Thursday, August 23, 2012

Today we have a book review and Q&A with CLAIRE ASHGROVE!

Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.
Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.

Let me start with telling you what I did NOT like about this book... Nothing!! I loved this book, everything about it, the story grabbed me from the first paragraph. The characters have depth and the story is imaginative, serious, and lovable all at the same time. These men have been fighting evil darkness for over 900 years and trying to live up to their Oaths as Templar Knights. Merrick is a strong alpha, the leader of his men, who has gained and kept their trust for all these years. Along comes a modern day woman that knocks him completely for a loop. Anne is the woman who wants her life to continue the way it is going, with her promotion going through and to gain the knowledge of how the church was involved with the Templar's end. When she is taken to the home of the Knights Templar she is shocked to realize that they want her to stay forever. The banter between her and Merrick is fantastic, I love how she tries to put him in his place. Each Templar has a mark on his body that should match his "intended" female's mark, the mark can be anything from a scar, tattoo or a birthmark but each mark is the same shape but not in the same locations or even size. After eavesdropping and hearing a private conversation, Anne thinks she should keep her mark to herself, so she doesn't risk Merrick's life. The love that blooms between these two is a great read. I am looking forward to the second, third, fourth, fifth and so on and so on of this series.
My Rating-  5  because I loved it and it was fantastic!!   Wendy

Q. How did the story line and characters develop in your mind for THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLARS series?
Gosh… start out with one I have to think about, huh? Laugh! That’s no fair.
Actually, the series was a product of over a year of research. I’m not entirely certain where all that started to click into a single idea, but I had a few elements that I knew I wanted to include, and geared accumulated research toward that. For instance, the relics. In Immortal Surrender (Book 2), the Sudarium of Oviedo – I wanted something slightly more obscure that could be worked with to fit the story needs as opposed to say, the Shroud of Turin. So I studied different religious relics until I found the ones that fit with the particular role I needed them to play.
As far as the characters, usually my characters just jump out at me when I sit down to write. I don’t spend a great deal of time “studying” them. Merrick came to life through Anne’s eyes, in the first scene where she sees him in the past. From that point forward it was all about developing heroines who complimented the knights’ needs.
It was fun playing with theology and speculating on history. I love those opportunities and the series has fed that love very well, for me.

Q. With 6 knights in the story, there are several subplots going on. Is juggling so many different facets difficult to pace from story to story, as you plan to reveal each Knight in their own book?
Actually, no. I guess it was when I laid out the series outline—it took a bit of coordinating and planning. But once I discovered who went where, and which relic applied to what aspect, everything else was smooth sailing. The caveat being: I love to plot and the more intricate the easier for me. It’s knocking down plot for shorter stories that is difficult for me. I think that may be because of my background in epic fantasy. I’m used to detailed, extensive, roiling plots.

Standing in the shadows behind Claire today is Merrick. He felt it was important to escort Claire and ensure her safety to visit with us today. As I peek around Claire’s shoulder, I clear my throat and ask Merrick if I can ask him a few questions. I see a slight nod of his head so I rush on with what I want to ask

Q. In the beginning the road was a bit rough between you and Anne. You seemed to truly understand her need to conceal her mark from you. How are the two of you settling into being a married couple?
(A faint smile lifts a corner of his mouth.) I would say we are settling in quite well. ‘Tis really no large change from the life we began, but the freedom to enjoy one another is immensely satisfying. She inspired and continues to do so. I suspect she always shall. If I could but get her to relent on the menus, and spend more time with swords to insure her safety, ‘twould be a life of perfection.

Q. I understand you were upset when Anne was found missing, but with time do you think wounds between you and Tane will mend just a little?
I have no wish to speak of the traitor.

Q. How are your sword lessons with Anne coming?
(Merrick laughs.) She is an apt pupil who learns her paces quickly, but her heart is not a warrior’s. She is best suited as Lady du Loire, and managing a disorderly household, a task which I daresay, she quite thoroughly enjoys.

Q. Do you think updating the menu is only the first step that Anne has in mind for the other mates that are coming? See any soft plushy couches in the game room in the future- lol?
Nay, I do not foresee that she will seek to instill comforts on the Order. She understands ‘tis not our way. We are not accustomed to comforts and after centuries of doing without ‘tis a bit odd, in truth. ‘Tis a gift of unimaginable proportions that I should rest my head upon feathers and know the luxury of mine own chambers.

Shifting his stance and crossing his arms over his chest after answering that last question, I can tell Merrick has had enough so I place my focus back to Claire. I must have a bit of a scared look on my face because Claire reassures me with a warm smile and a wink

Q. Claire, Have you heard any positive feedback from the new menu from the Knights?
I have! Those men won’t dare confess it—they’d think they were being soft—but I hear great things about the quality of their meals. Caradoc most specifically has complimented Anne’s changes.

Q. Out of all the Knights, which have you heard, puts his shirt & sword outside his door the most?

In the background I hear a low grunt of disapproval over my question, but Claire ignores it as she goes on,.....

That’s easy—Sir Gareth. But can you blame him? I mean…he can hardly help himself.

Q.  Do you have a favorite scene in IMMORTAL HOPE?
My favorite is the afternoon those two spend trying to catalogue her mark. I love the way Anne got under Merrick’s skin, and even more, how the big guy couldn’t take it. When he snapped… boy did he ever. Mmm-mm.

Catching a glimpse of Merrick again, I push my luck,.........

Q. How about you Merrick, what is your favorite moment told by Claire?

Much as I would like to detest that day, I cannot say I do. (He grumbles.) ‘Twas a…wonderful beginning. Though indeed, I am also partial to the first battle I returned from. I have never been treated with such…heart.

Q.  What is in the future for this outstanding series?
Well, next month, Farran has a story to share! That one, I am particularly anxious for all of you to learn. We’ll continue on, fighting the good fight, hopefully mending a few souls along the way. There are some startling surprises coming though, so be prepared!

Thanks for stopping by Claire, I know Merrick is anxious to return to the Temple. Is there anything you would like to tell us before you go?
Yes, yes! Don’t miss Immortal Surrender coming September 25th! RT just gave it four stars, and it’s probably one of my favorites in the series. Farran… (happy sigh).
Claire catches Merrick’s lifted eyebrow.
Hey! You’re married. I can have a crush on all of you at once, yes? It’s not like I get to take you home with me. I just have to visit and watch, wistfully.

Be sure to stop by Claire's website at

Leave a comment or question for Claire and be entered in a SWAG BAG giveaway with a yummy book from our treasure chest included !!
Just remember, leave your email address and please be a follower of this blog. (US residents only)


  1. I've read 89 books this year and I have to say that this book was my favorite out of all of them. I had the privilege to read book 2 already and I LOVED it too.
    Can you tell us the order of the books? Who is going to be in book 3?

  2. I have not read anything by Claire since this is the 1st that I have hear of her but now that I know what I have been missing I will be sure to add this book to my BR list. Thanks for the introduction!!


  3. Wendy, Wendy, Wendy... no. Laugh! All I am saying is the third book is Immortal Trust. Coming out of book two, that might give you a good guess. But you will hear nothing from me about book three until near the end of the release gala for book two. Hee hee. (Darn those authors!!)

    1. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.. I am torn between two of them- one that can't trust anyone and the other, who people should not trust. I will be a good little girl and wait but just to let you know, it's killing ME!!! :)

  4. Melissa,

    I hope you enjoy the read!! You'd be coming in at the right time too -- no waiting between this one and Immortal Surrender. Not much at least :)

  5. This series is AWESOME! I love it when I find a book that I just can not put down, and this is, without a doubt, one of them.

  6. Thank you for the giveaway! I can't wait to start reading this series. Claire Ashgrove sounds like an amazing author :)

  7. Ok Wendy has got me wanting to read this book now. Thanks for stopping by Claire and for the giveaway. This sounds great and it will be added to my TBR.

  8. Wow, this sounds wonderful. I can't wait to start reading it. Thank You

  9. I read this book when it first came out and I LOVED it. I loved the contemporary PNR with a historic feel. I also got to read Farran's story for a review and it was really awesome.

    Thanks for the enjoyable interview and for the giveaway opportunity.

  10. I've not heard of this series before now I'll have to read it. I loved the questions and answers very fun.
    thanks for the giveaway.

  11. yet another series i have been sleeping on.. I love forward to changing that..

  12. This book is just AWESOME!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I will definitely be reading it again ♥ I have been waiting....and waiting......annnnd waiting for the next book to come out! I'm so happy to see that it is FINALLY coming!!!

  13. i haven't heard of this series yet but i will be looking into for sure! Thanks for the giveaway too!!

  14. Going to have to put the book at the top of to be rfead...
    woould love to win.. sound wonderful

  15. aweosme Q & A !!! This book is fantastic if you havent read it you should ty for sharing this is a truelly unsung book that should have way more phrases

    im a new follower as SiNn