My Lady's Guardian
Grade : D

I made the mistake of judging My Lady’s Guardian by its cover. Not the front one, which is actually quite attractive, but the back one, which touts the book as a romance between two long-time friends. I enjoy romances in which friendship blossoms into love, so I opened the book with great expectations. Unfortunately, instead of friendship the book centers on revenge, and the hero and heroine don’t even admit to liking each other until the final pages of the book. It was not at all what I had been hoping for.

Lady Margery Welles is in an enviable position. Because she has faithfully served the king, he has granted her several properties – and the permission to choose her own husband. Ever since the word of her good fortune got out, she has been besieged by eager suitors, all hoping to be chosen as her bridegroom.

Meanwhile, Gareth Beaumont is seeing visions of Margery, and he knows she is in trouble. Gareth once squired at Margery’s father’s estate, and he saved her life when the castle was under attack. He swore to Margery’s father that he would always protect her, but when her father died Margery’s brothers didn’t trust him or his strange visions, so they sent him away. Since then he has had a hard life, and he holds Margery’s brothers responsible. Still, he must obey his visions, so he rides to Margery’s rescue. Margery is thrilled to see Gareth, since she has many fond memories of him. She asks him to be her personal guard so that she will be safe from any overly zealous suitors. But Margery doesn’t want anyone to know she has a guard, so Gareth must pretend to be one of her suitors.

Gareth quickly decides that he can use this situation to his advantage. If he pretends to woo Margery in earnest, then he can marry her and her brothers will be furious. That will show them for kicking him out of their household! He is also still mad at Margery, because he’s sure that she also wanted him to leave, and he knows all women are liars. Margery is in fact hiding something – during a brief fling she lost her virtue, and the man refused to marry her because she didn’t conceive a child. Margery feels that she is ruined for marriage now, and she knows no man can ever be trusted anyway.

What a pair these two are. They hold fast to the idea that no one can be trusted for virtually the entire book, and neither of them even thinks of loving the other until the bitter end. When they finally do decide that they’re in love they waste what’s left of the book misunderstanding each other. Since they hardly like each other – or themselves for that matter – I had a hard time liking either of them.

Both main characters have flaws a mile wide. Gareth’s obsession with revenge grows to be quite distasteful. The whole time he is “courting” Margery, he is really thinking of getting back at her brothers. Granted, his life hasn’t been a picnic, but Margery’s brothers are no more responsible than anyone else for his misfortunes. He also blames Margery even though she was only twelve when he left and she obviously had nothing to do with it. While he does rescue Margery from danger a couple of times, on the whole his revenge fixation made him seem less than heroic.

Margery was a little more likable, but her character was inconsistent. One of the things I liked about her initially was that she felt real guilt for her brief affair and the loss of her virtue. This attitude seemed very in keeping with the times, and uncommon in the romance world where unmarried characters often hop into bed with no thought to the consequences. But about halfway through the book she stopped feeling guilty and began to chase Gareth with the all the enthusiasm of a seasoned courtesan. From that point on, her behavior made little sense.

The rest of the characters fall flat, and most of the disputes between Gareth and the other suitors are petty and immature. The dialogue is eerily reminiscent of a junior high lunch room, which makes it pretty hard to picture a medieval castle. I love books about friends who become lovers, but I found it hard to believe that Gareth and Margery were ever really friends. If you are looking for a good medieval romance about two people who fall in love over time, pass this one up and read Jill Barnett’s Wicked instead.

Reviewed by Blythe Smith

Grade: D

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : June 24, 2000

Publication Date: 2000

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Recent Comments …

  1. Personal impression is subjective. What works for one person doesn’t always work for others, as we all know. However, when…

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Blythe Smith

I've been at AAR since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. I've been a Reviewer, Reviews Editor, Managing Editor, Publisher, and Blogger. Oh, and Advertising Corodinator. Right now I'm taking a step back to concentrate on kids, new husband, and new job in law...but I'll still keep my toe in the romance waters.
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