Review of LADY OF THE KNIGHT by Jackie Ivie (see her website)
Zebra Historical Romance, December 2004
Since she was four, Morganna (Morgan) KilCreggar has had one goal only--to destroy the FitzHugh leader whose rape and murder set off the feud that destroyed the entire KilCreggar family. Morgan has trained herself to be a ruthless killer, with an uncanny ability to throw knives, shoot arrows, and fence. Through constant exercise, she has developed muscles that let her pass as a male--although a young male. While leading her band of robbers onto a battlefield, Morgan is seized by a warrior who claims her as his squire.
'Zander FitzHugh is doing what he can to free Scotland from English control and a squire with a talent for weapons like that of young Morgan is too useful a tool to throw away. Despite the 'lad's' resistance, Zander drafts Morgan into the effort. The emotional cost is high, though. Zander has always liked women before--and now he can only think of his beautiful squire.
Morgan hates the FitzHughes, but this is not the FitzHugh she has sworn to kill. Sooner or later, Zander will return to his family's home and she'll be able to kill his brother, the head of the clan. Despite the growing attraction she feels for Zander, she knows the two can never have a future together. Her own death will surely follow instantly upon the death of the FitzHugh lord. Still a girl can dream, can't she? Even if she's a girl in male clothing.
Author Jackie Ivie tackles the difficult task of refreshing the overused 'hero mistakes heroine for a boy but falls in love anyway plot line' and making it new. This device was horribly overused in the 1970s and has fallen out of favor as a result, but Ivie pulls it off with Morgan's extreme training (she does hundreds of pushups a day) and with Zander's occasionally hinted at near-sightedness. One note, I would have liked to see Morgan/Morganna's continued athleticism and proto-feminism rather than a retreat into a pampered and protected female.
Set in the early 14th Century during the time of The Bruce, LADY OF THE KNIGHT is an impressive debut effort by an author to watch.
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