A Tournament Knight
Marisa Chenery / Historical Romance
Reviewed for The Romance Reviews
To the world, Jacqueline is dead. When her father kills her twin in a joust, she claims her brother's identity to see revenge. Worried at being discovered and taking tentative steps out into the world again, it never occurs to her that she may meet the one man who can make her wish she was still alive. Sir Terric Aubrey, a landless knight, works the tournament circuit hoping to make enough money to buy land. He hasn't thought much beyond his next win. He certainly doesn't expect to find the woman he wants for his wife facing him across the jousting field.
A Tournament Knight is a great historical novel that pulls the reader in with its tale of love found in the middle of a quest for vengeance. It's a story that tells of the great lengths a woman will go to have her feelings known in a time where those thoughts and feelings have very little sway in the designs of her father and she is forced to take drastic measures to protect herself. I liked the way the author developed the story and how it was very easy for me to slide into the story and become a part of it. It was written in a way that it held my attention and whether it was feelings of happiness, frustration or sadness, I was able to feel alongside the characters as they experienced the different scenes the author wrote for them. Aside from the feeling of concern I had with an aspect of the way the story was written, I felt the author stayed true enough to the period to make it believable and I enjoyed the story.
I liked the fire that Jacqueline brought to the story and the determination she had to avenge the death of her twin brother. Being a female in that time period must have been extremely frustrating, sometimes being a pawn in creating alliances and securing property. This was the case with Jacqueline and extraordinary lengths were taken to protect her from an extremely poor and horrible match. So deep was her anger and grief over her brother's death, that she risked it all to face his killer, her father. I laughed as I watched her, in disguise, meet Terric and feel that instant attraction to him but has to fight it because for all appearances she was a man. She faced so many difficult situations in this book, but I felt she handled them with grace, showing an ability to think for herself and it only enhanced the strength I saw her develop as the story progressed. She wasn't a character that just sat back and allowed others to fight her battles, especially when it came to protecting those she loved. She was a great character to read and I found her very likeable.
Terric was the main male character for the story and he was everything I've come to expect in a knight of that era. In his quest to earn enough money to buy land, he travelled from tournament to tournament, putting his body on the line. I loved the image the author painted of him, this sexy man dressed in armor and as a warrior that helped train Jacqueline to meet her father on the jousting field. He quickly developed strong feelings for Jacqueline, which led him to join her, and it led to quite a few passionate encounters where his sense of honor was challenged. There were times throughout the book however where I felt he was a little slow on the uptake, often jumping to the wrong conclusion and always having him doubt his relationship with Jacqueline. As frustrating as it was to read at times, it gave him a real human feel about him and I loved watching him struggle with it and later rise above it. He wasn't afraid to admit he'd been a fool and would rush out to make the situation right.
As a reader, there are certain word choices that I don't feel comfortable with and that directly affect how I feel about the story I'm reading. They serve as a cold blanket of sorts and often jolt me straight out of the story, making my stomach churn a little. In most cases, I'm able to read around them but it was different this time when I stumbled across these words in the story. As much as it was a shock, what disappointed me the most was the fact that I even found them in a historical novel. I think it's important when writing period pieces that an author sticks as close to authentic wording in the scenes as possible. So much time and research is spent making sure everything has the right feel to it so when modern words are used in this case during those intimate moments between Jacqueline and Terric, it feels terribly out of place and somewhat wrong. It's almost a given when reading period pieces that authors stick to the same terms to describe parts, actions and results, and as a reader, it's something I depend on. As I said, it was a shock to find these words and it affected how I ultimately felt about the story as a whole. This may not be something that bothers others and if not, it's a great book to read but if I'm to be honest, it lost that sparkle and excitement I felt for the majority of the book. Just another example of how word choice can affect the experience of the reader.
For the most part I did enjoy the book and, if I could have gotten around my reaction to the wording and its placement within the story, it would've been a story I loved because all the right elements were there. I love reading historical romance stories and the feeling of being whisked away for that brief moment to a different place in a time and experience that way of life. There's something incredibly sexy and appealing about the time period the story was written in and I believe readers will have a great time reading as they become part of the story. I'd encourage others to pick up this book to read with the hope their experience will be different from mine.
What Kind Of Review Can You Expect?
If I could describe what kind of reader I am, I would hands down say I was an emotional one. When I read I want to fully experience the book, from the emotions coursing through the characters to reacting to the twist and turns of the storyline. I'm looking for those books that fire up my imagination and leave me breathless when it's over. It's for this reason why the reviews I write aren't so much what I think and are more on how I feel. My hopes in sharing my review in this way is that something will spark an interest and have you wanting to have the same experiences. This isn't to say I don't have issues with grammar, word choices etc. Trust me I do and most times all it takes is waiting for the story to grab hold for it not to matter. When I do include things about what I thought about the book (for example I've included comments about word choices and being too descriptive), I only do so because it directly affected how I felt. I hope this helps. Enjoy!