Excerpt: The Peddler of Wisdom by Laura Matthias Bendoly

The Peddler of Wisdom
by Laura Matthias Bendoly

Publication Date: December 18, 2018
eBook & Paperback; 425 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction



In the borderlands of the village Les Échelles, giants sleep and werewolves howl. Travelers must cross deep gorges to pay visit. The only strangers are treasure-hunters seeking the riches of Zahara, a drowned Crusader bride. She planted the nearby woods with rich botanicals, now the healing herbs of Irène Guéri, apothecary in these parts. When a cruel invader storms the village he brings along his shy, though brilliant alchemist, Joaquíno Durande. Will Irene join forces with this scholar, risking her profession and her neighbors’ trust, or flee to the valley? Enormous decisions await, and great danger as friends, neighbors, and even the tools of Irene’s workshop rise, enchanted, into the fray of war.

“Put together a hidden Medieval village, a widowed healer who tries to overthrow a murderous invader, and a possible– if dangerous– romance, and you have The Peddler of Wisdom, add to this Laura Matthias Bendoly’s spritely style and a complex world where no one can be trusted, and you will be sucked into this tale as swiftly and completely as I was. Read it.” – Sonia Gernes, ProfessorEmerita, University of Notre Dame, author of What You Hear in the Dark, New and Selected Poems

“An exciting plot, vivid characters and a clearly imagined 17th-century France. A rich tapestry of folklore, tarot, and alchemy.” – Maureen Boulton, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, Toronto and Professor Emeritus of French, Dept. of Romance Languages University of Notre Dame


“Are you a real baron?” Irène shouted from the shade of a plane tree. She had to shout to be heard now that the wind was up and Noisette and Durande were gathering shoots along a bluff several yards away.

Durande straightened, and then jumped a muddy ditch. They were in steep hills now and it had rained the previous night, making the path slippery.

He threw his hair back. “Do you think I am a fraud, Madam?”

Before Irène could answer, Noisette butted in. “Mother told me nobles buy and sell lineage like sacks of flour. Sorry, just what she says.”

Irène hid a smile.

“Well.” Durande leaned on his divining rod. “I wasn’t born with my title, but I didn’t buy it. I earned it from Duke Domenico. It happens sometimes—conference of rank in exchange for service—though the honor is not often given to a prisoner.”

“Oh!” Noisette’s brows shot up. “You were a prisoner. And a criminal?”

“No. My town was raided.”

“Like ours.” Noisette looked at him gravely.

Durande pulled a mimosa bloom from a branch overhead and smelled it. “I was taken prisoner aboard a ship. Was hostage, you could say.”

“What an adventure!” Noisette took hold of the baron’s dousing rod and brandished it like a cutlass. “Did you get revenge? Steal the ship and seize the treasure?”

“I’m afraid it’s not an exciting tale. I got some benefit from it, though. My medical education, a house, and a title, though all were from the man who captured me.”

“The duke was a raider?” Noisette narrowed her eyes. “A corsair? I’d run him through.”

Irène caught up to the little girl. “You’d do no such thing. And mind you speak no more of running through.”

“She’s right, Noisette.” Durande ran his hands down the edge of a boulder, inspecting it. “The man we serve is not the one I’d have chosen, but we must make the best of it. History is full of hard noblemen, but just because we serve unlikely masters doesn’t mean our lives are over. Sometimes ill circumstance results in uncommon good.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Though I grew up in northern Indiana, most of my work takes place elsewhere. My characters are slightly offbeat eccentrics. They wear Goth clothes and invent secret passwords. They make friends with outsiders and from those fringes my heroines gain their strength. Though these protagonists don’t have supernatural powers, they absorb a kind of magic from those they help and gather as friends. This is so with hero Stella Delaney, whose mission to save a trafficked foreign girl gains strength from the powers of a mysterious Gullah woman. So is it the case with Eileen Morgan, whose trip to Scotland wraps her in a world of ghosts and a deadly struggle for entitlement between a wealthy land-owning family and their one-time vassals, now barely hanging on.

I write about the places I have seen as an outsider but in which I could see myself in another life…a boat guide along one of the Georgia marshes, a shepherd in the Scottish lowlands, a craftswoman in Cornwall, in Western Great Britain, or a healer in rural Southern France. Will I ever be that woman? Only if I write myself there, and I love to bring new readers along.

I live in Columbus Ohio with my family.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 4
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, February 5
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, February 6
Excerpt at Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Thursday, February 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, February 8
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, February 10
Excerpt at Old Timey Books

Tuesday, February 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 13
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 14
Review at Coffee and Ink

Friday, February 15
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two eBooks of The Peddler of Wisdom & 4 Apothecary soaps! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Enter ti win here: The Peddler of Wisdom

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