20 Jul 2019

She Walks in Love by Marylu Tyndall

Protectors of the Spear #2
310 Pages, June 17th 2019, Ransom Press
Print and Ebook  

 She must protect the Spear of Destiny at all costs
He must bring the lady safely home
But the powers of darkness chasing them have other ideas

Lady Cristiana D'Clere, the new protector of the Spear, is on the run from the steward of her estate, who has kept her drugged for years. All she ever wanted was to be safe, marry well, and raise a bevy of wee ones. Instead, she is far from home, chased by men intent on killing her and stealing the Spear of Christ for its incredible powers.

Sir Jarin the Just has never forgotten the woman who stirred his heart like no other. Determined to find and restore her to her proper place as Lady of Luxley Castle, he sets out on a journey fraught with more dangers than he ever could have foreseen. The biggest danger is to his heart, for he has vowed to remain unfettered and never surrender his freedom to a woman.

Though the Spear protects the couple along their journey, Cristiana must learn to trust the One whose blood stains the relic, while Jarin must learn to rely on powers far above his own knightly skills. For the dark magic that is chasing them may take all the powers of heaven to defeat. 

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

3 Stars is the highest rating I've ever given a novel by this author. Its not that I've got anything against her personally, its just that I really didn't care for the other books of hers I've read. I borrowed this one on Kindle Unlimited because read the first novel in the series 3 years ago.

On the plus side, this was an enjoyable and adventurous story about good vs. evil and spiritual warfare. The faith themes about forgiveness and repentance are very strong and unequivocal, and that's not a bad thing: I just don't think this story needed 310 pages to be told.

I also commend the author for the note in the front, which clearly states this story is fantasy, and advises readers against learning history from it. Good on her. Many authors aren't that upfront and the setting confuses readers into thinking its 'real' history or an accurate representation of the historical past in a certain country. Honestly its needed because the story is anything but historically and culturally accurate.

My first issue the story is written in a sort of pseudo-archaic language that I think was intended to make the dialogue seem more authentic, but instead just makes the story read as clunky and frankly rather strange in places.
Is 'nimbycock' even a real word? And what on earth does 'peace froth' mean? The characters keep coming out with that kind of thing, presumably as a clean Christian alternative to actual swearing. The other problem is that the archaisms are in the narration: not just the dialog.

Second, I am going to avoid a History Lesson about a fantasy novel, but I'm going to comment on several details which I felt were plain silly.
To start with Leather clothing and armour. The makers of TV shows and movies ignore historical accuracy and dress characters in historical Dramas in leather outfits because it looks cool. Novelists don't need to do this.
So why do the characters clad head to toe in leather like some kind of Medieval biker gang?

One of them wears what is called a 'leather hauberk'. I know what a hauberk is: and they're not made of leather.
Google it, its defined as long tunic of chain mail. Metal armour is generally better than leather, but the characters don't seem to have grasped this. Especially when they wear plate armour that apparently has convenient joins in it above the chest. No solid metal breastplates there.

In some places, in does become clear that the author has done historical research, such as the use of the odd Latin terms or phrases, but in other places, I just despaired.   

Almost everyone is sick or dressed in rags. Every single village is filthy and squalid and smells of 'rotten meat' and other disgusting things. No: its well known that Medieval people preserved their meat by salting or smoking, or else they just ate it long before it went rotten. And seriously, anyone who keeps pigs could tell you they have to be kept in a pen: Medieval people had enough sense to realize they could not just let large and potentially aggressive animals run amok in the streets among children. Give them some credit Mrs Tyndall. My Medieval forbears were not barbarians who wallowed in mud with pigs, as this novel literally makes out. 

I get it. Medieval fiction is just an excuse for prolonged descriptions of filth and nastiness, but really. At least make it plausible. I mean how is it that every single building the characters are in smells of mould and filth except- the cave they live in where they store an array of books. Books that would have been written on parchment (sheep skin), which is very vulnerable to mould and damp? 


Also, although I don't mean to be disrespectful and I do believe in miracles and angels and the like, I think these things were overdone. Half of this novel literally read like an extended commentary of a healing crusade by a modern charismatic televangelist.
With the characters travelling from place to place, and Christiana using The Spear to heal people of every illness or malady known to man from plague to syphilis (apparently there weren't many healthy people in them bad ol' Medieval days), all the while reminding them that God loves them and cares for them. Yeah, but Medieval people did believe in the healing power of relics, but I guess that's a bit too much like Catholicism, and makes modern people feel uncomfortable. 

Finally, I felt that Jarin's reasons for turning his back on his faith were really cliched. Its obvious it was only set up that way to allow for his salvation and reconciliation to Christ at the end. OK, yes, authors need to be relevant, and it makes Jarin's character arc more interesting, but I think this has become an overused formula.    

So its kind of enjoyable as a fantasy novel, but there were things that could have been a lot better. The author has done her best, but I think she made some rather poor choices with this novel. However, I enjoyed it more than the 3 other books I've read of hers. So that's something

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