The Lady’s Champion
The Lady’s Champion
by Marie Lipscomb
“I’m not gentle with you because I doubt your strength, my lady, but because I know the full extent of mine.”
Lady Natalie Blackmere has always dreamed of meeting the renowned champions of Aldland, especially the legendary Brandon the Bear. When at last the Grand Tourney comes to Blackmere, Natalie swaps places with a barmaid and sneaks out to follow her dreams. But when bandits besiege her town, Natalie barely escapes with the surviving champions. Alone in the woods with the man she has always admired, Natalie must keep her identity a secret and step up to become the leader she was born to be, if she is to save her people.
Brandon the Bear is a champion that ballads are sung about. Or, he was. Past his prime and struggling with each new tourney, Brandon fears his time as a champion has come to an end. When the fight becomes real, he is determined to save the townspeople of Blackmere and rescue the lady who ruled over it. Though there is no love lost for Lady Blackmere, the noblewoman who allowed her town to be vulnerable to attack, and his fellow champions slain, Brandon is resolved to do the right thing. And when a beautiful barmaid looks at him with stars in her eyes, he feels like maybe he can be the hero she thinks he is.
Note from the author: Content warning: This story is about two people falling in love and neither of them are skinny. On a couple of occasions, a big jerk picks on the hero for his weight. He is a jerk, and no one likes him. He’ll get what’s coming to him in future books. We love the hero and his magnificent bod. Brandon is a cinnamon roll and there’s lots of consent and face sitting. Also a few people get murdered. Enjoy!
A cinnamon roll and plus-size hero!?! I immediately requested a copy of The Lady’s Champion once I heard that! My two favorite things in a romance novel hero. This story is part fantasy, part historical romance. Natalie is the lady of Blackmere and when the champions arrive for a tournament, she switches places with the town’s barmaid for a chance to meet them. However, while in disguise, her town is attacked and she is forced to flee with Brandon the Bear. I’m not the biggest fan of false identity stories but Natalie’s choice was understandable and once she was in the role as barmaid and events occurred, it was hard for her to reveal her truth. As she and Brandon grow close together, her secret puts a damper on their relationship. This story had things I absolutely love, like “there’s only one bed and we must share for body heat”, plump hero and heroine, burning chemistry between Brandon and Natalie. However, the world building was slow at times, in part with the first book in a new series. Also, the description of the second book was released recently and it will follow Brandon and Natalie too. I’m excited for the second book and to revisit Brandon and Natalie in their adventures!
*Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.