My Lady's Guardian
by Gayle Callen, historical (2000)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81376-9

One thing I will never understand about most medieval romances is why the authors never utilize the richness of the setting. Religion blended with mythology, the music, the bards, the cants, all sorts of vivid details that can bring life to this increasingly tired genre... but what do we get? Revenge of a landless orphan knight on our aristocratic fair damsel ad nauseum. My Lady's Guardian is one such trite addition to a subgenre already saturated with the such theme.

Our Vengeful Knight is Sir Gareth Beaumont. He can see visions, but does he put that to good use like telling fortune at the local funfair and becoming rich? No, he harbors a burning desire to avenge himself on the Welles siblings. Once, he was a squire and he told Lord Welles, the token My Surrogate Daddy figure for our medieval James Dean in the making, that he foresaw the Welles' falling to the enemy. Lord Welles sent Gareth away with wee Margery, but later Margery's brothers banished him on suspicion that he was in cahoots with the enemy. Alas, Surrogate Daddy was killed so he couldn't defend poor Gareth.

So now he was back from outer space, to quote Gloria Gaynor. Twelve years had passed, and Gareth now finds himself bodyguarding Margery from her overzealous suitors. Margery is given a special dispensation by the Crown to choose her own hubby, after all, and she is besieged by men hungry for her land and money.

And of course, our heroine must have had a lousy affair before, she thinks herself barren, and adding more to the already predictable characterization is her adamant insistence not to marry. Yawn.

To make an already predictable read more a chore to read is the fact that this story seemed to be like two books glued together without any effort to ensure a smooth transition between these two. The first half is a rather inane revenge plot story where our hero blames a woman who was twelve at the time of his Disaster for his troubles. It's like a lung cancer patient blaming a cigarette billboard, I guess. Then it's the second half where everyone starts mistrusting the other even when the sheets are barely dry from their energetic boinking. Add in the predictable Rescue Damsel In Distress ending and a group hug scenario in the epilogue right out of a Barney episode and everything goes down the snoozy path.

My Lady's Guardian is predictable, yes, and I have been getting feedback from irate readers telling me to stop complaining about predictability. "If it's fun, who cares?!!" Well, I don't even find this book fun. But I have this feeling that this book will be a hit among comfort readers.

Rating: 52

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