Saturday, May 16, 2009

An Earthly Knight - Book Review

An Earthly Knight
by Janet McNaughton
Harper Collins 2003

Janet McNaughton is a Canadian author and has written a number of Young Adult books. This fictonal novel is also a YA book but I enjoyed it very much. Set in 1162, this is the story of Janet and her love for the fairy knight Tam Lin.

When Janet's father agrees to marry her off to William de Warenne, the brother of King Malcom of Scotland, Janet disagrees with the idea. William de Warenne is a brute, a rapist and an uncouth man. He thinks nothing of raping women and treating them like slaves and brood mares. Only good for breeding. Janet was raised to be somewhat more independent.

Janet flees her home to the forest, and ends up at Carter Hall, the ruins of the old LIN family manor house. There is a legend that says that the LIN family who used to own Carter Hall all died of food poisoning except for the youngest son and one stable boy. Those boys have never been seen since.

As a 14 year old, Tam Lin was seduced by the Fairy Queen and now lives in the Faery world. He desperately wants to return to the real world, but he cannot. Only one thing can save him. The love of a women. Janet and Tam (now aged 21) fall in love and eventually sleep together. Janet is 16 (an old maid in those times).

So when Janet is standing in the church at the betrothal ceremoney, she tells William, the priests and her father that she cannot marry William because she is with child by another. William wants to beat her black and blue. But she is saved by Eudes, Janet's brother, who tells them that William needs to punish himself as he has gotten at least two other young girls with child recently, and now they have NO future. William sulks at being found out, and then goes home. Janet is free to go to Tam Lin, but first she must rescue him from the Faery World.

This is a fictionalised version of the ballad of TAM LIN from Scotland. It comes from the Scottish Borders.

Now while I do have ancestors from Scotland, NONE of my ancestors came from the Borders region. My ancestors were Celtic and Gaelic from the Scottish Highlands, and in one line, may even be of Viking and Norse ancestry.

This was a very enjoyable read, and I was able to finish the book in just a few hours.

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