Love Lost in Time
By Cathie Dunn
A word from Cathie....
Thank you so much, Mary Anne, for hosting me today. I’m delighted to share a few thoughts with your readers about my home of the last four years.
I’m fortunate to live in the historic town of Carcassonne, in Languedoc in southern France. The whole area is full of history, with settlements dating back to historic times. The Romans founded many towns and cities that still exist today. Remnants of Visigoth graveyards dot the landscape. When the Franks arrived, the area then known as Septimania retained a certain degree of autonomy (something that many here claim continues to date).
In many villages and towns, you will find memorials to the Cathars – a religious group that split from the Catholic Church – which was persecuted fiercely by the early and mid-13th century. Castle ruins perched high on hills invite you for a steep hike, their history entwined with the Cathar movement.
During the Second World War, the resistance movement was particularly strong in the region, leading to many casualties. The French are still holding regular memorial ceremonies on specific dates, more so than most other nations. There are well-tended war memorials even in the smallest villages and hamlets.
People here remember. They also like their sense of independence. Parts of Catalonia are to be found north of the Spanish border, and both Catalan and Occitan languages is still taught and in use locally. I might try my hand at Occitan one day, once I’ve perfected my French!
For a writer of historical fiction, this region is paradise. That’s why I based my last release, Love Lost in Time, right here. A dual-timeline story, it is set in 2018 and the late 8th century, when Charlemagne expanded his kingdom southwards. And my current work in progress, a medieval murder mystery series called the Loup de Foix Mysteries, deals with life during the crusades against the Cathars, but from a non-Cathar point of view. Loup was a real character, the illegitimate son of the Count of Foix, though little is known about him. Some charters bear his name, though, and he gained his own lordship through marriage. There’s so much fascinating history to use. I can see I’m going to have fun for years to come…
Love Lost in Time
A tale of love, death and redemption…
Languedoc, southern France
Madeleine Winters discovers ancient female bones under her kitchen floor. How did the woman end up buried, all alone, in that particular spot in the Cabardès hills?
And why was her back broken?
Septimania, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
Seventeen-year-old Nanthild must marry Count Bellon of Carcassonne, a Visigoth, as part of his peace agreement with Charlemagne. As a wise-woman, she continues to visit those in need of her help during Bellon’s frequent absences. But dangers lurk on her journeys…
The hills near Carcassonne, Septimania
She woke to complete darkness.
As she tried to blink, earth covered her eyes. The dull thud of pain pounded in her head. She lifted it, only to find that she could not move. Her hands were tied behind her back, and her full weight bore onto her wrists and fingers. She could not feel her legs, as if they had dislodged.
Breathing was impossible. She opened her mouth to cry out, but all that emerged was a bare whimper, a sound suppressed by earth and stones. She spat but there was nowhere for it to go. The earth turned to sticky mud as it mingled with her saliva.
In desperation, she swallowed, gagging. But with every short breath she took, more earth blocked her nose.
Then her memory returned. And with it the terror.
He had buried her alive.
‘I curse you and your offspring in perpetuity…’
The Coffee Pot Book Club
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Love Lost In Time
Cathie Dunn writes historical mystery and romance. After many years spent in Scotland, she now lives in Carcassonne in the south of France with her husband, two cats and a rescue dog.
Cathie’s novels cross several genres: historical fiction, adventure, murder mystery, and romance. Readers have praised her for her authentic settings.
Cathie is currently working on the first instalment in a new medieval murder mystery series, the Loup de Foix mysteries and on a novel set during the infamous Affair of the Poisons during the reign of Louix XIV.