Picking up The Gauntlet

Elizabeth Rose

Lady Raven has a twin brother, Lord Rook. They live in England at Blake Castle. It is 1374 and Lady Raven is independent and strong. She excels with a bow and arrow and with swordplay after years of training with her twin. She is also unmarried and getting older. Her father, Lord Corbett Blake, has been patient, but has decided to take action by holding a tournament. The winner will get Lady Raven as his bride for a prize. Raven is angry, and it’s compounded when she learns that she is to be guarded by the local blacksmith for the weeks preceding the tournament. Jonathan Armstrong is an armorer, swordsmith, and blacksmith. He often repairs armor and such for the nobility nearby, so he knows them, but isn’t one of them. His family has been in this business for years and is well-respected. He doesn’t want to guard Raven yet is unable to say no to Lord Corbett. 

This book is an interesting take on life and attitudes of the 1300’s. This author blends contemporary attitudes about female empowerment into a time when that stance might not have been readily accepted. By the end of chapter 11, readers have been told over 40 times that Jonathan is a ‘commoner’ and that ‘commoners’ and royals do not mix! Both of these protagonists behave differently than expected at times throughout this story, which adds interest and tension to the overall story arc. The pacing is solid, and the story is somewhat believable, even with the influx of modern thought. Regardless, they find a way to a happy ending despite the many challenges they face. 

Carey Sullivan