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The Lady's Champion

(Hearts of Blackmere #1)

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  58 reviews
"I'm not gentle with you because I doubt your strength, my lady, but because I know the full extent of mine."

Lady Natalie Blackmere has always dreamed of meeting the renowned champions of Aldland, especially the legendary Brandon the Bear. When at last the Grand Tourney comes to Blackmere, Natalie swaps places with a barmaid and sneaks out to follow her dreams. But when ba
Kindle Edition, 324 pages
Published November 18th 2020 by Violet Gaze Press
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  174 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is proof that good writing overcomes your usual dislikes. I usually dislike historical/medieval romance. I usually dislike a slow burn.

And then all of a sudden this book comes out swinging with:
-medieval lesbians
-no medieval misogyny
-only one medieval bed
-medieval consent
-medieval body confidence
-medieval cinnamon roll Brandon
-medieval trying her best just lay off her she has a lot of responsibilities Natalie

Erin Cataldi
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE a good slow burn - throw in some medieval romance and body positivity and I am even more invested. I flew through this book in less than one day and I can't wait to get my hands on the second installment. Lady Blackmere has wished for years that the Champions of Aldland would perform their yearly tournament at her castle - years of letter writing and praying have finally brought the renowned champions to her doorstep. She is determined to meet the men and women fighters not as a noble, bu ...more
sil ♡ the book voyagers
3.5 really!

The Lady's Champion was a very great read. It took me a while to read it, I think mainly because it's very slow burn and I expected more action. But it was okay, I think it made sense to have it this way and I enjoyed reading this book and these characters!

I also kinda thought it was going to be a dual POV? The blurb kinda made me think so, but nope, you only get Nat's POV so that makes you not know Brandon completely obviously. So I needed a bit of more Brandon and closeness to his
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
I am late, I know, I know!!!

This cover y'all!!! And the tag-line for this book!!!

Overall, I thought the story was nice and the characters very endearing. I am always a sucker for a cinnamon roll-y hero and Brandon really was that. Ready to serve his lady and ultimately prove that he's worthy of her!
And the lesbian side plot had me LIVING!!!

What was lacking, in my opinion, was Natalie's character and her overall storyline. I just found her to be a bit too "naive" and unsuitable to be a ruler, she
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really, really enjoyed reading this book! It was interesting to read a book that was based on medieval-fantasy with modern speech and you felt you got character development as you journeyed through the story. Natalie, the female main character initially started off naive and a bit weak but grew in her own strength and knowing her own needs as the story developed. I felt I could relate to her insecurities and her need for “more” in her life. The setting descriptions were excellent throughout; i ...more
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
First of all I was SO excited to see a body type other than a super, ab-licioius dude on the cover! This was such a great Saturday afternoon read :) I appreciated the diversity in the characters, the fact that the female characters are written with such diversity. Also, NO female character is told she can't do something because she is a woman! I loved the world that Marie created here, with the Goddess worshipping, female badasses, queerness and where strength of spirit is just as important as m ...more
nick (the infinite limits of love)

Read this book for the big teddy-bear hero and he was actually the sweetest. I did want a bit more chemistry from the romance, but the book was was overall quite enjoyable as both protagonists are endearing.

Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the author's debut novel, and I thought it was great! But, I had no idea that the main couple's story would continue in book 2! I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger at all, but there is obviously more to come...

Lady Natalie Blackmere has swapped clothes with her best friend, Jenny, the tavern barmaid, in order to meet the revered Grand Tourney champions as a commoner. She doesn't want them giving her the noblewoman treatment. She wants to really get to know them. When a group of terrible ban
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Flaming fledglings! Marie delivers with this incredibly tantalizing debacle, weaving a cocoon so intricately and precise, luring you deeper into this tangled web, keeping you riveted on a razors edge, launching this jewel to a whole new level. Exhibiting the tormenting trials and intimidating triumphs, secrets confessed, revelations unmasked and promises made, putting our characters through their paces, fusing this gem together seamlessly. Anarchy and mayhem descend
Oct 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I would give this a 3.5 if goodreads would just LET ME!

This was a very sweet and soft romance between Lady Natalie and Brandon. There was also some action/violence at the beginning and towards the end that kept me engaged. For the majority of the story where its mainly just Natalie and Brandon its them being like ooh I like you but I won't say it out loud, I'll just keep giving you heart eyes until you get it. So this was a slow burn romance which I didn't mind. When things did get steamy I was
Carrow Brown
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome-reads
I thoroughly enjoyed this heart-warming story. The author painted a wonderful world and very engaging character from the woman that gains her confidence to the warrior with the biggest heart in the book. Highly recommend this book for anyone that is looking for a romance to curl up with this winter.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A cinnamon roll and plus-size hero!?! I immediately requested a copy of The Lady’s Champion once I heard that! My two favorite things in a romance novel hero. This story is part fantasy, part historical romance. Natalie is the lady of Blackmere and when the champions arrive for a tournament, she switches places with the town’s barmaid for a chance to meet them. However, while in disguise, her town is attacked and she is forced to flee with Brandon the Bear. I’m not the biggest fan of false ident ...more
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Despite the fact that there is actually quite a bit of violence and bloodshed in the story, the romance between Nat and Brandon still managed to be really soft and sweet. Probably because Brandon is an absolute cinnamon roll of a hero.

It was also really interesting to encounter a hero with body issues. I really felt for Brandon as he struggled with his confidence and self worth, and I loved how Nat never wavered in her desire for him or admiration of him (and vice versa).

The world-building was
Jamie Jack
Dec 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, p-2020
One Decision Changes Everything

I’ll admit that I sometimes grab a book at one of my favorite book review sites just by the cover alone. This one looked to me to be a medieval romance. However, the book is fantasy. That's okay, as I do enjoy a good fantasy book now and then. I was intrigued by the beginning because the heroine is a young noblewoman who decides that she is going to swap places with a tavern owner so she can be amongst the beloved champions of the land (who were in town for a tourn
Lauren loves llamas
Content warnings: (view spoiler)

Natalie, Lady of Blackmere, has written every year to beg the champions of Aldland to hold one of their famous Tourneys in her town. She grew up listening to ballads about them, especially Brandon the Bear, but when they finally agree, she finds herself stymied by protocol. So, naturally, Natalie trade
Viper Spaulding
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it
First in series with HFN

I signed up for the ARC of this book because I love historicals and the hero description (and cover) ticked ALL my boxes. Once I started reading, however, I was a bit confused -- was this an actual historical, or a fantasy story set in a somewhat familiar historical setting? I think the author might have been a bit confused, too, as I still wasn't sure by the time I finished the book.

The world-building details are decidedly historic, fitting in with a general understandi
Caro ♡ Hot Mess Sommelière
Not for me, but maybe it's for you.

I guess you'd call this one a light-hearted romance.

Natalie is the lady of Blackmere, and she is doing rather a poor job of it. Her husband is long dead, her castle is in shambles and the other nobles don't like her because she's a nerdy hermit obsessed with "the Champions".

In the fantasy country of Aldland, the Champions are basically the WWE of medieval jousting. They go across the country to entertain people and host tourneys that have pre-determined fight r
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DNF @54%
A romantic fantasy with a fat man as the love interest?! YES PLEASE! Sadly, it didn't deliver.

The book follows a lady that wishes to meet the group of so called Champions, warriors who fight for the people's entertainment, and when they finally come to her town it just so happens that bandits attack and now she's on the run with Brandon the Bear. *cue romance*

I'm always on the lookout for romances with fat men so I was really excited. Sadly, I didn't feel the che
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, you need to try something new, and the something new for me in this case was The Lady’s Champion. While it’s fairly standard at first glance as a pseudo-medieval fantasy romance, Marie Lipscomb does something interesting with it by centering the story around two explicitly fat characters, Lady Natalie and Sir Brandon the Bear. As a fat woman, I didn’t know what it would mean to have a fantasy that actively encourages people like me to be their best selves and I really appreciated that ...more
Rina H
Mar 01, 2021 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book

But I didn’t. Things I liked: thicc hero who actually has feelings and isn’t afraid to talk about them. The requisite “there’s only one bed and we need to stay warm!” trope. Their relationship is very sweet. And they’re both at least 30!! Brandon’s probably over 40. Finally some fantasy romance with main characters who aren’t 19. Or 19 and 500.

Things that annoyed me: who sends all their guards away to deal with a threat?? That is just ASKING for trouble from sa
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-received
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This was pretty decent. Did I love it? No but it was alright.

I will say the miscommunication element of the other was weak. I got why Nat switched places with her friend at the tavern but she then didn't reveal her true identity to anyone after the tavern was attacked and it made no sense why she didn't say anything later. I know there were some harsh words said how the Lady of Blackmere was an idiot but they didn't lie. She acted rashly and needed to take responsibility. It didn't totally ruin
Beverly Warren
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is book one of three of the Hearts of Blackmere series by Marie Lipscomb. I will say that I was surprised that the main characters' story did not end here. It seems that it will continue into book two. Even though I would not necessarily call the ending a cliffhanger, you can tell that it is unfinished.

Natalie decides she wants to go see the tournament without the "lady" treatment so she swaps clothes with her best friend who happens to be a barmaid. While she is there, the town is overtake
Judy Gittleson Hendrickson
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brandon the Bear has been a hero in the eyes of the townspeople most of his life. Natalie just wants to meet him one on one, but the timing is awful as bandits ravage the town and they barely escape with their lives. The romance starts slowly as they figure out how each other feels, but soon ramps up to very heated. The suspense of what is happening in the area and the search for who is responsible permeates the storyline. The stress of figuring out what she must do to save her people is on her ...more
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful, swoony book this was! The hype about Brandon the Bear, the growly bearded cinnamon roll with the hottest dad bod in recent romance history was completely justified and I almost felt bad for Natalie who is a perfectly lovely, hot ‘n curvy heroine, but almost couldn’t keep up with the sheer delight Brandon stirs in this seasons romance reader’s heart.
So what if it starts out a bit slow and there are some minor plot holes, there’s romance and delicious yearning, danger and great
Mar 02, 2021 rated it liked it
This was a sweet story! I wish I could give this half-stars because I feel like it's more a 3.5 for me. Brandon was great. I loved seeing a plus-size male hero on the page and he was so sweet and tender to Natalie. This book had some pacing issues that slowed it down a bit but the writing was good and I liked Lipscomb's style. I did think Natalie had a few moments where I questioned how she was a leader-- she came off as naive and I didn't understand how she ruled an entire kingdom with some of ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romantic-reads
I ordered this from Words and Kisses in the UK after seeing it come up in the Twitter discourse about romance heroes who aren't ripped. Brandon is a big handsome dude, but big in a Ray Stevenson-will-fuck-you-up way, not an underwear model whose abs can grate cheese way.

Overall, there was good worldbuilding and I liked the premise of the Champions and the rules regarding their lives. But Natalie felt a little flat to me - AND, for those of you who like the HEA to happen in one book, this is the
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Second chance read for me

3.5 stars. I’m on a kick of giving books I’ve DNFed before and giving them a second chance. I gave up on this one before because a secret is a major plot point and that’s not my favorite to read. I really liked the author’s contribution to the Enemies to Lovers anthology so I wanted to give it another chance.

And The Lady’s Champion is just delightful. In the end I didn’t mind the secret quite so much because the story takes place over a matter of days and I appreciated
Willow H. Wood
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If you want something beautifully sweet and cosy, then look no further. This has great writing, a tight little plot, two wonderful people who feel very relatable yet admirable, and a great, ambiguously medieval setting. It was just wholesome and pleasant and lovely. Lovely, lovely.

I really also like the seriousness it placed on killing someone - even in self-defence. It was done really well. You don't see that very often tbh. It's taken for granted that slaying someone to save another is an easy
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Marie is a romance and fantasy author with a penchant for unlikely heroes, fantastical creatures, and finding romance in the midst of chaos. She has a particular fondness for big, squishy, cinnamon-roll heroes, especially if they're beardy.

She was born in Bolton, in the North West of England. After getting a bit taller, she attended The University of Cumbria, confusingly located in Lancaster, UK.


Other books in the series

Hearts of Blackmere (3 books)
  • The Champion's Desire (Hearts of Blackmere, #2)
  • Forever His Champion (Hearts of Blackmere Book 3)

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