Monday, October 28, 2013

New Review: Kathryn Le Veque’s LESPADA – Engaging Tale of an Arrogant Knight Set in 13th Century England

This was my first by Le Veque. It’s a medieval romance set in England beginning in 1264 and tells the story of Sir Davyss de Winter, a knight of King Henry and nephew of the Earl of Surrey, and Lady Devereux Allington, daughter of a neighboring landowner.

When his mother, a strong matriarch, arranges a marriage for Davyss to Devereus, he reluctantly agrees only because his powerful mother insists. He’d prefer to remain unwed. Likewise, Devereux has no desire to marry the powerful knight because he is arrogant, selfish and his ways violent and she is against violence. Devereux spends her time helping the poor and the victims of violence.

Instead of attending his own wedding, Davyss sends his sword, “Lespada.” When he does show up (after the de Winter knights physically subdue Devereux and the wedding takes place), Davyss locks his bride away in his castle without food or water. Then, in a moment of lust, he rapes her (up against a wall no less—and a very well-written scene it was, too). Devereux’s reaction to this is a bit surprising (she “mostly enjoyed” it), yet she does find the will to leave. When his mother comes to call on her new daughter in law shortly after, and learns what has happened, she agrees to Devereux’s request to go home to her father and her charity work. Understandably, the girl wants nothing to do with the de Winter clan. Several weeks later, Davyss can’t get his new wife out of his mind and decides to pay her a call.

This is a saga covering many years as Simon de Montfort battles King Henry for the throne and Davyss and Devereux fall in love and each changes for the other. To my way of thinking Davyss’ change came on a bit suddenly (together with his lust for his wife), but I enjoyed the play in their relationship. Le Veque has done her research of the background history of the time and the battles that determined the throne of England. The story is richer for it. The tale held my interest, and I would read more by this author. There is a bit of “head hopping” (quick changes in point of view), which left me dizzy at times, and some form of address issues (once she is married she is no longer Lady Devereux but Lady de Winter and his mother would not be “Lady Katherine,” but Katherine, Lady de Winter). And I did think it unusual a baron’s daughter would have given herself to a man and birthed bastard twins, all while seemingly being unaffected. Still, I can recommend it as an engaging tale.

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