Authors Spotlight: The Hannah’s Heirloom Trilogy, By Rosie Chapel.

The Pomergranate Tree (Hannah’s Heirloom Trilogy) Book 1

The Pomegranate Tree Front Cover 320dpi

Hoping to trace the origins of an ancient ruby clasp, a gift from her long dead grandmother, Hannah Wilson travels to the fortress of Masada with her best friend, Max.

Strange dreams concerning a rebel ambush begin to haunt Hannah and following a tragic accident, she slips into the world of Ancient Masada. A woman out of time, Hannah must rely on her instincts and her knowledge of what will befall this citadel to survive.

Will she escape, or is she doomed to die along with hundreds of others as Masada falls – and what does any of this have to do with an ancient ruby clasp?

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Authors Inspiration : The Pomegranate Tree.

Ancient history in all its forms has always fascinated me and, as is mentioned in my bio, recently I returned to University to immerse myself in it, rather than remain an armchair historian. I was lucky enough to have a lecturer for a Roman history unit whose passion for her subject was infectious. Before long I was completely spellbound by the Julio-Claudian Emperors and their successors during the first century AD.

After completing my undergraduate degree, my husband suggested I try my hand at writing, putting my love for history to a different use. Although the idea appealed to me – writing a book had long been a dream of mine – I didn’t think I had it in me and wasn’t I too old anyway? Even if I decided to give it a go, what would I write about? How did I come up with an original storyline?

One day, I came across an old assignment, which mentioned King Herod’s restructuring of an isolated citadel in the Judaean desert. A spark flickered into life; this was the fortress at Masada, where in the first century AD there had been a rebel ambush, a massacre and a vengeful Roman army. All great scenarios around which I could base a story, could I make something of this?

Devouring every piece of information I could find on the history of this fortress and the archaeological excavations, the spark became a little brighter and an idea started percolating, one that intrigued me, but one I struggled to pin down. Then I remembered that according to the only surviving ancient source, seven people – two women and five children – had survived the massacre and inspiration hit. One of these women could be my heroine. I also discovered that skeletal remains had been found during one of the early excavations and I started to play with the notion that one or two soldiers might have survived the rebel attack. Wounded, but rather than killed, were treated then held as captives to be used as bargaining tools should the need arise.

Then, I added a further complication, deciding to include a modern heroine, related to the woman who survived and, that somehow they connected across time. Not time travel in the accepted sense, she wouldn’t actually disappear from her own world, more that her sub-conscious mind would meld with that of her ancestor. She would see the events as they occurred and could use her knowledge of what would happen to save those she loved.

The Pomegranate Tree was born. An unusual title I know, but I decided to call it this for several reasons. Firstly, it seems that pomegranate trees can grow in the most arid of places and against all the odds often survive even the harshest weather. My story revolves around two couples who found each other in the most unexpected place, fall in love and against all odds survive. Secondly, an early excavation team planted pomegranates during a festival and apparently the bushes flourished. Thirdly, it confirmed Josephus’ claim that the citadel was capable of supporting all manner of growing things — I do like it when an ancient source is proven correct. Finally although pomegranates are quite scrubby trees, their fruit is delectable and I liked that a rather coarse tree can produce such flawless fruit. This synthesis reflected the characters of Maxentius and Hannah. A battle hardened and, now captive, Roman soldier meets a petite and beautiful Hebrew woman, trained in the art of healing. By rights they should be sworn enemies, yet they complement each other perfectly.

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Customer Review.

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I devoured this book in just a few days and yesterday, despite being very tired I couldn’t go to sleep until I’d finished it as I was too tantalisingly close to the end. I was completely swept up in the story and loved the elements of history, time travel and modern day excavations. The relationships between the main characters were beautifully written, capturing the right mix of innocence and passion. I’m just sad to be leaving the wonders of Masada behind now but I’m looking forward to the next instalment.

Authors Inspiration: Echoes of Stone and Fire.

About half way through writing The Pomegranate Tree, I realised that I could not say goodbye to my characters after one book. Hannah’s journey refused to be contained within one novel. My main challenge with developing this second book was to come up with another convincing scenario. It didn’t take me long to recall that the eruption of Vesuvius and its destruction of Pompeii in AD79, was close enough in time to the events on Masada to work. I just needed a valid reason why Maxentius and Hannah would be living in the doomed city, so far from Masada and what would prompt my modern couple to be visiting. This second book, entitled Echoes of Stone and Fire follows Hannah, as she is accepted as one of the physicians at the Gladiators’ School, and Maxentius as he is appointed Garrison Commander of Pompeii’s peacekeeping unit, set up to monitor unrest within the port city.

Echoes Front Cover 320dpi

Echoes of Stone and Fire ~ Hannah’s Heirloom ~ Book Two

Pompeii – a vibrant city lost in time following the AD79 eruption of Vesuvius. Now rediscovered, archaeologists yearn for an opportunity to uncover the town’s past. Some things however, are best left alone – revealing the secrets hidden beneath the stones could prove perilous. Hannah and Max are brought to Pompeii by a surprise invitation to join an excavation team who are trying to uncover the city’s long history.

After entering an excavated house that bears a Hebrew inscription, Hannah’s two worlds collide and she falls back through time to ancient Pompeii. A place where her ancestor is a physician to gladiators engaged in mortal combat, where riotous mobs run amok and where a ghost from the past returns to haunt her.

Will Hannah and her loved ones manage to escape the devastation she knows is coming, before the town is engulfed in volcanic ash? Will she ever find her way back to Max the love of her life, waiting not so patiently millennia away? Or will echoes be all that remain?

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Customers Review.

By Mr. C. Lingard on 9 Mar. 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This beautifully written and easy to read account of life in the doomed city of Pompeii during the days and hours prior to the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius is an excellent sequel to the author’s recent “The Pomegranate Tree”. A ‘must’ for all who like well researched history with a flavour of romance. C.L.

Authors Inspiration: Embers of Destiny.

While researching Echoes I decided to turn Hannah’s journey into a trilogy – as you do – and really wanted to set the final book in Roman Britain. I grew up in the north of England not far from Hadrian’s Wall and wondered whether it would be feasible to have Hannah and Maxentius travel there with a unit of soldiers to supplement an established garrison. Recent aerial surveys pinpointed several forts along this frontier set up long before the famous stone wall constructed during Hadrian’s reign. Originally temporary marching camps, they evolved into wooden forts before eventually being rebuilt in stone, indicating long term settlement.

Soon I was engrossed in everyday military life on the edge of Empire. A garrison like this was usually made up from detachments of soldiers, drawn from two or three legions based elsewhere in the province. It was also fascinating to learn all about the lives of the local tribespeople, those native to the area who had been subjugated by the invading Romans. I admit to getting quite lost in the world of Roman Britain for several weeks and loved every minute of it.

Embers of Destiny is the culmination of that research and is the final book in the sequence – well it should have been. However, as happened when I wrote The Pomegranate Tree, I am not quite ready to let go and have begun a prequel – watch this space.

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Embers of Destiny ~ Hannah’s Heirloom ~ Book Three

AD80 ~ Hannah and Maxentius must embark on a new journey to Northern Britannia. This harsh frontier is far from the comforts of Rome and danger lurks where least expected; a garrison of soldiers, some unhappy with their isolated posting; local tribes people, outwardly accepting of their Roman occupier, but who may still resent the seizure of their lands.

Millennia away, Hannah Vallier finds a familiar item while working in a museum near Hadrian’s Wall. It is the pomegranate; carved by Maxentius on Masada. Realising her ancient family must have lived on the frontier, Hannah needs

to talk to Max, but before they get the chance, disaster strikes! Believing Max to have been killed, Hannah retreats into the past, her soul melding with that of her ancestor. This time Hannah has no idea what they could face. Are they at risk from the conquered tribes, or is the menace closer to home?

As rebellion threatens to shatter a fragile peace, Hannah’s heart whispers that maybe, just maybe Max isn’t dead and that he is calling her home. Can she trust her heart or will she remain caught out of time, her destiny floating away like embers on a breeze.

Customers Review.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Rosie Chapel once again weaves romance with researched insight into life in the Roman Empire. A compelling narrative and beautiful conclusion to the relationships of the leading characters, leaving the reader hoping for more to come.

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3 thoughts on “Authors Spotlight: The Hannah’s Heirloom Trilogy, By Rosie Chapel.

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