Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
I am just going to admit this embarrassing fact: I have had this book on my shelf since I graduated from high school and have been meaning to read it ever since. Just to clarify, I graduated ELEVEN years ago, and I had never even cracked the cover. Jeremy read it last year and recommended it, and I have to admit, nothing motivates me more than a little competition. I don’t really know why I am this way, but I feel that I have to read every book that Jeremy does, especially if they are books I’ve been MEANING to read for most of my life. He is a much faster reader than I am, so I am hopelessly behind. However, I did finally read this classic and it is just that: classic.
I really enjoyed the plot, characters, setting, and humor of this book. Set in medieval England, it goes into a bit of the history between the Normans and Saxons and the very delicate balance of power during that period. There are knights, villains, beautiful maidens, a jester, jousting, and battles, as well as a few well-known names, such as Prince John (no matter how hard I tried, I could NOT help from comparing his character to the one Disney produced!), Robin Hood, King Richard, etc.
Just a caution, though. This book is not for the light reader. It is extremely wordy and some passages I was barely able to wade through, especially during the dialogue of the characters. The humor is very subtle, but sprinkled liberally throughout.
It is definitely a book worth adding to your shelf, but you need to be in it for the long haul when you open it up.