Lady Danger by Glynnis Campbell
Deirdre of Rivenloch — a beautiful female warrior — has never had trouble turning away men, but when she marries the powerful Sir Pagan Cameliard to save her sister, Deirdre soon finds herself losing the battle over her heart…Born to the blade and raised to fear no one, Deirdre of Rivenloch never shies away from a fight and never turns her back on a threat to her land or her family. But she’s never met a man like Sir Pagan Cameliard, the bold and powerful knight who comes at the king’s command to make a marriage alliance with Rivenloch. To save her younger sister, Deirdre tricks Pagan into marrying her instead, and now she faces a new kind of enemy who crosses swords with her by day and lays siege to her heart by night.
First of all, “Deirdre” is an Irish Name. Irish and Scottish are NOT the same thing. Deirdre and Naoise or “Deirdre of the Sorrows,” is a famous and incredibly tragic Irish legend that would later (probably) become the template for Tristan and Isolde. (I was almost named “Deirdre” and my father nixed the idea because he did not want to curse me with that legacy.) According to the Amazon description of the novel series, Miss Rivenloch has sisters named “Helena” (Latin) and “Miriel”…which is fucking Tolkien Elvish! (Miriel was the wife of Finwae). “Meriel” was the form of “Muriel” in Scotland.
Secondly, no. No female warriors in early Medieval Scotland.
I get the fun and socially-necessary role breaking of the female warrior archetype. But it has become so common I begin to worry that society is losing sight of the idea that one does not have to wield a blade (and one could say take on a traditionally, stereotypical male role) in order to be “strong.” There were many strong women in the Middle Ages; Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hildegarde of Bingen, Margery Kempe, Isabella of France, Christine de Pizan, Joanna I of Naples. They just did not go onto the battlefield, even Scottish women. And the very rare ones that did, such as Eleanor’s daughter, Joan of England or Nicolaa de la Haye, did not actually swing a sword but led through strategy and tactics. Women, and men, do not have to be violent in order to show strength.
Three, no Cameliard. That’s the mythical kingdom in Wales or Cornwall that Arthur’s Guinevere came from.
But at least make him Sir Pagan OF Cameliard since it’s a place, not a family name.
(Of course, when I see that name, a small voice says “Canard” and “Sir Duck.”)
“Pagan” was actually a medieval male given name that survived until the 17th century when the term become loaded with its anti-christian implication.
Four, why would a Scot marry his daughter to an Englishman, thereby losing the family land to the English upon his death?
In short, I will not be reading this novel. The description alone was entertainment enough.
Side note: I was going to include a “marriage trick” in my novel (and I had a couple wonderfully funny scenes written…o.k., they were funny to me), but now I see how cliche’d it is in the historical romance genre, including horrible ones. I think I will kill that darling.