Christmas In Camelot
by Brenda K Jernigan, historical (2002)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7297-X


Whatever high - ahem - grade this book gets is solely on the trainwreck effect it has on me. You know the feeling of having just to turn the pages to see how bad the story will get, only to somehow snap and you just can't stop laughing? Laughing is good, so hey, this book is good for something, so okay, I'll give it a generous grade. I suspect some readers will be less forgiving, especially if they loathe the concept of Angelica of Rugrat's Medieval Show in their romance.

Just like how every drunk in Vegas wakes up to pray desperately that the woman sleeping beside him is at least eighteen years old, Brenda K Jernigan swears up and down that her heroine Lady Noelle Mallory is twenty-one. Judge from Noelle's antics, however, fifteen is a generous overestimation. Noelle wants to marry for love, so she has spurned all her suitors. When her fed-up brothers tell her that she is marrying Sir Gavin, no ifs or buts about it, she is mad. She will not take this. She will marry for love or she will... she will... AAAAAHH!

Now, I'm all for heroines wanting to marry for love, but it's a really hard buy to accept a medieval heroine who not only expects to marry for love but to throw tantrums when the man chosen to marry her is not only a trusted and respected knight of King Arthur but also a nice man in his own right, and handsome and has all his teeth too. I mean, seriously, how many medieval heroines can expect to be indulged by her brothers that she remains single at 21?

Worse is the fact that this silly woman doesn't actually have any idea what love is. She gets forcefully kissed by this guy she believes to be a peasant and she loves it! Ooh! That's love! That's what she wants. Of course, the perfect story will have this woman actually marrying that peasant and be forced to raise pigs and babies for the rest of her life. That will show her the power of love. Lucky for her that the "peasant" turns out to be Sir Nicholas the Dragon, the biggest playboy knight of the land.

Yeah, I want to marry that playboy who wants to seduce me and believes that all women are insane sluts like his dead momma. My husband must be handsome, hung, and he must come with ten suitcases filled with mommy and women issues. The nice guy with a career and stability? That's not love - that's boring!

Something tells me this author probably wants to publish this book as an Avon True Romance or something but somehow mis-FedExes her book to Zebra. There's actually a children's book of the same title, come to think of it. Hmmm.

Nicholas likes Noelle because she is very, very pretty and hot. She likes him because he is so hot and he kisses her forcefully, ooh. Nothing goes deeper than this. Nicky and Noelle are like the new Barbie and Ken of the... er, I don't even know what year this story is set in, come to think of it, I'm never actually told. But since King Arthur is alive at this point, it just shows that teenagers can be just as obnoxious then as they are now.

Then again, any story that has King Arthur, Poster Boy of Medieval Favoritism (yeah, like it's so hard for Merlin to stick a dumb sword in a rock and let only his favorite boy pull it out of the rock, and while we're at it, Merlin must be the founder of the Welsh NAMBLA division, because he's way too fond of that little Arthur if you ask me) and the World's Biggest Cuckold Ever, playing Mary Sue matchmaker is probably screwed anyway.

Annoying childish characters acting in insipid ways to drive me up the wall make Christmas In Camelot the biggest lump of coal in the Christmas stocking. I'll just stick to getting drunk on eggnogs.

Rating: 49


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