Friday, November 28, 2014

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour: Why I Love...the 12th Century by Sherry Jones

If you are a follower of Historical Tapestry then you probably saw my book release post for the Sharp Hook of Love (see HERE) as well as my review of the book  (see HERE). Hint: I loved it! Well now I am honored to have the author of The Sharp Hook of Love, Sherry Jones, on the blog with a wonderful guest post about why she loves the 12th Century. So please enjoy the post and continue below for more information about this wonderful book, its author and the rest of the book blog tour!


The First Renaissance, Abelard, and Heloise: Why I Love the 12th Century
Love, not gravity, makes the world go ‘round, goes the song. What if that were true? If the dawning of day and the fall of night, if the changing of the seasons, if the planet’s very spinning depended on love, we’d all be performing acts of kindness for one another all the time. We’d be loving it up.
I love love. At its best, it ennobles us, inspires us to be our very best selves, to give of ourselves to others. At its worst, it blinds us to others’ failings—but that only harms us if we’ve forgotten that, to love another well, we must love ourselves first.
Love is patient, as the Scriptures say; love is kind. Yes. But love is also messy, bewildering, frustrating, exalting, exciting, frightening, and capricious. Love holds a mirror to those in its thrall, showing us not only the other but our naked selves. And the best writing about love holds a mirror up to this complex emotion, revealing it to us in all its multi-faceted glory and inspiring us to think about love, to feel it, and, perhaps most important, to enact it in our lives.
Self-love wasn’t something they talked about in the early-to-high Middle Ages, or, if they did, they called it “vanity,” or “pride”: one of the Church’s so-called deadly sins. That’s the world in which the 12th-century Parisian scholar Heloise lived, one which cherished community over individuality, sacrifice over personal gain, giving over receiving.
Fortunately, for Heloise and for me, the author telling her tale in my book THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, another dynamic had begun to shape the culture, as well: the awakening of an awareness of the self, making this era one of the most exciting times to be alive in western Europe.
The dawn of a new era
The 12th century heralded the true beginning of the Renaissance Era, or at least as a prelude that set the stage for the rebirth of arts, culture and knowledge so prevalent before the fall of the Roman Empire. A new awareness of the individual as opposed to the collective began to emerge, as well, including questioning of Church doctrines at the highest level.
A number of events, beginning around 1070, led to this reawakening. The marriage of the Frankish King Philip to Bertrade de Montfort, both already married to others, captured the public’s imagination. Their passionate love for each other caused them to defy the Church’s condemnations and excommunications—and transformed marriage from a mere business arrangement, easily broken, to an everlasting affair of the heart.
This scandalous, exciting union—Philip’s repudiated queen, Bertha, left in shame for the convent—stimulated at least one copycat marriage. Around 1115, the already-married Count William of Poitiers, also the Duke of Aquitaine, “abducted” the wife of one of his vassals, a viscountess named Dangerose, and brought her to Poitou to live in the luxury tower he’d built there. They, too, suffered the censure of the Church, but neither seemed to care.
William, a famously seductive ladies’ man of great intellect and wit, wrote bawdy romantic songs, as well, starting the troubadour era from which springs the long tradition of courtly love.
Forbidden love: Heloise and Abelard
From this heady ferment of scholarly debate, rebellion, and passion sprang the love affair of the 21-year-old Heloise with her teacher, Pierre Abelard, the famously brilliant, and arrogant, philosopher and poet whose beautiful love songs made women swoon.
Their society forbade their love. Abelard, as headmaster of the Notre Dame Cloister school and a Church canon, was supposed to be chaste, and Heloise was a single young woman living under the protection of her uncle, a Notre Dame subdeacon. Yet the couple defied these strictures, risking everything to be together, and ultimately losing all except the love itself.
Caught by Heloise’s uncle and torn asunder by his cruel act of revenge, these lovers live on today in our books, movies, art, poems, plays, and songs. We love the story not only because of the shocking nature of Uncle Fulbert’s revenge, but also because their courage and daring for the sake of love inspire us all. In today’s throwaway society, it’s important to be reminded that love, even when beset by so many obstacles and sorrows, can indeed last a lifetime.
Which tale to tell?
In writing about the 12th century, I felt excited and privileged to portray this exciting era. My next book will be much more contemporary, but I know I will return again and again to the 12th Century Renaissance, a time as thrilling as our own.
William of Aquitaine, his granddaughter, Eleanor; Philip and Bertrade; the troubadours; Blanche de Castille; the Crusades: If only time travel had been invented, I’d go to 12th-century France in a heartbeat. Instead, I get to write about it, which may be even better. The question for me is, which story should I tell next?
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Gallery Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
The first retelling of the passionate, twelfth-century love story since the discovery of 113 lost love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard—the original Romeo and Juliet.

“While I sleep you never leave me, and after I wake I see you, as soon as I open my eyes, even before the light of day itself.” —Abelard to Heloise

Among the young women of twelfth-century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Notre-Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.


Praise for The Sharp Hook of Love


“Heloise is the sort of heroine you cannot help rooting for: brilliant and na├»ve, vulnerable and tough. The Sharp Hook of Love will have you up all night holding your breath as you turn each page.” (Rebecca Kanner author of Sinners and the Sea)

“Jones weaves history and passion in a tale full of emotional heft that questions what it means to truly love someone…” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A sensual journey into twelfth century Paris. With a sharp eye for historical detail, Jones weaves an unforgettable, compelling tale about enduring love.” (Lynn Cullen nationally bestselling author of Mrs. Poe)

“Passion and treachery mingle in Sherry Jones’s explosive novel The Sharp Hook of Love. Wrenching and erotic, this is a grand romance in every sense of the word.” (Mary Sharratt author of Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen)


Buy the Book


About the Author


Sherry Jones is the author of five biographical fiction books: The Sharp Hook of Love, about the famed 12th-century lovers Abelard and Heloise; The Jewel of Medina and The Sword of Medina, international — and controversial — best sellers about the life of A’isha, who married the Muslim prophet Muhammad at age nine and went on to become the most famous and influential woman in Islam; Four Sisters, All Queens, a tale of four sisters in 13th century Provence who became queens of France, England, Germany, and Italy, and White Heart, an e-novella about the famous French “White Queen” Blanche de Castille.

For more information please visit Sherry Jones’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Goodreads.


The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, November 25

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, November 26

Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, November 28

Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, November 29

Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, December 1

Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 3

Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 4

Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, December 5

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at Romantic Historical Lovers
Interview at To Read or Not to Read


  1. Definitely following the tour as I'd like to read more about the book

    1. I can't wait to hear what you think, Mystica, if you get the chance to read it!

  2. Many years ago when I was an undergraduate History major, I was torn between being a Mediaevilist or a Classicist. The Classicist eventually won out; however, I still love their story and saw their tomb when I was in Paris (Pere LaChaise). The 12th Century Renaissance was such an important time. I am glad that You think so, too.

    1. How wonderful, Julia! I would LOVE to see the tomb! Maybe someday (sigh).

  3. I was honored to organize also a book tour for this wonderful book in October on France Book Tours. There's actually one more day to enter for a chance to win it: