The Warrior's Damsel
by Denise Hampton, historical (2001)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81546-X

The Warrior's Damsel is actually better than its title suggests, but not by much. If Denise Hampton, formerly known as Denise Domning, adheres to the formula any more faithfully, she'd be making cookie cutters for Avon. Then again, that probably wouldn't be too far off from the truth.

Katherine de Fraisney is our widowed heroine. The hero, Rafe Godsol, sees her at his friend's wedding and pleasantly contemplates seducing her. While lamenting the pain of having to sleep with married women while not having a faithful wife of his own. Oh, Rafe, I feel your pain, I really do. Now let me shove your face into this (filled) chamber pot. When Rafe realizes that Kate is single and available, with lots of money and land that come with her, he decides to prostitute himself for the sake of the poor, namely, himself.

Oh sorry, I mean to say, he decides to court the heroine.

Meanwhile, Kate is torn between this alluring suitor and her other beau, one arranged by her father for her to wed. Little does she know that Daddy and Other Man are planning to get rid of her new boyfriend. Worse, when she finds out that Rafe doesn't believe in love... eek.

Yeah, yeah, I've read it all before. Hero who doesn't believe in love (well, who better to know how false love is than a serial philanderer, right?), heroine who is - well, like every other medieval heroine who wants to never marry again et cetera, the other dull man who turns out to be just like the hero (money mad) but has to die because he is not the hero, and too many shallow characterization and psychology. Instead of bringing out the best in the main characters, the author chooses to bring out the worst in the villains instead just to knock me in the head who to root for. But really, I can't tell any difference in the motives between the villain and the hero, to be honest. I guess size and how you use it really do matter in the end.

More strange Madonna/Whore complex and medieval romance typicality for your reading pleasure here. The Warrior's Damsel is decently written and it stays so much within the confines of the formula that it can't be anything but fail-proof mediocrity.

Rating: 73

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