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A Knight's Tale: Kenilworth (Knight's Tale, #1)
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Historical Novel Discussions > A Knight's Tale: Kenilworth, by Gabriella West

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Ulysses Dietz | 1564 comments A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth
By Gabriella West
Published 2017 by the author
Four stars

Set against the backdrop of historical reality in the high Middle Ages, this is the story of Will Talbot, fatherless son of a minor country squire, who is taken into the household of the fifth Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort. Will is training to be a knight, and is assigned to act as squire to one of the ambitious earl’s sons. For a country boy who has grown up in relative isolation, the world of Kenilworth castle is eye-opening. As he learns the skills he needs to be a warrior and earn his knighthood, Will also learns about the increasingly complicated relationship of the Montfort family with King Henry III. He also learns about love, which is, of course, the point. First there is the fair, scholarly, Stephen, clerk to the castle chaplain, a nameless orphan rescued by the earl in the bloody aftermath of a French battle. Then there is Simon, second son of the earl and countess: handsome, brave, and reckless. As historical tensions build around him, Will must find his future and his heart.

I enjoyed West’s story, and very much appreciated her scholarly and vivid depiction of medieval life, in and out of the castle. She doesn’t overdo the details, but uses them to bring the narrative alive. It is a less emotionally complex story than J. Tullos Hennig’s “Wode” series, set in the 1190s during the reign of Richard I, but West does a good job of creating a love story that rings true to the historical period. The main players are all nicely fleshed out, and our perception of them is handily manipulated by West’s careful plot structuring. The sexual interactions throughout the story certainly play their part, but West does fall into the formulaic language of m/m romance. I am pretty jaded when it comes to sex in romances, and I was more interested in and compelled by Will’s emotional evolution than I was about his actual physical encounters.

Taking on historical fiction, particularly with a medieval setting, is no small challenge. Add into that mix a gay love story, and you know it takes a brave author. West’s approach romance fiction seems to be wide-ranging, and I have to give her props for doing such a good job in a challenging arena.

message 2: by Gabriella (new) - added it

Gabriella West | 1 comments Hello,

I just wanted to let group members know that A Knight's Tale: Kenilworth is on Kindle Countdown this weekend...99 cents only!


Gabriella West

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