Friday, December 4, 2009
Review: The Champion, by Elizabeth Chadwick
This novel is set against the tournament circuits of the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Alexander de Montroi, an escapee from a brutal regime at Cranwell Priory, goes to his brother, a tourney knight. Eventually, he becomes a knight himself, eventually entering into the retinue of William Marshal. Meanwhile, Monday de Cerezay is the daughter of a tourney knight and seamstress. She and Alexander fall in love—with adverse results.
Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick gives us a wonderful rendering of the 12th century, combining romance with a wealth of historical detail that never bogs the story down. I was especially fascinated with the marriage scene, where Alexander and Monday’s son was legitimized. The reason why I love Chadwick’s novels so much is that she always manages to create a story that draws the reader in. Although the romance seems a bit pedestrian at times, it’s also a bit bittersweet; they don’t really realize how much they love each other until after they’ve parted ways. I found Monday’s motives for leaving a little perplexing, though. Still, the characters are such that you really find yourself involved in their story. There’s a nice blend of historical fact and fiction, which lends itself well to Alexander and Monday’s story. It's not my favorite Elizabeth Chadwick novel, but it's still very good.