This has been amazing read by a talented and courageous author. You're probably thinking, "courageous? How? She just wrote a book...?" I say courageous because of the subject matter that Ms. Hawthorne chose to incorporate. This is a historical novel about the Christian Pilgrimage and the knight the story follows is a woman and a lesbian who is doing this pilgrimage in honor of her dead, homosexual twin.
First of all, do not be put off by that. The sex scenes are either non existent or more implied than detailed. I found it very tastefully done. The only thing that grossed me out (and considerably!) is when the characters make love after stating they haven't bathed in months. EW!
Elisabeth, escaping an unhappy household and honoring her dead brother, takes his squire and what first begins as a simple escape plan, dressing as a knight to avoid detection, because a quest as she joins the Crusades, her squire in tow. She must hide the fact she is a woman and deal with her emerging sexual feelings, as well as engage in battle. There's also extreme heat, pillaging, angry turks, political corruption...
I must say, the Christians weren't very Christian.. as they loot, rape, and rob every town they come to, be it Christian or Muslim. I wasn't very impressed with their behavior. However, the heroine does what she can to maintain order and has the most honorable actions throughout the novel. She becomes a very noble knight. And brave!!! While everyone else was retreating, she and her horse continued fighting till the end and I especially loved how her horse fights other horses.. very cool.
Something that amused me: The Lombards were like historical white trash.
What I didn't like: 1. She meets a Muslim slave and it's love at first sight... one and a half short conversations and they seem to be confessing their undying love for each other. Huh? 2. The last 40% gets way too into battle, looting, raping, pillaging, and tactics. I must confess a lack of interest in these matters and thus, I grew a bit bored.
Favorite quote and food for thought: "God did not create sin... Men created sin. They also created the Church to tell people about it, and to punish those who did it."
Four stars and I won this ebook in a blog giveaway.