I'm sure you know how this works by now. I give you the GREAT BEGINNING to a classic book and you guess which book it is. The first correct answer in the comment section, gets you a copy of Elise Cyr's medieval romance SIEGE OF THE HEART. - Don't forget to leave me a way to get hold of you with your guess.

What classic novel begins like this: (I'm keeping it to a medieval theme today)

In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be see at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Wharncliffe Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here we fought many of the most desperate battles during the civil War of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song.
 Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the movie.

Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the movie.

While you're pondering let me tell you a bit about Elise.

Give us your Great Beginning, where were you born and where are you now?

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After college I gradually worked my way west and currently live in New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment is a far cry from the East Coast, but I've come to love this place where the mountains meet the desert.


One word to describe yourself from:

  • You: Determined
  • Your Significant Other: Amazing – at least he'd better think so ;)
  • Your Best Friend: Stubborn
  • Your Mother: Exasperated
  • Your children: Not sure since they don't exist yet.


How did the idea for your book, Siege of the Heart, come about? 

I came at it in a roundabout way: the origins of the book were distinctly fantasy but I found the worldbuilding too overwhelming. Better to fit my story events into a historical time period—a readymade framework to build my book around. My heroine Isabel was no damsel in distress, my hero definitely a knight, and I wanted a period in history full of drama and upheaval. I settled on the Norman Conquest of England, and the rest is history ;)


Tell us how your journey in publishing began?

Once I had a full draft of the book (which took a long time), I workshopped it and entered contests and sent out queries. I got a lot of good feedback, had a couple of close calls, and eventually signed with Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington. It's been a long journey, but I'm so glad to be able to share my book with the world.


Let’s hear the opening lines of your RITA acceptance speech (don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s had this fantasy)

I never expected to be standing here today. Are you sure there hasn't been some mistake?


And now give us that Great Beginning 

December 1066

Northern Gloucestershire, England

At least she now knew the truth.

It was little comfort though, as Isabel Dumont watched the messenger ride out of the bailey. She let out a breath, a feathery cloud on the cold air. The messenger had declined her offer of hospitality, and she did not ask him to reconsider. Instead, she had seen to it his horse was watered and had pressed a gold piece into his palm to ensure his silence.
— Siege of the Heart - Elise Cyr

About Elise Cyr:

Elise has always loved adventure, romance, and happy endings. She writes primarily in the medieval period. Because there’s still so much we don’t know about that time in history, the writer’s imagination is essential for fleshing out the research and making it come to life on the page. Plus swords and castles are just plain fun.

She lives in New Mexico with her husband and the sweetest dog ever. When she’s not writing, she hikes, bikes, cooks, and (of course) reads. Siege of the Heart is her debut medieval romance. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, or check out her blog.

About Siege of the Heart:

He fought for king and country, but that battle was nothing compared to the one he’ll wage for a woman’s heart.

Still reeling from the news of her father’s death during the Norman Conquest, Isabel Dumont is unprepared when trouble arrives at the castle gates. Alexandre d’Évreux, a Norman knight with close ties to England’s new king, has arrived to secure the land and the loyalties of the Dumont family. Desperate to protect her people, Isabel strives to keep the confounding knight at arm’s length and hide the truth about her father’s death.

For Alexandre, the spoils of war come with more than just a generous gift of land. They come with Isabel Dumont. Vowing to marry only for love, Alexandre finds himself in a difficult situation as a conqueror granted dominion over the land and its people. Isabel is the one person capable of helping him win the regard of those living in the war-torn country…if he chooses to accept her.

Just when Alexandre finds a spark of hope that he and Isabel have a chance at love, she vanishes. His quest to find her plunges him deeper into the conquest’s fallout. Was she taken? Or did she leave?

CONTENT WARNING: Entering into this novel may cause extreme affection toward knights of old, admiration for strong-willed women, and the overwhelming belief that love really can conquer all.

Siege of the Heart is available from most retailers including:
Barnes and Noble:
Kensington Books: 

Your turn, to guess the beginning of the classic novel. The first correct answer wins a copy of Siege of the Heart and remember, to leave me a way to contact you, or friend me on Facebook.