Jolabokaflod – the Christmas Giveaway

Competition Closed

And the winner is …. Sue Barnard.

Thank you to everyone who entered. If you do get a copy of any of my books, either for yourself or others, please get in touch via the ‘contact me’ page and I will send you out a signed book plate to pop in the front.

My very best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and amazing New Year!

It is my pleasure to be the one to kick of the Historical Writers’ Forum Christmas Advent Blog Hop. And what better way to celebrate the end of 2020 with a book giveaway or special offer for practically every day of advent – so be sure to follow the blog hop through our Facebook page.

You could be a winner!

This year we are celebrating with Jolabokaflod as our Christmas blog hop theme! If you are not familiar with Jolabokaflod, it is the wonderful Icelandic tradition of giving books as gifts on Christmas Eve – except we are doing it for Advent.

And my contribution to Jolabokaflod is a signed paperback copy of my first book, Heroines of the Medieval World – either for yourself or as a gift for a friend or loved one – the dedication is entirely up to you!

Heroines of the Medieval World Giveaway!

Heroines of the Medieval World looks at the lives of the women who broke the mould: those who defied social norms and made their own future, consequently changing lives, society and even the course of history. Some of the women are famous, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was not only a duchess in her own right but also Queen Consort of France through her first marriage and Queen Consort of England through her second, in addition to being a crusader and a rebel. Then there are the more obscure but no less remarkable figures such as Nicholaa de la Haye, who defended Lincoln Castle in the name of King John, and Maud de Braose, who spoke out against the same king’s excesses and whose death (or murder) was the inspiration for a clause in Magna Carta. Women had to walk a fine line in the Middle Ages, but many learned to survive – even flourish – in this male-dominated world. Some led armies, while others made their influence felt in more subtle ways, but all made a contribution to their era and should be remembered for daring to defy and lead in a world that demanded they obey and follow.

The Jolabokaflod Giveaway!

The giveaway is a signed and dedicated – for you or someone you love – paperback copy of my first book, Heroines of the Medieval World. The giveaway is open worldwide – and I will do my best to get the book to you in time for the big day, wherever you are.

Here is a taster:

From Chapter 3: Medieval Mistresses

The most successful of mistresses must be Katherine Swynford, the one mistress who defied the odds and eventually married her man, thus spawning a multitude of novels and love stories. Katherine was born around 1350; she was the younger daughter of Sir Payn Roelt, a Hainault knight in the service of Edward III’s queen, Philippa of Hainault, who eventually rose to be Guyenne King of Arms. Unfortunately, the identity of her mother has never been established, not an unusual situation when you think Katherine was born to an obscure knight and her significance only became evident later in life. Katherine and her older sister, Philippa,
appear to have been spent their early years in Queen Philippa’s household. Philippa de Roelt (or Rouet) joined the household of Elizabeth de Burgh, wife of Lionel of Antwerp, where she met her future husband, the literary giant of his age, Geoffrey Chaucer.

By 1365 Katherine was serving Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster, the first wife of John of Gaunt. John was the third surviving son of Edward III and Queen Philippa, and had married Blanche, co-heiress of Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster, in 1359. Soon after joining Blanche’s household, Katherine was married to Sir Hugh Swynford of Coleby and Kettlethorpe, Lincolnshire. Sir Hugh was a knight and tenant of John of Gaunt, who would serve with his lord on campaigns in 1366 and 1370. The couple had two children, Thomas and Blanche, who was named after the duchess. John of Gaunt stood as little Blanche’s godfather and she was raised alongside his own daughters by Duchess Blanche. Following the duchess’s death in September 1368, Katherine became governess to the duke’s three children: Elizabeth, Philippa and Henry. Three years after the death of Blanche, in September 1371, John married again, this time to a Spanish princess, Constance of Castile, the daughter of Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile, and Maria de Padilla, the king’s concubine-turned-wife. The marriage was a dynastic move, with Constance being heiress to the kingdom of Castile there was a distinct chance of John becoming King of Castile, if only John could wrest it from her father’s killer and illegitimate brother, Henry of Trastámara. From January 1372, he assumed the title of King of Castile and Leon, though in name only as he was never able
to consolidate his position.

Shortly after the marriage of John and Constance, in November 1371, Sir Hugh Swynford died while serving overseas, leaving Katherine a widow with two very young children; the youngest was probably less than two years old. It was not long after Sir Hugh’s death that Katherine became John of Gaunt’s mistress; although some sources suggest the couple were lovers even before Sir Hugh’s death, which has brought into question the paternity of Katherine’s eldest son by John of Gaunt. However, the majority of historians agree the relationship between John and Katherine started in late 1371 or early 1372 and was developing well in the spring of that year, when Katherine received rewards and a significant increase in her status within Gaunt’s household….

It’s easy to enter!

The competition is open to everyone, wherever you are in the world. To win a signed and dedicated copy of Heroines of the Medieval World, simply leave a comment below, on the Historical Writers Forum Blog Hop Facebook Page or on my own Facebook page and I will include you in the prize draw.

The draw will be made on Sunday 6 December 2020.

Good Luck!

And don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog hop!

Dec 4th Alex Marchant; Dec 5th Cathie Dunn; Dec 6th Jennifer C Wilson; Dec 8th Danielle Apple; Dec 9th Angela Rigley; Dec 10th Christine Hancock; Dec 12th Janet Wertman; Dec 13th Vanessa Couchman; Dec 14th Sue Barnard; Dec 15th Wendy J Dunn; Dec 16th Margaret Skea; Dec 17th Nancy Jardine; Dec 18th Tim Hodkinson; Dec 19th Salina Baker; Dec 20th Paula Lofting; Dec 21st Nicky Moxey; Dec 22nd Samantha Wilcoxson; Dec 23rd Jen Black; 24th Lynn Bryant


My Books

Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England  looks into the relationships of the various noble families of the 13th century, and how they were affected by the Barons’ Wars, Magna Carta and its aftermath; the bonds that were formed and those that were broken. It is now available from Pen & SwordAmazon and from Book Depository worldwide.

Also by Sharon Bennett Connolly:

Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest traces the fortunes of the women who had a significant role to play in the momentous events of 1066.  Available now from Amazon,  Amberley Publishing, Book Depository.

Heroines of the Medieval World tells the stories of some of the most remarkable women from Medieval history, from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Julian of Norwich. Available now from Amberley Publishing and Amazon and Book Depository.


You can be the first to read new articles by clicking the ‘Follow’ button, liking our Facebook page or joining me on Twitter and Instagram.

©2020 Sharon Bennett Connolly 

21 thoughts on “Jolabokaflod – the Christmas Giveaway

  1. ailsabusby 03/12/2020 / 09:37

    I would really love to own this book. The medieval era is one that L would like to learn more about.
    Thank you


  2. Marsha 03/12/2020 / 11:04

    Fabulous giveaway!
    Thank you for the chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn Dawson 03/12/2020 / 11:30

    What a great giveaway, I’d definitely be happy with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicola Moxey 03/12/2020 / 11:36

    Meeee! I need a copy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. alexmarchantblog 03/12/2020 / 12:43

    Reblogged this on The Order of the White Boar and commented:
    And… we’re off!
    Here’s the first blog post with fantastic giveaway from Sharon Bennett Connolly – why not head off to her blog to read an excerpt and see what you can win?
    The full line up for the blog hop can be found at:

    Dec 4th Alex Marchant; Dec 5th Cathie Dunn; Dec 6th Jennifer C Wilson; Dec 8th Danielle Apple; Dec 9th Angela Rigley; Dec 10th Christine Hancock; Dec 12th Janet Wertman; Dec 13th Vanessa Couchman; Dec 14th Sue Barnard; Dec 15th Wendy J Dunn; Dec 16th Margaret Skea; Dec 17th Nancy Jardine; Dec 18th Tim Hodkinson; Dec 19th Salina Baker; Dec 20th Paula Lofting; Dec 21st Nicky Moxey; Dec 22nd Samantha Wilcoxson; Dec 23rd Jen Black; 24th Lynn Bryant


  6. Debra Kooiman 03/12/2020 / 14:55

    I have to say, I look forward to your posts everyday. There are so many gems of history. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy Jardine 03/12/2020 / 15:11

    I have this wonderful book already but thanks for reminding me about Geoffrey Chaucer’s wife. 🙂
    p.s. -I just moved my copy of The Canterbury Tales to my ‘new-look dining/writing room’ bookshelf, that’s now right next to my desk, and was tempted to start to re-read it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon Bennett Connolly 03/12/2020 / 15:15

      Thank you Nancy.
      I actually got to see a first edition of Canterbury Tales at Lincoln Cathedral a couple of years ago. It was amazing!


  8. carylblake 03/12/2020 / 15:36

    Love your blogs and books – so many of the names are in my family tree and it brings them to life for me! I would love to win this one!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Chandler Thomasson 03/12/2020 / 15:42

    Thank you so much. I would like to get the book .


  10. christopher heathfield 03/12/2020 / 16:46

    Thanks for the offer to win such a great book

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Leo Kenzij 03/12/2020 / 18:25

    Thank you so very much for a chance to win this book. I am sure many long hours have gone into research.


  12. naomilever86 03/12/2020 / 21:00

    This sounds fascinating- I’m particularly intrigued by the murder of Maud! A historical crime novel in the making…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Elisabeth Millard 04/12/2020 / 04:08

    Its a fabulous book

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lisa 04/12/2020 / 11:18

    This book looks great. Thanks so much for the lovely giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. amymc1306 05/12/2020 / 11:57

    This is a fabulous idea, I love the idea of Jolabokaflod, sounds like the perfect tradition to me. Thank you for this advent opportunity and bringing Christmas cheer to us readers, Merry Christmas Sharon 🎄


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