The Rose And The Shield
by Sara Bennett, historical (2002)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-000270-0

This book may as well be titled The Mould And The Template. In fact, it may as well function as a template itself for future medieval romance authors who want to lose their individuality and become another happy, faceless McAvon Happy Meal workers behind the counter.

"Hello, I'm Sara, would you like some McLousyDeadHusband along with your McInnocentHeroine? Please take a seat, The Rose And The Shield will be ready in five minutes. Would you like some fries with the rake knight guy? It's a promotion we're having, buy Sara Bennett and Mary Reed McCall and we'll throw in Margaret Moore for free, not that you can tell them apart easily, hahaha."

Hahaha indeed. Of course, this book is very readable. Smart editor, savvy formula-friendly author, et cetera. But I find it very difficult to keep awake through this story, and swatting flies and yawning on a lazy hot afternoon may just be more productive than this.

Our heroine Rose of Somerford has just lost her old-and-not-so-good-in-bed husband and look, everybody wants a piece of her land now. She and the Token Loyal Knight Who Swears Allegiance to Her Forever guy are besieged left and right, and now to make things more fun, our rake noble mercenary guy Gunnar is sent by her enemy to spy on her and see what trouble she is trying to brew. He too comes with the token loyal knight buddy and pom-pom cheerleader troupes. He and she meet and fall in love, but all those lies, blah blah blah, it's the same old thing, same old yarn, and in the same old style of storytelling too. He'll have to choose - pure heroine or a big house (hers), and of course in the end he gets both. She is innocent, she is a trusting dingbat, she needs sexual healing, she needs help, again the same old stupid creature.

The late half of the book sees the same old rescue-her thing, and... oh, I don't really care, really. This story is so familiar and overdone to the point that I really can't bring myself to even work up even a little enthusiasm for this story. I'm pressed by a more dire concern: hey, Carrie Feron, I've bought this $5.99 Happy Meal, where's my freaking evil clown toy?

Rating: 51

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