Publisher: Breathless Press
Date published: 1 February 2013
Reviewed by Helen
Obtained via publisher
Gwendolyn Braxton is a huge fan of the Renaissance era and is the Arthurian specialist at the museum where she works. But she’s Black, thirty and unattached, so her mother decides to send her to the UK to find her real-life Knight in Shining Armor.
Morien is one of twelve knights sent from Camelot by Merlin to recover the Holy Grail. Until he finds it he can’t return home. He’s spent five years searching with no success and he longs to go home.
The idea for this story is great, but the first barrier to me for losing myself in the book is the historical divide. King Arthur was fifth to sixth century. Even if the story doesn’t take place until much later it was the eleventh and twelfth centuries when Arthurian legend was popular. The Renaissance was the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries and most Renaissance Faires focus on the Tudor period in England, specifically Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) which is nowhere near Arthur’s time or when his legends were popular. Actually, Arthurian legends were most unpopular during the Renaissance time and only revived in the nineteenth century. This would be so easy to fix simply by exchanging all the “Renaissance” mentions to “Medieval”.
Secondly, Gwen is a woman of color yet her eyes are gray, her skin is termed “honey colored” and her hair is described several times as “golden” and once as “sandy brown”. Quite apart from the fact that golden is quite different from sandy brown, neither of those say “woman of color” to me. If your heroine is Black why not give her darker eye, skin and hair coloring?
Finally, the sex scene uses euphemistic words and at times borders on purple prose.
The characters are well drawn and interesting, and the basic premise of the story is good. Unfortunately the execution doesn’t follow through.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.