Earthly Knight

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Will Lady Jeanette sacrifice her freedom to save her family's honor?

Lady Jeanette Avenel is the free-spirited second daughter of a nobleman in twelfth-century Scotland. When her elder sister, Isabel, is dishonored, Jenny is asked to relinquish her freedom in an attempt to save the good name of her father's house. But will the affection of a mysterious young man lead to Jenny's ruin as well?

Lady Jeanette battles tradition and magic amid a ...

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Overview

Will Lady Jeanette sacrifice her freedom to save her family's honor?

Lady Jeanette Avenel is the free-spirited second daughter of a nobleman in twelfth-century Scotland. When her elder sister, Isabel, is dishonored, Jenny is asked to relinquish her freedom in an attempt to save the good name of her father's house. But will the affection of a mysterious young man lead to Jenny's ruin as well?

Lady Jeanette battles tradition and magic amid a world alive with medieval pageantry. Hers is the timeless story of a young woman who seeks to control her own destiny to win a better life for herself and her sister.

In 1162 in Scotland, sixteen-year-old Jenny Avenel falls in love with the mysterious Tam Lin while being courted by the king's brother and must navigate the tides of tradition and the power of ancient magic to define her own destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
McNaughton has a Ph.D. in folklore and her attention to detail in this historical fiction is careful and impressive. The story is set in Scotland in 1162, and the focus is on two sisters of a Norman nobleman—Isabel and Jenny. As the story begins, Isabel is disgraced—we must wait to discover why. She has sanctuary in her father's home, but lives in a state of shame. Jenny, therefore, as the second daughter, is expected to make an advantageous marriage for the family honor. It seems the best will happen to them: Jenny will be engaged to marry Earl William, heir to the King of Scotland. Tension mounts as it becomes clear that Earl William is violent, selfish, and domineering. What will Jenny do, especially now that she discovers she is pregnant with her true love's child? McNaughton has based this story on two traditional Scottish ballads: "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight" and "Tam Lin"—so the man Jenny falls in love with is known as Tam Lin, believed to have been taken over by faeries, living alone in the forest, away from other humans. Jenny rides her horse into the forest to meet Tam Lin. He listens to her and respects her, unlike Earl William, her fiancé. They fall in love and she becomes pregnant with his child—disgraced, as Isabel had been disgraced. The greater danger, however, is rescuing him from the power of the faery world. Adolescents who enjoy historical fiction, the medieval world, adventurous heroines, and a touch of the supernatural will certainly want to read this intelligent, well-written story. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004 (orig. 2003), HarperCollins, 261p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
McNaughton's novel gives us an incredible rendition of the Scottish Tam Lin folktale and much more besides. The author links two ballads that are centuries old to tell the story of two young women from 1162 who have been raised motherless by a lenient father. At the story's start we find the eldest sister, Isabel, returning to her father in disgrace. Sixteen year-old Jenny is then the hope of the family. Headstrong Jenny loves the wild woods and is unlikely to choose a conventional marriage, but she is being offered to the son of the king, a handsome narcissist with a wandering eye. It becomes more and more clear to Jenny that she is in love with Tam Lin, a young man rumored to have been possessed by the fairy folk. When Jenny discovers the truth of the tales she has heard about Tam Lim, she feels even stronger in her love and willing to fight the fairy folk for the possession of the man she loves. Award-winning young adult novelist McNaughton has a Ph.D. in folklore and her comfort with the genre and with historical research and accuracy are clear in this book as she makes customs, settings, mores, fears and personalities vivid, 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 12 up.
—Susie Wilde
VOYA
Suddenly sixteen-year-old Jenny is considered the oldest daughter after her sister, Isabel, runs off with an unworthy suitor. Although Isabel has returned, their father's focus is now finding a suitable and wealthy nobleman for Jenny to marry in order to save the family and its reputation. Jenny has always been a rebel, and in 1162 Scotland, her rebellion revolves around leaving the house unattended to ride in the woods and climb trees to sit and daydream. On one of her adventures, Jenny meets Tam Lin, a young man who has a special connection to the fairies of the forest. She becomes intrigued by him and is hopelessly torn when her father tries to force her marriage to a more "suitable" man. When Tam Lin's past begins to threaten even Jenny, she has to make some quick decisions in order to survive. McNaughton bases this story on two ancient ballads, and she is most faithful to "Tam Lin," a ballad that was already old in 1549 in Scotland. Because she is a scholar of folklore, McNaughton includes a great deal of detail in her story, and avid readers of folklore fiction will fall as in love with Tam Lin as Jenny does. For some other readers, those same details could bog down the story. Give this one a try with better folklore fantasy readers, and the romance of Jenny's quest for true love will spirit them away. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P J S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, HarperCollins, 272p., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
—Lynn Evarts
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Love and religious and political intrigue abound in this retelling of the legend of Tam Lin set in 12th-century Scotland. When her older sister, Isabel, disgraces the family, it is up to 16-year-old Jenny to save her father's reputation and prosperity. Then, she meets Tam Lin in the forest and befriends him. Stories of his insanity and odd behavior fuel the locals' fear of him, so Jenny keeps their relationship a secret. When she is brought to the royal court as a potential bride for the king's womanizing brother William, she takes an instant dislike to him. She also realizes that she is in love with Tam Lin, and, after a hazily described night of passion, she becomes pregnant. The betrothal ceremony for Jenny and William is set against her wishes, but a last second burst of courage allows her to reveal her secret. Following the ancient legend, the teen braves the fairy queen to rescue Tam from his enchantment, and the young lovers are reunited. The author does an excellent job of interweaving legend and history to create an exciting and engaging tale. A side story about Isabel is equally well developed. The women, though bound by tradition and societal standing, show gumption and fortitude, and the role of the early church in politics and daily life is interestingly explored. Fans of Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard (Houghton, 2001), also a retelling of Tam Lin, will enjoy this novel as well.-Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sandwiched between two ballads, "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight" and "Tam Lin," is the story of Jenny, younger daughter of a minor Scottish-Norman noble. Her elder sister Isabel having disgraced herself by running away with and then killing one of her father's knights, Jenny is now the focus of her father's alliance-seeking. When she's brought forward as a candidate for marriage to the heir to the Scottish throne, all seems to be golden for her-except that he's a bounder, and she's fallen in love with the fey Tam Lin, a troubled young man who haunts Carter Hall, a property taken from his family and given to Jenny's father. The strengths and weaknesses of this tale alike reside in the details of 12th-century Scotland, both political and domestic. Jenny is rendered more or less true to her time, her own inner conflict arising from her very real awareness of her obligations to her family. The "Tam Lin" elements of the tale are also faithfully rendered, but the story's earthly details tend to overwhelm the fairy magic, resulting in a sometimes awkward splicing of the two. (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060089948
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

JANET McNAUGHTON is the multi-award-winning author of many books, including The Secret Under My Skin, An Earthly Knight and her most recent novel, Dragon Seer, which was shortlisted for the prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, as well as both the CLA Young Adult Book Award and the Book of the Year for Children Award. McNaughton lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her family. Visit her online at www.janetmcnaughton.ca.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    Amazing... The best book i've read this year

    I think this book was awesome. It is a combination of Romance, Fantasy, and historical fiction set in 1162 scotland. Its about a 16 year old girl named Jenny who falls in love with a mysterious man rumoured to have been kidnapped by fairies. At the same time Jenny's father wants her to marry an obnoxious man named Earl William who barely pays attention to her. It's defenitly for anyone who loves fantasy books. I would say people 12 and up should definatly read this book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2006

    Great Page-Turner

    This book was a Scottish Fairy Tale. i loved this book. it explained alot about love and types of loves. but it wasn't some lets go jump in the sack kind of book....but plain old true love, trust, and faithfulness. READ IT!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2006

    Wonderful version of Tam Lin

    This book was a terrific retelling of the Scottish tale Tam Lin, which has always been a favorite of mine. The original tale is so wonderful in itself, and this book really captured the heart of the story. Simply beautiful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2005

    Outstanding book!

    This is one the best books I've read in a long time. I could not put it down, it was impossible to set it down even for a moment. I LOVED IT!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    Excellent

    I was amazed by this book. When I picked it up, I though it would be OK, but not the greatest book ever. Wrong! The book really brought me into medieval Scotland, and I was frustrated,as the main character was, with the limitations a woman had. The element of fairies and little folk gave it a fun and magical twist. The only downside to the book was that the main character was hard to like sometimes, but overall, I highly reccomend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2014

    Whether or not I enjoyed the book is still being decided by my &

    Whether or not I enjoyed the book is still being decided by my "little grey cells". Unlike many who have read this novel, I enjoyed the history and the details of what life was like back then. The complaints I have mostly refer to the simple characters that have very little or no development. I think the place I lost interest was near the end because not only does Jenny (the main character) sleep with Tam Lin, but she also brings even more disgrace upon her family. I think this story would have been better as a first person narrative instead of third limited omniscient because then we would have been able to understand Jenny's thought process and see her world through her eyes. I also did not like how the climax didn't come about until the second to last chapter, and even then it wasn't very climatic. It was nonchalantly written and then we move on.

    So a re-cap, I liked the history and folklore, I didn't like the characters. If you are looking for a quick read that could potentially frustrate you, but with good imagery, this novel is for you.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    stinks

    The plot is lame, the characters are poorly developed it has about as much chemistry and romanticism as a brick and a nightlight. Didn't like what happened in the story and the ending was like, I dunno it just ended kinda. Whatever.
    If you like this book, I also recommend you read crap.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2005

    Thrilling

    This was an out standing book, I LOVED it!! I loved how Janet McNaughton kept the supense in things and how she put such interesting twists in it at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2004

    Love

    This is so cool. Mean-hearted fairys,true love at every corner.Well,almost every one. If every book was like this I'd never do anything else!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2004

    Magnifico!!!!!!!!

    This book was so interesting.I just love reading historical fiction and this one is a sapphire among pearls.Even though i have read more explict stuff n the sexual category than this,i love that the author wrote the whole pregenacy thing in a way that was more figurative than explict so as not to shock younger readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2004

    Wonderful

    I loved this book.it is very well written and an excellent story.It keeps you interested to the very end,with all the twists in turns played out,when you reach the en dyou are left wanting more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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