A friend loaned me "Gentle Warrior" to while away a work break, since I'd forgotten my own book. It turned out that I was glad that that was all the time I had for it. Within the first few pages I was convinced that I was reading about two of the least intelligent characters ever to be set to print, their behavior so moronic - even with my expectations as low as they were for a romance novel - as to be stunning.
Almost immediately, the "hero" disdains the helmet his squire tries to clap on his thick skull, despite the fact that he is about to go into battle. Not a parade, not a tournement: battle. I was delighted when he shortly had his comeuppance in taking a head wound. A warrior that stupid wouldn't last ten minutes on a real medieval battlefield. And for such an idiot to be in command - !
When Garwood began to describe the woman with the hawk - the bare-armed, bare-handed woman with the hawk - I cringed, hoping against hope she wouldn't do what I already expected. Then she did it. The woman holds out her arm, and the entirely domesticated hawk ever-so-gently lands on it. I'm sorry, no. Absolutely not. If this were a sorcery-rich fantasy, where the girl had some power over bird and beast - then yes, why not. If this purports to be an even vaguely realistic historical romance (an assumption which admit is not borne up by the style of dialogue or the characterizations), then that action proved the "heroine" to be astonishingly ignorant, foolhardy, and reckless. A hawk cannot be tamed fully. A hawk cannot be trained to land gently without gripping with its talons. A hawk cannot be made into a pet. A realistic conclusion to this scene would have shown the girl writhing in pain and bleeding profusely from very deep puncture wounds in her arm.
On the other hand - I guess those first few pages were evidence that these two were, indeed, meant for each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a wonderful historical romance set in fuedal england. Julie Garwood as always, delivers her best in loveable characters. A muszt read for those who love historical romance.