With 115 pages to count, The Lion of Kent is a good historical romances that is enjoyable and not boring, that allows the reader to appreciate the historical period without being bored by unnecessary details. When the reader is introduced to William, the squire, and Sir Robert, the master, it’s pretty clear what will be the evolution of their relationship: William is young and stubborn, but Robert sees a fire in him that is the right intensity to pick him out the other squires as his partner, in many ways other than on the battlefield.
I found romantic but also very “manly” how Robert courtships William, teaching him the way to be a good knight and in that way, also the right companion for a Lord; it could sound cold, but to me it was romantic. Robert is a widower, he has 2 heirs, he doesn’t need to marry again; I’m not sure if he preferred the company of men even before going to the Crusades, but for sure now he is not interested in finding another woman to warm his bed. And when he comes back to his castle, and can appreciate how William grew up in the past 5 years, he decides he will “groom” the squires to be his.
Another point that is good, even if the story is short, is the accuracy of the historical details. Have you ever noticed how these medieval castles seem always big and full of rooms? And have you ever noticed that instead, when you go to visit some ruins, they are basically a 3, maximum 4 floors tower with one room for each floor? People tend to share the space according to their role, and so all the squires and knights were sleeping in the same main room, bundled together to share the warm, and of course that led to also sharing something else.
Regarding the characters, I think that also on that point the accuracy was good; sure, maybe William is a little too stubborn and proud to be a simple squire, the illegitimate son of some wealthy man, but well, this is a romance after all, and if one of the heroes was not a little “out of the ordinary”, a relationship would have not worked. On the other hand, Robert is a little selfish, a little proud, and even a little aloof and detached, like I think it should be a nobleman of that time. This is not a bed of roses romance, the courtship is not made of kisses and cuddles, but more of convenience and formality: Robert cannot pick everyone as chosen companion, he has to pick someone who “respects” some standards.
Amazon Kindle: The Lion of Kent
Publisher: Carina Press (August 30, 2010)