A Beguine is Not a Nun


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Highlighting Historical Romance with Rue Allyn and her tales of the beguines.

In the middle ages, a nun was a religious female member of the church who took solemn vows. A Beguine is also a religious female who took solemn vows. What’s the difference? Beguines were not members of any church sanctioned group.

A Beguine, according to the Middle English Dictionary is “A member of a lay sisterhood originating in the Netherlands.”  Wikipedia amplifies this rather simplistic definition with greater detail on the origin, purpose and history of this group. That article stats that Beguines were “part of a larger spiritual revival movement of the thirteenth century that stressed imitation of Chirst’s life thorough voluntary poverty, care of the poor and sick and religious devotion.”

However the Beguines were much more than that. They were entrepreneurs who made and sold their own goods to raise money to spend on their charitable works. They were one of the first groups to advocate female independence and decision making. As such, the church considered Beguines heretical and persecuted them whenever possible. These women were the forebearers of modern day women’s rights movements.

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Beguine 1489

Having studied the group in college, I modeled  Lady Juliana Verault, heroine of Knight Errant, after these women. Her entire purpose, until she fell in love, was to do good works and avoid the arranged marriage her guardian had made for her. I could think of no better place for Juliana to ‘hide’ than in a community of like minded women. Her faith in the Beguine way of life caused her to encounter all the same kinds of problems, including persecution, that most Begiunes suffered.

As an author of historical romance, I want to show readers that the events and people of the middle ages had the same sorts of problems we have now. History dresses medieval men and women differently. History gives them different speech habits and dialects. History provides the trappings that make stories set in medieval times unique and interesting. What history cannot do is change the inner workings of the human heart and mind. Those are eternal and universal and the stuff of which stories are truly made.

About the Book: Knight Errant

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Only a runaway bride stands between dour Sir Robert Clarwyn and his heart’s desire—the restoration of his family lands and honor. But capturing the lady is far from easy, and by the time Robert returns her to England for her royally decreed marriage she has captured his heart.

Ordered to marry a Scot for the good of England but against her will; outspoken and outrageous Lady Julian Verault escapes to the continent. Even after the king’s most skilled hunter finds her, she manages to evade every trap except love.

Where to buy it

About Rue Allyn

Author of historical and contemporary romances, I fell in love with happily ever after the day I heard my first story. (Yes, I was a precocious little brat who read at the age of two, but I could hear much earlier than that.) I studied literature for far too many years before discovering that writing stories was much more fun than writing about them. Heck, as an author, I get to read the story before anyone else. I am happily married to my sweetheart of many, many years. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler I love to hear from readers about your favorite books and real-life adventures. Crazy Cat stories are especially welcome. You can send me your words of wisdom . . . Don’t shake your head at me; all words are wise in one context or another. You can trust me on this; I’m an author. As I was saying, you can send your words of wisdom, humor, and friendship to me at Rue@RueAllyn.com. Can’t wait to hear from you.

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2 thoughts on “A Beguine is Not a Nun

  1. Caroline, thank you very much for the opportunity to share the Beguines and Knight Errant with your followers.

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