Guest Blog: Deanna Rutledge Paperback to Commenter--WINNER: Debra Pruss
Updated: Apr 18
Hi, I’m Deanna Rutledge and for nearly 20 years I taught English and history to high school students in Honolulu, Hawaii. I taught in Christian schools and also scheduled classes for homeschool students in my spare time. When my pastor husband retired, we returned to the mainland and settled in Virginia. We are so happy to be near family now, especially our young grandchildren (aka the Two Tornadoes) and not thousands of miles away. It is such a joy to see them grow and mature. My Hawaii students loved books set in the Middle Ages: lords and ladies, castles and knights and all of that. But moving to Virginia I discovered another plus. I now had the time to write my own historical fiction with strong Christian themes, set in that same exciting era: the Age of Chivalry and Romance.
It was important to me that the history was as accurate as possible. Little did I realize when I started out, however, how much research that would entail, and how long the process would take. Every little thing had to be researched for accuracy, and it took four years to write the three books in the Return to Trowleigh series. Fortunately, I already knew my young characters. I based my protagonists, a 16 year old girl and a 14 year old boy, on my students, with all their hopes and dreams that I remembered. Every story needs a villain, and lucky for me I was already familiar with Prince John of England. A nastier person you could hardly imagine, and every horrid thing about him historically true. Writing the series was a lot of work, but oh my, such fun!
Tell us about the series:
Book One begins with a horde of Danish savages taking over Trowleigh castle, the ancestral home of the Oliver family, on the orders of Prince John. Years ago, Baron Justin Oliver unwittingly insulted the spoiled prince, who seethed with indignation and vowed revenge. But the baron left on Crusade to the Holy Land and disappeared. Discovering he is now out of reach, the prince turns all the vengeance his wicked soul can devise upon Lord Oliver’s children: Lady Alix, 16, and her younger brother, William. He wants William dead and Alix married against her will to her father’s greatest enemy.
The young people flee the castle and race across country to outrun and outwit the vengeful prince. But, having little experience of the outside world, with a price on their heads, they don’t know whom to trust. They are betrayed, robbed, and abandoned and eventually find themselves in life-threatening situations. It seems impossible to think they would ever return to their secure and happy life at Trowleigh, but as their adventures continue, they learn that they have one powerful ally: the Lord God Himself who, over and over again, shows that He is with them, guiding them, leading them, and protecting them.
Blog reader question:
When I was a student I absolutely hated history. One battle after another. Boring, boring, boring. But then I read two books that changed my mind: Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities (which took me right into the French Revolution), and Tolstory’s War and Peace (which brought Napoleon’s invasion of Russia to life). Since then, I can’t get enough of historical fiction.
Question: What book or books have you read that brought history to life for you?
Book Trailer Link
Return to Trowleigh SeriesA Far and Distant Cry: England, 1193 AD. Lady Alix Oliver, 16, and her brother William, 14, flee across hostile country to outrun and outwit Prince John who has vowed to destroy their noble family. (2021 Selah Award Finalist) On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue: England, 1193 AD. Lady Alix and William take shelter in Fairfield Priory. Soon, however, vile and deadly rumors turn the priory village into chaos. With soldiers banging on the gates, can they rescue their friends from the howling mob before they are discovered? (2022 CMA First Place Winner: Best Books for Youth) There Came a Wounded Knight: England, 1193 AD. In the town of Sudwell, both Lady Alix and William face perilous life and death challenges. Meanwhile, a wounded night on a milk white horse sets a weary course for home. The pulse-pounding conclusion to the Trowleigh adventure series.
Thank you, Deanna, for joining us! These books look wonderful!