Pet Peeves About Books

My reading adventures are going well. I’m not getting to certain books but am getting to others.

I just didn’t finish a medieval. It is right this moment resting in my circular (well ok, rectangular) file. Let me explain the DNF (did not finish)

Number one, I HEART medievals. Knights and armor and big swords. What’s not to like about that? The problem is that medievals have several devices that are now so common it’s trite. An author has to be a darn good writer to overcome the baggage of any of those devices.

Carolyn’s Dangerous List of Medieval Romance Devices in the Book She DNF

  1. Heroine not bound by any of the social or legal strictures of the time
  2. Heroine who drugs the hero
  3. Nobody acts like they believe in the swift and terrible hand of God
  4. A hero whose mother abandoned him and left his father so he now expects betrayal from all women so that when he learns the heroine has drugged him, he can be effing pissed off at her. Like he has to have some excuse for being angry about being drugged
  5. Heroine wears men’s clothing
  6. Everyone and their cousin twice removed can read AND write. People pass notes like it’s 7th grade.
  7. Furniture that didn’t exist in the time
  8. These’s little to no problem with communication between the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons

For crying out loud! Can we have at least a little respect for historical accuracy? The book is set shortly after the Norman invasion of England, which, as you know, occurred in 1066.

Allow me to deconstruct just a bit. In fact women were chattel, the property of some male relative. In fact a betrothal was as good as married. One could easily make a case that it was the same as marriage. God and the Church were a very real presence in everyday life. Literacy was low. Really low. There were, of course, literate women, but they were literate in Latin and later, literate in French. It wasn’t until Chaucer round about the 1300s that writing in (Old) English was da bomb.

Anyway, the minute the heroine started thinking about drugging the hero, I got a sinking feeling and when she carried it out, that was it for me. Not only that, the back of the book used the word brutal with respect to the hero so I was expecting a hero in need of taming. But no. He’s polite and understanding of her from the start and even tells a dangerous whopper in order to spare her feelings. And they have fantastic sex from the start. No one’s even worried or upset or anything. No taming of the big Norman Knight needed.

So now I need to find another book.

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