Rosehaven (Song Series)

Rosehaven (Song Series)

by Catherine Coulter

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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When heiress Hastings Trent is joined with warrior Severin Langthorne in marriage, she must uncover the mystery surrounding a secluded estate known as Rosehaven.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780515120882
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/1997
Series: Song Series , #5
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 486,444
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.71(h) x 0.99(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Catherine Coulter is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the FBI Thrillers featuring husband and wife team Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. She is also the author—with J. T. Ellison—of the Brit in the FBI series. She lives in Sausalito, California.

Read an Excerpt

Early Summer, 1277, East Anglia, England

Oxborough Castle, Home of Fawke of Trent,

Earl of Oxborough


to her, never.

Even as she swore over and over to herself that it

couldn’t be true, she couldn’t stop staring at the man. The

air seemed to stir in seamless folds about him as he stood

utterly still and silent. She knew somehow that he wouldn’t

move, not until he had judged all the occupants of the great

hall of Oxborough Castle. Only then would he act.

His face was dark, his expression calm and untroubled.

Sharp sunlight poured in through the open doors of the

great hall, framing him there as he stood motionless. She

stared at him from the shadows of the winding stone stairs.

She didn’t want to look at him, didn’t want to accept that

he was here at Oxborough. But he was here, and he didn’t

look like he had any intention at all of leaving.

His eyes were as blue as the sea beneath the bright morning

sun, yet they seemed somehow old and filled with

knowledge and experience a man his age shouldn’t possess,

and distant, as if part of himself was locked away. She

could feel the strength of him from where she stood, feel

the determination in him, the utter control, the deliberate

arrogance. He looked to her like the Devil’s dearest friend.

His finely made gray cloak moved and swelled about him

even though there was no wind. The black whip coiled

about his wrist seemed to whisper in that thick, contained

air. But he made no movement. He was still and calm,

waiting, watching.

He wasn’t wearing armor, the whip around his wrist and

the huge sword that was sheathed to his wide leather belt

were his only weapons. He was dressed entirely in gray,

even his boots were a soft, supple gray leather. His tunic

was pewter gray, a rich wool, his undertunic a lighter gray,

fitting him closely. His cross garters were gray leather

strips, binding his leggings close.

No, her father couldn’t mean this. Surely this wasn’t the

man her father had brought to Oxborough to marry her.

Hastings wasn’t afraid. She was terrified. Marry this man?

He would be her husband, her lord? No, surely this couldn’t

be the man, more like he was an emissary from Hades or

a messenger from the mystical shades of Avalon.

Her father wanted to make this man of his line? Leave

him all his possessions and land? Bestow upon him his

titles since all her father had produced was her, a single

female, of little account in the long scheme of things. Except

for this marriage. Except to bind her to a man who

scared her to her very toes.

This was the man her father’s longtime friend Graelam

de Moreton wanted her to marry? Lord Graelam was her

friend, too. She remembered him throwing her squealing

into the air when she was naught but seven years old. Graelam

was as good as family, and he wanted this unearthly

creature to be her husband, too? Indeed it had been Graelam,

now striding into the castle’s great hall, who said this

man was a warrior to be trusted, to be held in respect and

awe, and who held honor more dear than his own soul.

Hastings didn’t know what it meant. Of course she

shouldn’t have heard his views, but she’d been eavesdropping

two months before, bent low in the shadows behind

her father’s chair. Now her father no longer sat in his chair.

He no longer ate his dinner in the great hall, in his finely

carved chair, served by his page and squire, both vying to

give him the tastiest cut of beef. Now he sipped broth in

his bed, praying it would stay calm in his belly.

The man’s cloak seemed to move again and she thought

she’d scream. All the Oxborough people in the great hall

were huddled together, staring at the man, wondering what

would happen if he became their master. Was he violent

and cruel? Would he raise his hand when it amused him to

do so? Would he brandish that whip as her father had done

when he had found that her mother had bedded the falconer?

Hastings hated whips.

The man’s cloak rippled yet again. There was an unearthly

shriek. She stuffed her fist into her mouth and

sucked herself farther back into the shadows.

The man slipped his gloved hand beneath his cloak and

pulled out a thickly furred animal with a bushy tail. There

was a low hiss of fear from all the Oxborough people in

the great hall. Was it a devil’s familiar? No, no, not that,

not a cat.

It was a marten. Sleek, thick-furred, deep brown in color

save for the snow white beneath its chin and on its belly.

She had a beautiful sable cloak made from this animal’s

fur. She’d wager this animal would never have to worry

about being a covering for someone’s back. Not held so

securely by this man. What was this warrior doing with a


The man brought the marten to his face, looked directly

into its eyes, nodded, then very gently slipped it once again

beneath his cloak inside his tunic.

She smiled, she couldn’t help it. The man couldn’t be all

that terrifying if he carried a pet marten next to his heart.

Graelam de Moreton stepped up behind him and slapped

the man on his back—as if he were just a man, nothing

more than a simple man. The man turned and smiled. That

smile transformed him. In that moment when he smiled, he

looked human and very real, but then he wasn’t smiling,

and he was as he had been, a stranger, a dark stranger, with

a marten in his tunic.

The two of them were of a size, both taller than the oak

sapling she’d planted three summers past, big men, too big,

taking too much space, crowding everyone around them.

She’d never feared Graelam, though. She knew from stories

her father had told her since she’d been small that he was

a warrior whom other soldiers backed away from if they

could, that her father had once seen Graelam sever a man

in half with one swing of his sword and kill another three

men with the same grace and power. She had never before

considered that a man could be graceful while he butchered

other men.

‘‘Graelam,’’ the man said, his voice as deep and rough

as a ship pulling at its moorings in a storm. ‘‘It has been

too long since I have tapped my fist into your ugly face

and watched you sprawl to the ground. All goes well with


‘‘Aye, too well. I don’t deserve what I have, the luck

God has bestowed upon me, but I give thanks daily for my

life. I caution you never to call my face ugly in front of

my wife. She has a fondness for it. She may be small but

she is ferocious in her defense of me.’’

The man said, ‘‘She is a special lady, unlike any other.

You know why I am here.’’

‘‘Naturally,’’ Graelam de Moreton said. ‘‘I regret that

Fawke of Trent is very ill and cannot be in the great hall

to welcome you. Hastings should be here to greet you but

I do not see her. We will sup, then I will take you to him.’’

‘‘I wish to see him now. I wish to have this over with

as quickly as possible.’’

‘‘Very well.’’ Graelam nodded to her father’s steward,

Torric, so thin Hastings had once told him that she feared

he would blow away whenever there was a sharp wind off

the sea. Graelam then motioned for the man to precede him

up the winding stone stairs that led to the upper chambers.

‘‘Then,’’ he said to the man’s gray-cloaked back, ‘‘you will

want to meet his daughter.’’

‘‘I suppose that I must.’’

When they were out of sight, Hastings drew a deep

breath. Her future would be sealed at her father’s bedside.

Her future and the future of Oxborough. Perhaps the man

would refuse. She walked into the great hall. She called out

to the thirty-some people, ‘‘This man is here to see Lord

Fawke. We will prepare to dine.’’

But who is he? she heard over and over.

People were whispering behind their hands, as if he

could hear them and would come back to punish them.

Their faces were bright with curiosity and a tinge of fear.

This was the sort of man who would wage a siege and show

no mercy.

She said aloud, ‘‘He is Severin of Langthorne, Baron

Louges. He, Lord Graelam, and their men will dine here.

MacDear, please return to the kitchen and keep basting the

pork with the mint sauce. Alice, see that the bread remains

warm and crisp. Allen, fetch the sweet wine Lord Graelam

prefers.’’ She shut up. They were all staring at her, all filled

with questions. She raised her hands, splaying her fingers

in front of her. ‘‘I believe,’’ she said finally, ‘‘that Lord

Severin is here to wed with me.’’

She didn’t listen to the babble. She was frankly surprised

that everyone, all the way to the scullery maids in the

kitchen, hadn’t known who he was or why he was here. A

well-kept secret. She knew he had just returned from France

to find his older brother murdered, his estate beggared, his

peasants starving, nothing there but devastated fields destroyed

by marauding outlaws.

Aye, he was here to wed her, the heiress of Oxborough.

She’d heard this when her father had asked Graelam what

he knew of the man, what he thought of him and his honor

and his strength. And Graelam had praised Severin, told

him how King Edward had requested Severin ride at his

right hand when they had been in the Holy Land during

those final battles with the Saracens. He had stood beside

Edward on the ramparts at Acre.

He was called Severin, she’d heard Graelam say, then he

would add as he rubbed his callused hands together, ‘‘Aye,

Severin, the Gray Warrior.’’

• • •

‘‘Severin is here, Fawke.’’

Fawke of Trent, Earl of Oxborough, wished he could see

the young man more clearly, but the film that had grown

over his eyes was thicker than it had been just this morning,

blurring everything, even his daughter’s face, which was

good since she looked so much like her mother, and it

pained him to his guts to look at her. Too much pain, and

now death was coming to him. He hated it, yet he accepted

it. At moments like this, he welcomed it, but first he had

to see this through.

‘‘Severin,’’ he said, knowing he sounded weak and despising

himself for it.

The young man gripped his wrist, his hold firm and

strong, but it didn’t hurt Fawke. It felt warm and powerful,

a link to both his past and the future, a future of many

generations, and his blood would continue to flow through

those warriors who would come after him.

‘‘You will wed my daughter?’’

‘‘Aye, I will wed her,’’ Severin said. ‘‘I thank you for

selecting me.’’

Graelam said, ‘‘I have told you she is comely, Severin.

She will please you just as you will please her.’’

Fawke of Trent sensed the young man freeze into stone

when he said in that damnably weak voice of his, ‘‘All I

ask is that you take my name. I have no son. I do not want

my line to die out. You will own all my lands, all my

possessions, collect all my rents, become sovereign to all

my men. You will protect three towns, own most of the

land in the towns, accept fealty from three additional keeps.

I have nearly as much coin as King Edward, but I have

told him I am barely rich, for I don’t wish him to tax me

out of my armor. Aye, you will wed my daughter.’’

‘‘I cannot take your name, Fawke of Trent.’’

Graelam said, ‘‘Severin, you need not efface your own

name. It is long known and you will continue to wear it

proudly. Nay, what is to be done is that you simply add the

family name of Trent to yours and the earl’s title to your current

one. You will then become Severin of Langthorne7

Trent, Baron Louges, Earl of Oxborough. King Edward

agrees and has given his blessing to this union.’’

It would serve, Fawke thought, wishing again that he

could see the young man clearly. His voice was deep and

strong. Graelam had assured him that he was of healthy

stock. He said, ‘‘My daughter will be a good breeder. She

is built like her mother. She is young enough, just eighteen.

You must have sons, Severin, many sons. They will save

both our lines and continue into the future.’’

Oddly, Severin thought of Marjorie. He remembered

clearly the glory of her silvery hair, her vivid blue eyes that

glistened when she laughed and darkened to a near black

when she reached her release. Then her image dimmed. He

had not thought of her in a very long time. She had long

since been married off to another man. She was buried in

a past that he would no longer allow to haunt him.

He said to Fawke, ‘‘Graelam has told me her name is

Hastings. Surely a strange name for either a male or a female.’’

Fawke tried to smile, but the muscles in his face

wouldn’t move upward. He felt the deep weakness drawing

on him, pulling him toward bottomless sleep, but he managed

to say low, ‘‘All firstborn daughters in my line since

the long-ago battle have been named Hastings in honor of

our Norman victory and our ancestor, Damon of Trent, who

was given these lands by William in reward for his loyalty

and valor, and, of course, the hundred men he added to

William’s force.’’

His eyelids closed. He looked waxen. He looked already

dead. He said, voice blurred with pain and weariness,

‘‘Come to me when you are ready. Wait not too long.’’

‘‘Two hours.’’

Graelam motioned for Severin to follow him from the

chamber. He nodded to a woman who went in and sat beside

Fawke of Trent, to watch over him whilst he slept.

‘‘Aye, if we can find Hastings, it will be done in two

hours,’’ Graelam said. ‘‘She is usually working in her herb

garden. Aye, it must be tonight. I am afraid that Fawke

won’t survive until the morrow.’’

‘‘As you will. Trist is hungry. I would feed him before

giving my name to this girl Hastings.’’ Severin reached his

hand into his cloak and pulled out the marten. He raised

the animal to his cheek and rubbed his flesh against the soft

fur. ‘‘No, don’t try to eat my glove, Trist. I will give you

pork.’’ He raised his eyes to Graelam’s face. ‘‘No other of

his species eats much other than rats and mice and chicken,

but when I was captured near Rouen last year and thrown

into Louis of Mellifont’s dungeon, he had more rats on his

dinner plate than a village of martens could eat. He didn’t

have to hunt them down. All he had to do was wait until

one came close, kill it, and eat. After I escaped, he wouldn’t

hunt another rat. I believed he would starve until he decided

that he would eat eggs and pork. It is strange, but he survives

and grows fat.’’

Graelam said, ‘‘He poked his head out a few moments

ago. It seemed to me he didn’t like being in Fawke of

Trent’s bedchamber. He quickly withdrew again.’’

‘‘He remembers the smell of sickness and death from the

dungeon. Not many of us survived.’’

‘‘Aye, well, now he will eat all the pork he wishes.’’

Graelam paused a moment on the winding stone stairs.

‘‘Severin, I have known Fawke and Hastings for a goodly

number of years. Hastings was a clever little girl and she

has grown up well. She knows herbs, and over the years

she has become a healer. She is bright and gentle. She is

not like her mother. As the heiress of Oxborough, she will

fulfill her role suitably. I will have your word that you will

treat her well.’’

Severin said in an emotionless, cold voice, ‘‘It is enough

that I will wed her. I will protect her from the scavengers

who are already on their way here, just waiting for the old

man to die so they can come and steal her. That is all I

promise—that, and to breed sons off her.’’

‘‘If she were not here to be wed, then you would have

to become another man’s vassal. You would still be Baron

Louges but you would watch your lands turn hard and cold

with no men to work them.’’

‘‘They are already hard and cold. There is naught left


‘‘You will have the money to make things right. You

will have Hastings as your wife. She will oversee the management

of Oxborough when you are visiting your other


‘‘My mother wasn’t able to oversee anything. When I

arrived at Langthorne, she was huddled in filth, starving,

afraid to come into the sunlight. I doubt she even recognized

me. She is a woman with a woman’s mind and now

that mind is mired in demons. She is quite mad, Graelam.

She could not hold Langthorne together. She could not do

anything save whine and huddle in her own excrement.

Why would I expect anything different from this Hastings?

From any woman? What do you mean she isn’t like her


‘‘Her mother was faithless. Fawke found she had bedded

the falconer. He had her beaten to death. Hastings isn’t like

her mother.’’ He thought of the girl Severin had wanted to

wed, this Marjorie. He had spoken of her long ago, with a

dimmed longing. Did he think little of her also?

‘‘We will see.’’

Severin was a hard man but he was fair, at least he was

fair to other men. Graelam knew there was nothing more

he could do. He missed his wife and sons. He wanted to

leave as soon as these two were married. He rather hoped

Hastings would approve her father’s choice, though that

didn’t particularly matter.

Customer Reviews

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Rosehaven (Song Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I¿ve found with reading romance stories designed at the time period of Rosehaven, it must be extremely challenging for a modern day author (a woman at that) to write and readers to fantasize about ¿romance¿ during a period when the oppression and atrocities committed against women were at unheard of proportions and their rights equaled that of a cow¿ Rarely do I feel as though the lead male (Severin) should be pitied in stories written during this time period; however I¿ll make an exception for this one. Severin was suddenly thrown into filling the roles of being a husband for Hastings and leader/protector for all of her people, as well as those in his own deteriorating keep. He was the one sought after and requested to take on Hastings¿ dieing father¿s wishes. He stepped up to the challenge as best his experiences and knowledge of what was considered a ¿man¿ during that time period ¿ barbaric, domineering and insensitive most of the time -- true to character for crusading knights during 1277. As far as I¿m concerned, he was consistently disrespected by Hastings ¿ calling him names, insulting him intimately, throwing things at him. She acted so spoiled and haughty. What irked me the most was HER attitude. Especially given her alternative would have been a heartless, desperate, murdering, real ¿toad¿ of a knight. It was obvious he hadn¿t had much experience with virgins the first night he went into lay with her. He really believed what he was doing would make it less painful for her to endure his initial entry, as well as potential pregnancy (i.e. measuring the span of her hips to carry a child to term). He had already suffered the death of a wife and son during child birth. However, as their flaring tempers were put aside, he thought he was truly blessed with having her as a wife - love kicked in and they shared a wonderful, sensual relationship. It was good that Hastings had older, experienced women to consult with; even if their answer to everything seemed to be, `a way to a man¿s heart is not his stomach, but good, constant sex¿¿what a hoot for women to be thinking like that during that time period. I really can¿t say much more about this story than what has already been written and not spoil it for someone. I recommend that when you read it keep it within the social realities of the 12th century. CC did a good job balancing humor, jealousy and mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book multiple times, always love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amm02 More than 1 year ago
Well I love Catherine Coulter's books and usually fall for the leading male, this time I didn't. I was halfway through the book and I still couldnt stand him.  Severin of Langthorne comes to Oxbourough to marry the Earls daughter before he passes. Severin wants Hastings to obey him and be meek and mild, but that is not who she is.  Basically he shows no gratitude and is annoying. She saves his life and he yells at here. She saves a kid from an abusive nurse and he thinks of sleeping with the nurse and keeping her around just to spite Hasting. I think it took to long for things to change. Usually you start to see him love or at least respect her. But I still loved the other parts of the story and will keep reading her books.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good book.It move me in so many ways. No matter how many time I read the book I never get tired of the book. It show you that true love exsist some were in the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved it. What more can I say? I really enjoyed the interaction between Severin and Hastings. With such a strong character as Hastings, I'm even considering naming my daughter after her. Awesome read. I almost cried when I finsihed it. I also enjoyed that Graelam was apart of this book as well. He has been a favorite of mine.