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Thursday, September 15, 2011

To Touch the Knight by Lindsay Townsend

To Touch the Knight by Lindsay Townsend
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (346 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Aloe

As a pestilence sweeps medieval England, a low-born woman has only the sharpness of her wits—and the courage of her heart…

Edith of Warren Hamlet plays a dangerous game. At the knights’ tourneys across the land, among the lords and ladies, she is a strange foreign princess. But in the privacy of her tent with the other survivors of her village, she is but a smith’s widow with a silver tongue. They are well-fed, but if discovered, the punishment is death. And one knight—fierce, arrogant, and perilously appealing—is becoming far too attentive…

Sir Ranulf of Fredenwyke cares little for tourneys: playing for ladies’ favors, when his own lady is dead; feasting, while commoners starve; “friendly” combat, when he has seen real war. Still, one lady captivates him—mysterious in her veils and silks, intoxicating with her exotic scents and bold glances. Yet something in her eyes reminds him of home…and draws him irresistibly to learn her secrets…

There is pestilence in the land and serfs are dying. Edith’s Lord decides to handle the matter expediently. He herds all the living serfs into the church building, mixing the healthy with the sick, and bars the doors. What does he care if they all die? He can always get more serfs.

It’s easy to see that this author has done some research on this historical era. She emphasizes the difference between good Lords and bad, she shows insight on the character of knights that joust (they are no better than the man they are to begin with), and she shows how hopeless it is to be a serf under a bad Lord.

Ms. Townsend gives both of her lead characters strong personalities and a will to survive. Edith attends the tourneys with her friends, impersonating an Eastern princess. She manages to feed them with goods given them by knights who are seeking her attention and her hand. Sir Ranulf is a widower who only attends the jousts to keep his mind from dwelling on his dead wife; he takes no pleasure in it.

I really enjoyed how this author made Edith a spitfire who spars words with Ranulf. He snaps back, often regretting his quick words. In no time at all, the sparks flying between them are not just words, he’s determined to bed her. Of course, she’s determined to bed him, too, so that’s all right. I laughed out loud at the times they got close to “bed” and were interrupted by staff. Seems the best laid plans of mice and men didn’t seem to work out…

Danger is close, pestilence still exists, and Edith’s old Lord is after her adding a tremendous amount of suspense, so the words pass quickly as you read. This was an exciting tale with plenty of plot strings crossing back and forth to keep your interest.

Why not take a trip in time back to medieval England and follow Edith’s adventures? Her life was a trial, but it was going to get better…