent and clever, with a difficult past to overcome, Ariane is over the top with her antics and rage. But considering everything that happened to her prior, it makes sense. It was fascinating and rewarding to watch how her character arc developed.
I enjoyed the immersion into 12th century England through the world of the Knights Templar. Suspense grew with each chapter, and every event had me guessing. Plenty of action as well as tense character dynamics kept me engaged. Readers of medieval romance will enjoy this. Though this is second in the series, it can be read as a standalone.
Join me for some Q & A with author Olivia Rae.
Questions about Revelation
Did you plan from the outset to write a series? How did you decide to write Julian de Maury’s story next, after Salvation?
Olivia: I wrote Revelation first before I wrote Salvation and it started as a straight romance, not a Christian romance. However, Julian’s story was so entwined with his faith it became a Christian romance. Originally this was written as a stand-alone book, but I was encouraged by fellow author Laura Scott to write a series, which originally was going to be a four-book series, but wound up being six books.
Who or what was your inspiration for Lady Ariane’s character and the plight she found herself in?
Olivia: Really, her character was born out of causing trouble for Julian. Later, I drew inspiration from reading about slaves in the Holy Land during the Crusades. Originally, the Arab people accepted Europeans who were on Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land. However, the flood of pilgrims entering the Holy Land began to worry the Muslim population so they began killing and capturing many of the Christians pilgrims. The Muslim raiders were known as the Assassin. Yes, this is the origin of the Assassin word.
Did the plot stick to a pre-determined plan or did it evolve? What did you want in the story from the get-go? Were there surprises as you wrote?
Olivia: Revelation was always going to be a story about a prideful man who would fall from grace and then be built up again by God. What came as a surprise for me was putting in my God character. I never said he was God and through the books He evolved into his own just like all my characters.
The idea that Julian’s father was killed when Julian rejected his bride at the altar was a huge surprise that my character revealed to me while I was writing the story. This made me understand why Julian was such a rule follower in the Holy Land. He had to be perfect since his father died when he decided to become a Templar instead of getting married.
What additional research did you need to do for Revelation?
Olivia: I did a lot of research for this book. I tried to find as much first source material as possible. Even though this story came out in 2015 it was originally conceived in the 1990’s. Desktop computers were not what they are now. Still I managed to get copies of original documents from libraries in England, Israel, and of course from the U.S. Library of Congress.
Olivia: Book 3, Redemption is Guy’s story. He was Julian’s sidekick in Revelation. Guy had a story that needed to be told.
Book 4, Resurrection was supposed to be the last book of the series. This story is about Hugh, Julian’s brother. I even tried to wrap this story up by having the whole family show up for an archery tournament. However, there were two other knights that I sent off to France. I got so many emails about these two knights that I decided to add two more books to the series, Adoration and Devotion. In all honesty Devotion, is by far my favorite book of them all.
Now you’re into a new series: Secrets of the Queens, set in a different century. What led you there? Do you have a preference for certain time periods?
Olivia: Back in 2009, I went to England and learned about Lady Jane Grey who was queen of England for nine days in 1553. Her life was very tragic. Her father and John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland in an attempt to grab the throne forced Jane to become queen. The coup failed and Jane was executed. She was only sixteen.
The first book in series is a “what if” Lady Jane Grey lived. I enjoyed writing in this time period, but as always, I found a lot of historical contradictions. The struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants was very interesting to research.
Back to Laura . . . On a different note . . .
If you like historical fiction, you might enjoy my recently re-launched novel All That Is Hidden. Set near North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1968, the story highlights the bond of family and the connections of a tight-knit community. Northern exploitation threatens as a father’s hidden past catches up to him and tests family ties. Learn more and watch the trailer here.
In June, I was named a semifinalist in Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade contest for All That Is Hidden.
Additionally, in August, All That Is Hidden became the winner of the Artisan Book Reviews Book Excellence Award.
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Olivia Rae Bio
Olivia Rae is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary inspirational romance. She spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long, boring days in the classroom go by much faster. Nobody was more shocked than her when she decided to become a teacher. Besides getting her Master’s degree, marrying her own prince, and raising a couple of kids, Olivia decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories by adding in what she’s learned as an adult living in a small town on the edge of a big city. When not writing, she loves to travel, dragging her family to old castles and forts all across the world.
Olivia is the winner of the Angel Awards, New England Readers’ Choice Award, Golden Quill Award, American Fiction Award, Illumination Book Awards, and the Southern Magic Award. She has also been a finalist in many other contests including the National Readers’ Choice Awards. She is currently hard at work on her next novel. Learn more on her website here.
Join me next time for another visit with author Olivia Rae.
Meanwhile, have you read Revelation? What books have you enjoyed with a medieval setting? Answer in the comments below.