A woman of a certain age who has three cats underfoot, and has the dream of filling her passport with stamps. Books, classical music, tea, cats, movies, art, fancy needlework, and anything else I can think of.
(I couldn't hold back any longer. I usually try to synchronize my reviews to appear all at the same time when I finish a book. But as the Epinions database is quirky at the moment.)
Tender is the Knight caught my eye when I heard that it was a novel, albeit erotic, that was based in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), and I had spent quite a few years in the organization, I hoped that it would turn out to be a fairly good read. Most of the time when writers who are members of the SCA write a novel, it tends to be fairly good in terms of creating a good feel of time and place. And being that the SCA tries to recreate the 'good parts' of the medieval world -- about 500-1600 ce, it's a good leaping off point for the reader who likes books set in the medieval world.
Unfortunately, this novel wasn't the one that I was hoping it to be. The author has claimed to be a member of the SCA, but the world that she has created, set in Ohio (part of what is known as the Midrealm), bears little resemblance to the SCA I was part of.
New member Lisa goes to her first event as her friend has been begging her to do so for a long time. The SCA seems a bit odd, but once Lisa gets into a borrowed costume, she realizes that she is starting to have fun. On top of it all, she also attracts the attention of a member of the Chivalry, Sir Philip. As Lisa is pretty, slim and not too old, so is Sir Philip, tall, dark and good-looking and an up and coming fighter. But the evening ends in disaster when not only Lisa manages to ruin it, but she gets bit by a dog, and then the house burns down. Fortunately, the house fire isn't her fault. But it is scarcely a pleasant introduction.
Very soon, Lisa and Sir Philip are an item, and he's decided that he is going to fight to save her honour, rather than for her honour, and make her the next Queen of the Midrealm. (There are some serious problems with this, as I will go into later) Lisa's head is turned by all of this attention, and combined with that Sir Philip is as good in the sack as he is on the fighting field, Lisa is having a great time being not too aware that she's not that well known, nor that she has many friends in the organization.
As is common with these sorts of novels, the Big Misunderstanding comes when Sir Philip wins the tournament for the next Crown Prince, and Lisa comes upon Sir Philip with a comely young woman and several men who are um, rather naked. Lisa looses it, has a massive hissy fit, and quits the group on the spot...
Can I state now that this was one of the worst books that I have ever read? A lot of what was going on in this book was downright laughable to me, as it flies in the face of what I had experienced in the SCA as a member of several decades standing. The biggest faux pas was Lisa becoming a candidate for the throne practically on joining the organization -- usually it is customary for a person to be a paying member for at least a year, have held an office for at least six months, and having a good grounding in the SCA bylaws and whatever laws are in the kingdom where you're a member of.)
Then there is the cause of the Big Miz -- namely a vaguely sexual activity that involves several members of the Chivalry and the king-to-be. I really laughed over this one as I know quite a few knights who if they had tried this one, their ladies would be looking for them with a grim expression and the fire irons in hand. While I do know of quite a few Knights over the years whose motto was Score Early, Score Often. There's a lot of sexual wheeling-dealing going on at times, in some groups, but it's not a good way to build your reputation.
By the end of the novel I was ready to chuck it at the wall. It's poorly written, full of very silly incidents, lots of things that I never heard of as custom in the SCA. True, things may have changed since then, but this was so over the top and preposterous that I can't recommend it at all.
One half star, as that is about as much as I can honestly give it. If there are any other folks out there who have read this one, or who are members of the SCA, I'd love to hear from you.