Title: Gwendolyn’s Sword
Author: E.A. Haltom
May 8, 2015
Publisher: Wisdom House Books
Genre: historical fantasy
Add to: Goodreads
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
1193. Eleanor of Aquitaine, the indomitable dowager queen, has ordered all of Cornwall, England
onto a war footing while her son King Richard languishes in a German dungeon.
When Gwendolyn de Cardinham happens upon mercenaries from Prince John's
rebellion, she draws her sword and defends her home as well as any knight could
have. But more of John's mercenaries are coming, her sister-in-law claims
Gwendolyn’s husband has died on crusade, and the local prior has absurdly
informed Gwendolyn that King Arthur’s fabled sword is destined to be hers.
Self-educated and martially trained, Gwendolyn gave her husband her oath to
guard and protect their estate of Penhallam while he fought in the crusade.
Gwendolyn travels to England
with her constable to present herself to the dowager queen. But Gwendolyn has a
secret that could put all of Penhallam—and herself—at risk if the queen
discovers it. London
My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was a fictionalized account of a female descendent of King Arthur’s, living in the 1100’s. When I say fictionalized, I mean it. Despite having historical figures in the book (Prince John, King Richard I, Queen Dowager Eleanor), culturally, it was about as far from history as it could be.
These were truly the Middle Ages, where females, especially noble females, were seen as property, unable to do anything besides marry and give birth. It was rare that they spoke of their independent thoughts and expectations for the future, and they certainly didn’t wield a sword. Christianity was a forerunner during this time. A woman who spoke freely about how she didn’t believe in God would have been labeled a witch and killed as a heretic. Men definitely didn’t see them as their equal, which was so prevalent in this book.
Once I could get past the obvious historical issues, this wasn’t too bad of a book to read. The premise of the story is good. The writing is well-done, and I was able to enjoy the characters. Gwendolyn is a strong, independently minded woman, and her husband has given her free rein, especially as he is away in the Crusades with King Richard.