Friday, July 8, 2011

To Touch the Knight-Lindsay Townsend

To Touch the Knight
Lindsay Townsend
Zebra, Jul 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420106985

By 1351 the plague continues to devastate much of England, but fails to stop the knights’ tourneys attended by the aristocracy. In this atmosphere, the Widow Edith a serf married to the late silversmith of Warren Hemlet pretends to be a foreign princess attending the games. The other villagers act as her retinue in public. If their masquerade is exposed they will be executed, but this ploy is the only way they can avoid starvation as the plague wrecked their village two years ago.

Knight Sir Ranulf of Frendenwyke hates the festivities he must attend and participate in or else. He loathes celebrating with so much waste while the serfs suffer and his own wife buried. He knows war first hand so finds tournament battle inane. However, he is attracted to the mysterious Lady of Lilies who is unlike any aristocrat he ever met.; Edith shares his feelings but fears telling him the truth out of keeping her villagers safe.

This is a deep dark medieval romance with a profound look at the death and destruction caused by the plague, and the arrogant abuse of some of the nobles towards their serfs. Lindsay Townsend pulls no punches as mid fourteenth century England is a harsh environs. The cast is strong while the romance between the disillusioned idealistic knight and “eastern Princess Smith” make for a wonderful tale.

Harriet Klausner

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