THE KNIGHT AND THE ROSE
Berkley, Feb 2002, 14.00, 464 pp.
In 1322 Lady Johanna FitzHenry knows that she must escape from her abusive husband Sir Fulk de Enderby who lives up to his nickname The Mallet as he constantly hits her and scorns her for failing to produce his heir. Johanna knows that if she fails to flee soon she will join his two previous wives interred under the earth. Her opportunity arises when she receives a message from her mother Lady Constance that her father is dying. Johanna tricks Fulk into allowing her to see him.
Gervase de Laval pretends to be a scholar though he recently fought and fled from a losing battle with the English. Father Gilbert arranges for Gervase, using the name Geraint, to take his wounded comrade to a local healer Christiana. There Geraint meets Constance who decides to blackmail the obviously not scholar into helping free her daughter from that beastly Mallet. Knowing whom his injured friend is, Constance persuades Geraint to testify at an ecclesiastic court that he is Johanna's husband married before she wedded Fulk. As Geraint and Johanna play out their dangerous ruse, they fall in love, but she struggles with taking a chance on any male after the behavior of Fulk.
THE KNIGHT AND THE ROSE is an entertaining medieval romance filled with charcaters readers will either love or detest as the cast is fully developed. Though everyone seems to recognize the wounded colleague, the story line remains enjoyable for fans of thirteenth century romances. Readers will root for Johanna and Gervase while hoping that the odious Fulk receives all he deserves. Isolde Martyn provides sub-genre fans with a historical treat.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner