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Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

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Ivanhoe by Walter Scott

Ivanhoe - Walter Scott

This was a re-read for me, and I do have to admit that I have either become more generous with my ratings or this one deserved higher the first time. Bumping it from 3 to 4 stars, I feel that this book is more fairly rated even if I still didn't enjoy it as much as I would expect to like a story full of adventure, chivalry, plot twists, and Richard the Lionheart.


The greatest turnoff for me is the flowery 19th century writing. I can appreciate the slow story building and verboseness that is common for this time period in some authors, but this one let my mind wander too much. It felt like action was described in such flowery detail that the action disappeared.


That being said, the intertwining tales that bring together knights, Templars, a Saxon heiress, Jewish moneylender, forest outlaw, and the king of England has to have some merit. Ivanhoe offers up fun surprises & innocent romance along with somewhat questionable history. If you are looking for the source of romantic chivalry and the beloved Richard I who exists only in novels, you have found it. However, if you go into reading it knowing that, it is an enjoyable tale.


The women are beautiful, men honorable . . . except the villains who are thoroughly bad and predictably defeated. Think of it as the 19th century version of 'A Knight's Tale' and the anachronisms and stereotypes are just part of the fun.