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New Blog Roll Members: January 20, 2010

>> Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Please check out our newest blog roll members:

On a side note, Elizabeth has been working her way through the blog roll links lately.  So, please make sure that you are regularly updating your blog (at least once every couple of months, at a minimum) and that the blog roll or blog roll button is somewhere on your blog.  If you are not in compliance, your blog will be removed from the blog roll.  We will not be notifying people when their link is removed.  Sorry!


The Night’s Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars

>> Monday, January 18, 2010

Today's Guest Article is by Elizabeth from The Divine Gift of Motherhood.  

I had the pleasure of reading Elena Maria Vidals’ new historical romance, “The Night’s Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars”, released by Mayapple Press in November, 2009.

The Night’s Dark Shade tells the story of a young heiress, Lady Raphaelle, who is caught up in the turmoil of the Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. En route to meet her betrothed in the castle in the Pyrenees that is hers by right, she is rescued from an ambush by the brave and alluring Sir Martin.

The sparks between the two are flying from the very beginning, while the readers learns of the history of the crusade as well as the mysterious Cathars, a polytheistic sect which claimed to be Christian. In the first chapter the setting, plot, and all the main characters are all well-established. The second chapter instructs us on some history as told by the sweet-smelling knight as he carries her on horseback to her castle. The novel moves on, mixing history and drama, at a good pace. Raphaelle is caught up in several major dilemmas; we can truly sympathize with what she is going through.

Raphaelle is a strong character who insists on doing what is right for her people. All that she does, including following through on her betrothal to a man she does not love, is seen as her duty to them. Even so, she is torn by the feelings she has for another man. She also chooses to harbor an evil object which results in dire consequences. Vidal shows us how even the very best of us can struggle with sin.

The book addresses some surprising delicate moral issues of the time that are seldom brought up in a Christian novel. The Cathars were against marriage because it regularized procreation, and they thought children were evil. The religious midwives used herbs to prevent conception or to abort, even killing live babies if they were not deemed fit to survive. They promoted homosexuality because it did not result in children. People were encouraged to live together without marriage because they were more likely to contracept.

These topics are intertwined through the plot; the immoral acts are alluded to but never described explicited. The historical research is well documented, and moral deductions drawn by the author are all consistent with Catholic doctrine.

The more you read about history, the more you realize that there is truly nothing new under the sun. What is going on in modern society is a rerun of what was happening in the Middle Ages. If you haven’t heard about the “dark side of being green”, many environmental groups have been saying that children are “emitters” and the best thing we can do for the environment is to stop having children! Planned Parenthood is supported by so many large and well-reputed organizations that it is hard to go shopping, go to a movie, or go to a theme park without purchasing a product that will go toward their “cause”.

I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I was up until 3 AM reading the suspenseful ending! Justice is served (medieval style!) to the protagonists. The main characters all make turn-arounds for the better and there is forgiveness all around. The choice Raphaelle makes in the end is completely satisfying.

Elena Maria Vidal sent me a copy of the newly released book in exchange for my honest review of her book. The author studied the Cathars at SUNY Albany before receiving her Master’s Degree in European History. She also authored Trianon and Madame Royale. You can follow her blog at

The book is available from and will be available from Amazon in a few weeks.

Signed copies can also be bought directly from the author at her blog

Today's guest article is by Elizabeth from The Divine Gift of MotherhoodElizabeth also writes as the columnist for The Long Island Motherhood Examiner.


New Blog Roll Members: January 11, 2009

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

I apologize for having not updated the blog roll in a while.  I have been very busy with the move and relaunch of The Homeschool Classroom, as well as the launch of Homeschool Lifestyle Media.

But, at long last, here are the newest members of the blog roll:

March Up to the Gate



Life of a Photographer


Domestic Bliss

Catholic Icing

Praying Through Chaos


To Be Thode

Stitchin' Kufe

A Blessed Journey

Why not take five minutes and visit some of our newest members?  Make sure to tell them where you found them! 


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