Rosie was left on the church steps as a baby and raised by a foster family who only valued her for the labor she could provide. She was always a hard worker, but when she was tricked by a young man into giving up her virginity and this was discovered by her foster father, he decided she was a loose woman who would be a bad influence on the rest of family. He sold her to a bawdmaster, and now her "virginity" is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Two wealthy lords get into a bidding war over her, but when the one who wins is an attractive knight, Rosie thinks she may have gotten lucky. However, when he tells her he wants to turn her into a "lady" fit to meet the king in less than a fortnight, she thinks he may have lost his mind. When he offers her a portion of the winnings he'll secure through a bet he made, Rosie agrees to play along and proves to be a quick study. As Andrew teaches her all she'll need to know, she beings to fall for him, but the other man who bid for her favors is none too happy about losing and continues to pursue her, placing her in danger.
Sir Andrew Ford is a brave knight, but one whom many view as little more than a strutting peacock because of his love for fashionable clothing and the finer things in life. While attending a huge festival in France, he comes across Rosie being auctioned off. He can't help feeling sorry for the dirty, bedraggled girl, so when the young proteges in his company start badmouthing her, he makes an impetuous wager that he can turn Rosie into a proper lady who could fool even the king within a fortnight. After gaining her cooperation in his endeavor through the offer of money, Andrew slowly earns her trust as well. Along the way, he finds himself charmed by her, but can he keep her safe from the machinations of his nemesis? And will he actually be able to fool the king when the time comes or will he be thrown into prison for his impertinence in trying?
Lady of the Knight is the fourth book in Tori Phillips's Cavendish Chronicles, although chronologically it falls between Three Dog Knight and Silent Knight. It borrows elements from the classic tale of Pygmalion. The story follows Sir Andrew Ford, a knight who was first seen as Thomas Cavendish's squire in Three Dog Knight. He's all grown up now, and by the standards of the day, an "old man" at the age of thirty-eight, and he's known as something of an expert in fashion and etiquette. Andrew encounters a harlot whose alleged virginity is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Feeling rather sorry for her and seeing the beauty behind her dirty, bedraggled appearance, when his young proteges bad-mouth her as not being a "lady," Andrew wagers them that within a fortnight, he can turn her into one and that not even the king will be able to tell the difference. When the young men take him up on his bet, Andrew buys Rosie and then sets about turning her into a proper lady. He gains Rosie's cooperation by promising to pay her a portion of his winnings. Still, it's a challenging task, but one that Andrew is completely up for and Rosie proves a quick study. Along the way, they being to fall for one another despite their significant age difference, and things are going well. However, the man Andrew outbid for Rosie is none too happy about not getting to "deflower" her and continues to pursue her, placing her in danger. Then there's the question of whether Andrew will be able to pull off his farce, because if the king isn't fooled and doesn't find the affair amusing, he might have them both thrown in jail or worse.
As I mentioned, Andrew was Thomas's squire, but has long been a full-fledged knight when this story opens. In fact, he's beginning to age. The young men in the story and even Andrew himself often quip of him being an "old man." He's a widower whose young heiress wife left him a fortune, which has kept him in the finery he enjoys. Many view Andrew as little more than a popinjay who lacks any depth, but in reality, behind the fine clothes and rich appointments of the tent which serves as his temporary home away from home while attending festivities in France, he's an accomplished knight who even his young proteges can't best at tournament. When he finds Rosie being auctioned off and decides to buy her for his bet, he could have taken liberties with her, but chose not to. Instead he treats her with kindness, realizing that to gain her cooperation with his little endeavor, he'll also need her trust. However, he is tempted by the young woman who makes him feel much younger than he is. Together they make a good team, with Andrew gently coaching and Rosie doing her utmost best to learn his lessons. When the evil Sir Gareth comes after her, maligning her honor, Andrew doesn't hesitate to step up to defend her in the jousting arena. And soon he realizes that he doesn't want to live without her. I liked Andrew for his chivalry and because he treats Rosie with a measure of respect in spite of her humble upbringing. He also defends her honor, not only when Sir Gareth comes after her, but also to his young compatriots who tend to put her down because of where they found her.
Rosie was left on the church steps as an infant and fostered with a family who only valued her for her hard work. She was recently hoodwinked by a young man who made her think he loved her, but after she slept with him, he tossed her aside without a thought. Her willingly giving up her innocence displeased her foster father, who then sold her to a bawdmaster. Although she's no longer a virgin, the bawdmaster doesn't know that and is trying to pass her off as one, auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder. When Andrew casts the winning bid, Rosie is happy that it's him and not Sir Gareth, a man who's rumored to be cruel. However, she still doesn't trust Andrew until he shows her can be trusted. Still, when he reveals his wager and his plan, she thinks he may have taken leave of his senses. But when he generously offers to pay her for her trouble and uses the money as incentive in training her in her duties as a lady, she proves a fast learner. Rosie soon falls in love with Andrew, but given her background, she doesn't feel worthy of him and can't help wondering what will become of her when the wager has been completed. Rosie is a sweet, smart girl who didn't deserve the bad hand that fate has given her. I was glad to see her raised up in station and given a new lease on life through Andrew's kindness, acceptance, and love, as well as that of Alicia Cavendish. The only thing I might have liked to see is Rosie gaining a little more confidence in herself and not putting herself down so much.
Overall, Lady of the Knight was another good installment in this series that I enjoyed. I liked seeing the Cavendish clan who play significant roles in the story. Thomas and Alicia (Three Dog Knight) show their support for Andrew and Rosie. Andrew's former students, Guy (Silent Knight) and Brandon (Midsummer's Knight) are present throughout, along with their friend, Jack, and Andrew's squire, Jeremy. My chief complaint about the story is the disrespect that these young men often show toward Rosie. I realize that they viewed her as little more than a harlot, but a few quips would have gotten the point across. Instead, they do it almost every time they see her until late in the story, which was a little disappointing, especially for Guy and Brandon who had been so chivalrous in their own books that I'd completely fallen for them. Otherwise, I thought it was a fun story that reimagines an old classic. Andrew and Rosie were great together. He treats her kindly and she still finds him handsome and not so old despite their age gap. The author also used the real historical gathering known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold as a backdrop for the story, which was a plus. I enjoyed the festive atmosphere of this event that she brought to life so deftly. Other than my few small critiques, I liked Lady of the Knight and look forward to continuing the series.
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