“The Knight of the Short Nose” is a rousing comic novella by Wooster medievalist C. Dale Brittain.
William of Gellone, also known as Guillaume d’Orange, lived in the eighth century, but much of what is known about him comes from a 12th-century epic poem. He is tall and sturdy and described (by himself) as “the biggest, the boldest, the bravest man in all of southern France.” Others might describe him (behind his back) as a lunkheaded blowhard. His “short nose” epithet arises from an altercation when he was 12; his opponent lopped off a bit.
Brittain explains that “southern France was a patchwork of Christian and Muslim holdings;” they usually left each other alone, but once in a while somebody got bored and decided to attack, using the excuse of “the need to cleanse the region from the infidel.” One day a haggard man approaches the castle and tells Guillaume that he has been imprisoned for a year by Saracens — Muslims — in a castle three days’ march away and begs Guillaume to avenge him. A little flattery goes a long way, especially when the convict describes the lord’s gorgeous daughter.
Through a series of misadventures, Guillaume blunders his way into glory, earning the love of the clever maiden and the gratitude of the young king, but his lack of common sense puts him in the path of traitors and pirates. He’s fortunate to have his wife and mother to pick up after him.
Although Brittain acknowledges that the 12th-century poem played fast and loose with the facts, readers will learn about medieval France and have a few good laughs along the way.
“The Knight of the Short Nose” (190 pages, softcover) costs $9.95 from Daimbert Publishing Enterprises. C. Dale Brittain is a pseudonym; the author also wrote the Royal Wizard of Yurt teen fantasy series and the useful “Positively Medieval: Life and Society in the Middle Ages.”
A family feud was resolved in “The Sweetheart Deal,” first in Akron author Miranda Liasson’s Blossom Glen romance series set in small-town Indiana. In Book Two, “The Sweetheart Fix,” the feud is between two public servants — and it’s not very civil.
Juliet Montgomery, sister of the main character from “Deal,” has just started her new job at the local psychological services practice when she lets her past interfere with her work: A couple questions her qualifications, citing her three broken engagements (two and a half, she maintains) and she is temporarily benched from relationship counseling.
While waiting to pay a parking fine, Juliet drifts into the mayor’s office, where he’s holding his twice-weekly forum, essentially a gripe session for townspeople. The idea is that Mayor Jack will mediate, but this is a skill he does not possess. Juliet defuses the situation but there are more disputes he can’t handle, and he offers her the made-up-on-the-spot position of town counselor.
Jack, hunky but grouchy, has a covert motive for serving as mayor: His grandmother owns 200 acres of prime land that will be sold at auction, and he needs to find a way to keep a developer from buying it and turning it into shopping malls.
Juliet and Jack argue, get drenched several times, kiss a lot and argue some more. There’s a big confrontation that affirms the value of counseling, and the whole town benefits.
“The Sweetheart Fix” (352 pages, softcover) costs $8.99 from Entangled. Miranda Liasson is the author of several other series; “This Thing Called Love” from the Mirror Lake series won the Romance Writers of America’s 2013 Golden Heart Award, which recognizes writers of unpublished manuscripts.
Incapacitating panic attacks and an intense summer romance are the essential themes of “At Home with the Weeds: A Memoir” by Stow resident Baleigh Bognar.
Her story begins in the parking lot of a Wilmington hospital, where she has been pacing for three hours, needing help but not being able to afford another visit, her third in a week. This attack is so severe that she is admitted to the behavioral health ward, where she stays until her mother arrives from Ohio to take her home to Kent.
Bognar follows up with an earnest but ineffective counselor. With the encouragement of her best friend, she signs up on a dating app, meets a man she calls Tanner and agrees to meet him. She is instantly smitten.
In the coming months, Tanner proves to be an admirable boyfriend, helping Bognar with her panic disorder and spending hours with her as they talk and walk by the Cuyahoga River.
Many readers can identify with a romantic relationship that ended painfully; fewer are informed about the effects of panic attacks, and Bognar conveys them effectively and authentically.
“At Home with the Weeds” (259 pages, softcover) costs $14.99 from online retailers.
Fireside Book Shop (29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls): Rick Porrello (“To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia”) signs “There’s More Bodies Out There: The True Story of a Mafia Associate and a Cop Who Emerge as Suspected Serial Killers,” 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.): Retired English teacher Mike Gunther talks about “Views from the Hot Seat,” 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday. Register at doverlibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Independence branch, 6361 Selig Drive): Author and illustrator Betsy Snyder appears at story time with “Alphabedtime,” 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library: The Online Author Talk Series continues with New York University history professor Nicole Eustace, who will talk about “Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America” in a virtual event at noon Wednesday. Register at smfpl.org.
Lakewood Public Library (15425 Detroit Ave.): Dana Norris talks about “The Story Code: 10 Simple Rules to Shape and Tell a Brilliant Story,” 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Loganberry Books: Damon Young joins the virtual Peculiar Book Club, talking about “On Getting Off: Sex and Philosophy,” 7 p.m. Thursday. Register at loganberrybooks.com.
Mentor Public Library (8215 Mentor Ave.): Former TV news anchor Jack Marschall signs “From the Heart,” a collection of poems and stories, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Register at mentorpl.org.
Visible Voice Books (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): Vince Guerrieri signs “Weird Moments in Cleveland Sports: Bottlegate, Bedbugs, and Burying the Pennant and More!,” 7 p.m. Friday.
Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath): Vince Guerrieri signs “Weird Moments in Cleveland Sports,” 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Email information about books of local interest, and event notices at least two weeks in advance to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbara McIntyre tweets at @BarbaraMcI.
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