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August 20, 2016

Review: Knowing Yourself by Lisa Shea

by MK French

cover of Knowing Yourself
In the first book of the Sword of Glastonbury series, Kay has to marry in order to have a husband help her protect her home. Because she isn't thrilled with the idea, her father allows her to choose one from a selection of men. Her sister is already married and lives elsewhere, but agrees to pretend to be Kay in order to interview five potential suitors that stay at the castle. Kay then pretends to be her maidservant in order to get to know the five potential suitors, and choose the one she wants to marry.

She loves her home, a keep near the sea, and wants to choose a husband that will help her take care of it if neighboring clans attack, and appreciate the beauty in its isolated location. Her sister Em is a wonderful confidante and diplomat and manages to send away the men that Kay refuses in such a way that they think it's their idea. Once down to the final suitors, a traitor is revealed, and Kay is able to outwit the villain and save her people without sacrificing the ones she loves.

The book is written in a more contemporary language, making it a very easy and quick read. History purists might not like that, but they would also be able to tell if the swordsmanship (or swordswomanship?) displayed by the sisters is accurate to the medieval period. I did enjoy that part of Kay's characterization, and that it also was a way to showcase her determination, ability to persevere through difficult situations and that she cared more for others' safety.

The romance was very believable and chastely done, so those who don't like explicit reads will enjoy this. The villainous characters are a bit cliche in their motivations, and that when offered mercy refuse to take it. The epilogue feels a bit rushed compared to how the rest of the book progressed but neatly ties up the story for all of our main characters.

The sword of the series title doesn't figure prominently in the story itself but is a linking mechanism between the books of the series. The sword is presented to a young woman in a time of trouble, and once she is safe and meets a woman in need of it, she should pass it along to the next woman. I haven't read the other books in the series yet (Amazon says there are thirteen books) but I suspect they will be just as much fun and enjoyable to read as this book had been for me.

Buy Knowing Yourself at Amazon

MK French, reviewer. Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (240 pages)
published: December 2011 by Minerva Webworks
ISBN13: 9780979837760
genres: romance, historical, medieval

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