When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.
Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.
Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.
Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?
Publisher & Release day: Solemate Publishing, December 6, 2014
Time & Setting: 1486 England
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1.5
Rating: 4 Gold Crowns
I discovered The Lady of the Garter through the Kindle Unlimited program and since I enjoy anything set during the Tudor reign, I immediately downloaded it. I quickly became enmeshed in this unique story of a young woman whose brother wants her to act as squire for Sir James a man she has been in love with since childhood.
Elena of Warwickshire has wanted to train to become a knight since a young child and her brother has forced her to by pledging her service as a squire to Sir James. While Elena wants to train, she knows she can never become a Garter knight. The king would never allow a women in their midst. When she is assigned to help Sir James to remove his armor, she valiantly goes to the tent. She soon has his breast plate off and finds she is eye level with Sir James’ muscular chest, stepping back, she stumbles off a stool and lands in a heap at his feet.
This first meeting does not go well, and he tells her to get out. During the banquet after the tournament, her brother plies her with drink and the next thing she knows she awakens and sees her knight’s naked back. As she tries to sneak out, he awakens, the very naked Sir James orders her to dress him. When she hands him his britches, he snatches them from her and again dismisses her. Later that morning, he comes to her aid when the king’s master falconer accuses her of making off with one his majesty’s falcons. This leads to a truce as they set out for Gloucestershire to break up a band of Yorkists.
Now that Sir James has accepted her as his squire, Elena now wonders how she can ever win his love now that he believes she is a lad. Will James forgive her when he learns of her duplicity, or will he send her back to her father, forever ending her chances of earning his love?
I enjoyed The Lady of the Garter. It is fast paced, easy read. At times, the story did become fairly predictable, but not so much that it took away from my reading pleasure. The plot is somewhat different and while a bit unbelievable at times, it still made an interesting tale. After all, it is fiction. Some things can be far-fetched if it makes for an interesting story.
I found the character well-developed for a short book, especially for a debut novel. I particularly liked Elena’s feistiness and determination to rise above the norm of the day for women. She goes after James with fervor to win his heart. Now James on the other hand, took a bit of a while for me to warm up to him. He is a bit too brusque to Elena in the first part of the story for my tastes.
Nonetheless, I did like the book and will look to more books from Ms. Dillon in the future. If you like a book with a nice bit of history worked into the plot, then you will enjoy this delightful, action-packed story. Happy reading!
Elena had prayed that James would rescue her, but not at the price he paid. How would she ever make this right? First, she’d lost his trust. Now he lost Dragon because of her carelessness. She fully expected to be escorted back to Warwickshire after they returned to Nunnery. She hoped it would be with anyone but James or she wouldn’t survive it.
“God’s blood, woman, who do you think you are?” His deep, powerful voice made her cringe.
She couldn’t answer.
He sighed, steering the horse underneath some trees. Then he turned so abruptly, she thought he’d strike her.
“Are you daft, woman?”
She covered her face with both hands.
“You’re not ready to be a knight, Elena. Look at me.” He drew her hands away. “You’ve sworn allegiance to me, but you constantly disobey.” His eyebrows knit together. “You’ve begged for guidance, yet refuse to follow my instructions.” He shook his head. “You speak of courage, yet don’t show any. Did you not consider the consequences when you lied your way into my life? You’re selfish and don’t consider the future. The ability to sacrifice for the good of others is what qualifies a man for knighthood. Your heart is unworthy.”
But her heart was worthy. Perhaps not for knighthood, but for love. His love. And that seemed more important to her now. Although his criticism hurt, she knew he cared about her. His eyes showed it. She kissed him, her quivering lips met his. It was the only answer she could give. She needed to sate her unbridled passion. She wanted him. She wanted this. It might be her only chance before he came to his senses.
He responded, embracing her.
When he finally released her, she whimpered and leaned into him, wanting more.
Thank you for including me on your book tour. I love your comments regarding heroes!
It’s All About That Hero…
When it comes to creating characters, building a worksheet for the hero, heroine and villain, is a must for me. Height, age, physical attribute, even scars, are to be noted, but it’s also important to figure out their likes and dislikes before you start to write their story. What are they afraid of? Figure that out and then make the character face it.
But even before that, I often look for models who fit my vision, then post their pictures in my writing space so I can look at them whenever I want. And when most writers create a hero, whether they realize it or not, they are tapping into an “archetype.” The term has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means "original or old"; and typos, which means "pattern, model or type".
The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—represent fundamental human motifs of our collective experiences and evoke deep emotions when used in story-telling. Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations and I think four of those are used heavily in the romance genre: the Rebel, or bad boy; the Lover, or charmer; the Explorer, or swashbuckler, and finally; the Warrior, or ruler
I find a great aid to building my hero, is to think of well-known personalities in the movies. Let me give you a few examples:
The Rebel: imagine Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing or Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
The Lover: of course, Richard Gere in Pretty Woman and James Bond in every Bond film no matter who plays him.
The Explorer: a great example is Harrison Ford in the Raiders of the Lost Ark and in the Star Wars series.
The Warrior: easily, Mel Gibson as Braveheart and any action hero in any Marvel Comics-themed movie will fit the bill.
Of course, my hero, Garter knight, Sir James, fits the archetype of the warrior. Here’s a description of him from my book, The Lady of the Garter:
With a square jaw, a narrow straight nose, and a wicked smile, he represented everything she’d always been attracted to in a man. He was exquisitely made. She’d seen tapestries of the Greek Gods and even they could not compare. Oh yes, and those steel-blue eyes, the same color of the three lions emblazoned on his shield.
Now, that you’ve learned a little more about character development, challenge yourself to see if you can pick out some of these archetypes the next time you read a romance novel or go to the movies. At the very least, you can impress your friends when you talk about the story.
With a degree in journalism, Marisa has spent many years writing for the television industry. As an award-winning producer/director/marketer, she has worked on commercial production, show creation, product branding and social media.
Marisa’s passion for writing began when her first-grade teacher read her poem aloud and posted it on the classroom wall. She soon followed up by writing plays for her neighborhood friends and hosting the productions in her garage.
Marisa has always enjoyed reading romance novels and now realizes a dream come true, writing romantic adventures. She lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her first love and knight in shining armor, James.
You can visit Marisa at: www.marisadillon.com.
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