I just finished Elizabeth Chadwick's The Greatest Knight. It's a story about William Marshal, a relatively unknown knight who lived during the era of King Richard I.
It started out great. In fact, I could not get enough of it for the first 300 pages. After awhile, though, I got to the point where I could not stand how perfect William Marshal was. I think there are very few people in history who actually were this perfect. If Marshal really was this perfect, I'm certain we would all know his name better. That is really my only gripe about the book, except that it dragged on a little too long. By the time William met his wife, Isabelle, I was tired of the book. Granted, Chadwick had a lot of years to condense into a book, but there were scenes she could have done without. The whole thing with Clara seemed a little pointless to me (although it was entertaining). In the back of the book Chadwick explains that Clara represents all the women in Marshal's life because it is understood that he probably had mistresses and concubines but it is also true that Marshal respected women so she took the liberty of fictionalizing all of his women into one. Chadwick could have taken out the Clara thing and then focused more on things that were more exciting like the wars and the relationship he has with his older brother John. This relationship becomes important at the end of the book and John is one of the better characters in the book because he has flaws.
Prince John (yes, the same Prince John from the Robin Hood legend) is a little snake in the book. Chadwick characterized him well. For a moment there I thought she was trying to make it seem as though William Marshal was the real-life Robin Hood. I guess, in a sense, he was, but that is not the direction Chadwick went, thankfully.
With all that said, Chadwick's writing is magnificent. She has deft prose and an eye for detail. I could picture everything she wrote because she obviously has a keen perception and a great knowledge of the time period. All in all this is a great historical fiction despite my own misgivings.
This weekend was amazing! I got to go to St. George, Utah to see some really good friends of mine and meet my namesake. His name is Hadley Taylor Young. He's an awesome little baby. I am so used to my niece and nephews who are now getting so big that I was stunned at how tiny Hadley was. He's a beautiful baby with a great head of hair thanks to both his parents who both had full heads of hair when they were born as well.
I left for St. George on Friday, but I stayed in Sandy with my mom, sister, niece, and nephews that night. It was nice to split up the long trip into two days, but I totally could/should have just gone all the way on Friday. Oh well. Live and learn. Besides, I did have fun with my family that night. We just went out to lunch, shopped for a bit, then ordered pizza in at the hotel.
The next day I drove down to St. George where it was sunny and beautiful weather. I have completely fallen in love with this city. It's a great place to be.
Once I arrived, I called Jeremy (Hadley's father) and then we went to lunch at Arby's. At Arby's we met some interesting people including a pregnant girl who was not shy to tell Jeremy how great he smelled, a guy who told us the history of vampires, and an odd but friendly employee at the fast food joint. I began to question the sanity of St. George residents, but Jeremy assured me they're not all like that.
After lunch, we went to another lunch (not because we're pigs but because we weren't sure about the plans) at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This was my first time at the new chain. We do have one in Idaho Falls. I was not too impressed. They don't even have milkshakes. What kind of burger joint doesn't do milkshakes? And, while there, I randomly saw an old friend, Chelsea, who was working there. It's a small world.
Also, at Five Guys I met my namesake. Pictures don't do the little guy justice. He's awesome. Maybe I'm just biased.
The rest of that night we just hung out at Megan's parents' house (Megan is Hadley's mommy) with her parents, siblings, and nieces and nephew. Somewhere in there we watched the BYU game. By the end of the night I was so very tired.
On Sunday we had the baby blessing. It was a great experience and Jeremy did an excellent job as voice in the blessing. After that they had a great testimony meeting in which I got to hear both Jeremy and Megan's testimonies, both of which were very powerful and spiritual.
We had lunch at Megan's parents' house that afternoon. I got to meet Megan's grandparents and Jeremy's mission president.
That night I went to Matt and Meree Hadley's house for a great Italian dinner and then we just hung out. Matt's mom made some amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. My head was spinning during dinner because of all the different conversations going on. It reminded me of the dinner scene in While You Were Sleeping.
The next day we had lunch at Cafe Rio and then I hit the road with abandon. The miles were a blur to me, but I clocked them. It was 518.5 miles from St. George to Rigby, so I did 1027 miles (approximately) in one weekend. It was all worth it. What amazing friends I have in St. George! Jeremy, Megan, Matt, Meree, and crew I love you all. Thanks for everything!
(Note: Jeremy Young is an amazing guy. Matt and I taught and baptized him in Bradenton, Florida nearly 8 years ago. In those short years he has become a solid convert to the church, proclaimed the gospel in the Idaho Pocatello mission, married an awesome girl in the St. George temple, and bore a beautiful son whom he named after Matt and me. What a great honor to have a child named after me.)
Last week my house got hit with some sickness. My dad got it first and actually stayed home from work one day because of it. It was a cold/flu/nasty thing.
The next day my mom and I were hit. We both complained of feeling achy and tired. We took medicine and I had a couple of bad nights of feverish sleeping. I progressively got better and better, though, because I was determined not to let it get me down. That and I took lots of medicine to kick it.
My Dad is also nearly 100% better. And my Mom, on the other hand, has lost her voice because she strained it when she went to work on Monday. She's missed two days of work so far and probably won't be able to go back the rest of the week. We are hoping and praying that she will be better in time for the weekend because she and my sister were going to go to my cousin's baby shower in Utah. I hope they don't miss out on it because they were both looking forward to it and planning on going for a really long time.
I have been hoping to be 100% better (which it is looking likely that will happen) so that I can go to St. George this weekend for a baby blessing.
Jake Taylor graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He is the author of The Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl series. He is also an avid reader, traveler, movie-watcher, and music lover. He currently serves in the US Navy and is stationed in San Diego, CA.