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The Knight and the Rose Paperback – February 5, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Martyn's first novel, The Lady and the Unicorn, won the RITA Award for Best First Book from the Romance Writers of America, so readers will understandably be eagerly awaiting this follow-up. In 14th-century England, Lady Johanna FitzHenry is stuck in an arranged marriage to Sir Fulk de Enderby, who delights in beating her. Given the laws that entitle him to do so, Johanna's only chance at freedom is to find a man to claim in court that she married him first. Enter valorous Geraint, a troubled fellow on the run whom Johanna only knows as Gervase de Laval, supposedly a scholar. For a price, he is willing to pretend to be her first husband. Unfortunately, the two do not get along a problem, since they must persuade the court that they're in love. Then Gervase discovers that Johanna has renounced sex and love because of Fulk's violent treatment of her, and it becomes Gervase's personal mission to liberate her in every way. Johanna is the kind of medieval "women's libber" often found populating historical fiction, and her oil-and-water exchanges with Gervase are sprightly fun. But there are flaws. The period dialect tends to grate on modern ears and the truth concerning what Gervase is really up to, involving King Edward, comes so late in the drawn-out tale that the historical half of "historical romance" becomes incidental. By the time Gervase confesses his true identity and motivation for concealing it, Johanna may still care, but readers no longer will.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In 1322, Lady Johanna Fitzhenry attempts to escape her brutal husband by visiting her ill father, but her mother concocts a convoluted scheme to pretend that Johanna was secretly married to someone else first. The "someone else" is a man posing as a scholar who is being blackmailed into helping because he's on the run from enemy soldiers. British author Martyn's busy plot involves the imposter and Johanna's evolving love, the various ruses they must use to convince the authorities that they were indeed previously married, a separation while he goes off to war in France and she becomes a lady-in-waiting to the queen, and Johanna's discovery of his true identity. RITA Award-winner Martyn's English medieval historical setting and fascinating court intrigue are more authentic than those of most romances, but they do slow down the love story. Readers who prefer a mere backdrop for sexy romance will be disappointed, but those who like lots of social and political historical detail will be pleased. Mary K. Chelton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1st Thus. edition (February 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425183297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425183298
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,771,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Visiting the Tower of London when she was eight, Londoner Isolde Martyn fell in love with history and by fourteen was determined to become a historical novelist. An Honours degree in History with specialization in the Yorkist Era gave her a solid grounding in research. After meeting a rather charming geologist at a bus stop in her graduation year, she somehow ended up in Perth and then Sydney, working in academia and publishing.
Before taking up writing fiction full-time, she edited the 'Motoring Guide to Australia', 'Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal' and 'How to Fix Just About Anything' for Reader's Digest General Books.
Isolde's debut novel, THE MAIDEN AND THE UNICORN, won the Rita Award for 'Best First Novel' in the USA and her first two books won the R*BY [Romantic Book of the Year Award] in Australia.
More recently, Isolde's novels have focused on real historical people: Mistress Shore; Katherine Neville, Lady Hastings; Queen Elizabeth Woodville; and Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.
She is a former chair of the NSW Richard III Society and a co-founder and vice-chair of the Plantagenet Society of Australia.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anna on August 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Overall, I was disappointed in this book. The plot was very intriguing. A medieval wife seeks deliverance from her abusive marriage. In an era where the man has all the rights, Johanna's options are limited. If she is to escape the cruelty of her husband, Sir Fulk, she must dare a dangerous scheme. If she can prove that she had contracted with another before she was betrothed to Sir Fulk, she may find her escape.
Enter Gervase. Forced into her scheme, he is torn between two duties... the rebel cause in which he is involved and that of the Lady Johanna. Reluctantly, he agrees to swear that he had plighted his troth to Johanna before she had married Sir Fulk. What follows is true love between the two.
This book is very well written. The plot is interesting. The historical facts are accurate. My disappointment lies in that the romance was dull and almost a second thought to the plot. I found this to be more of a historical novel with some romance as opposed to a historical romance. If you simply want to read a good historical novel, then this is a sure bet. But if you are clamoring for a true romance, then you may disappointed as I was.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Bechaz on April 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I quite enjoyed the first chapter or two of this book. But from then on it began to dawdle off downhill in the most tedious way, going on and on and on....

Aargh!

The main two characters in this book are symbolic of the cause of almost all the problems in the world right now: SILLY PEOPLE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING OVER NOTHING! I got sick of them really quickly. Honestly, I hate it when grown ups fight like three year olds. He was a trained fighter, she was a noblewoman...surely they should have had some sense of decorum and propriety, not to mention personal discipline, especially given that both their futures were on the line!

Also, the standard of writing in this book was definitely sub-par. The author seemed reluctant to use punctuation, and even more so to use it correctly...it wasn't uncommon for a sentence to stretch for five lines without even a comma in it to break it up. The writing was choppy, narrative skipped from character to character so much it was often difficult to know whose viewpoint you were seeing the story from, and the exchanges of dialogue between characters did not flow like a normal conversation would. (It was like a talkfest between self-obsessed bimbos who don't listen to each other.) The effort the writer went to in doing her historical research was wasted by the characters just not being believable in their settings. And the story just went on and on...450 pages in all. All the important stuff could have been said in 250 pages, and it would have made for a much better book that wasn't so cluttered by painful filler.

I can't believe this writer has won a writing award (for another book). Man, do they give those things away in cereal boxes or something?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By venetia67 on March 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm horrible at writing plot summaries, so I'll leave that to someone else. I'm a voracious reader and thus far this is the best medieval romance I've had the pleasure of reading. Nothing else comes close. The plot, romance, wit and wealth of characters are everything I could ask for. The nuances of daily life are so well woven into the story that if I didn't know better I would say the author actually lived in England during the 14th century. A keeper.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my first book by this author. I loved the dialogue, it was a little different - and bolder, I think than others. I thought Gervase/Geraint was a PERFECT hero. So handsome and intelligent, and strong and gentle. And since he was doing Johanna an enormous favor, one that would affect the rest of her life, if she was to have one, I don't understand why she complained and practically blamed Geraint for trying to help her! I could understand her revulsion to intimacy because of her evil husband, but she and Geraint smoothed through that just fine, so why was she so mean?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Exotikat on February 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
As soon as I finished this novel, I immediately went looking for more by the same author. This was truly an historical romance. Inspired by a real Medieval divorce case, the story is about Johanna, so abused by her cruel husband that she is ready to face death to escape. Fate sends her home to her mother, who blackmails a "captured" rebel by forcing him to play Joanna's first husband in a conspiracy to release Joanna from her hideous marriage. Trapped in a situation not of his making, Geraint finds himself falling in love with the icy Joanna, longing to melt her reserve, heal her psychic wounds and become her protector. Unfortunately, his real obligations lie elsewhere, with powerful men, and their paths must part. I confess that the added attraction in this novel was the link with history, which is skillfully woven into the story. Joanna and Geraint are both embroiled with the politics of real British history, and the sights, sounds and smells of an age long gone fill the pages. As the story races to its climax, involving the documented capital punishment of several nobles, we fear for the safety and future of the two star-crossed lovers. Isolde Martyn writes well; the trite cliches and often repeated formulas of so many Romances are noticeably and happily absent. The characters of both the lovers and the other individuals who people the story are well developed - Ms. Martyn has made history come alive and created a pair of passionate, believable lovers and I am eager to discover more of her work.
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