The Days of Bruce : a story from Scottish history

The Days of Bruce : a story from Scottish history - Grace Aguilar [These notes were made in 1982. I read this title in a 1905 edition, illustrated by H.M. Brock, from University of Calgary library:]. A very romantic look at a period of Scots history which never struck me as particularly romantic, albeit it's bang in the Middle Ages. This novel suffers from a "double hero" syndrome - the one we learn to identify with is summarily dispatched half way through, and an earlier candidate is brought back as a rather predictable knight in disguise. Necessarily, then, we also have two heroines, the earlier of whom, Agnes, is quite well-drawn, and the latter of whom, Isoline, gets very short shrift indeed until the last few chapters. The story is carefully not completely anti-English (what nationality is Aguilar, anyhow?): the Duke of Gloucester and his wife are particularly flatteringly portrayed. It makes a good romantic read; a good tale of "chivalry in the olden days", but somehow this version of the Robert the Bruce I learned about in school is too soft in the middle, too mannerly, too full of finer feelings. Hero, yes, but knight in shining armour? As for Nigel the hero of the first half (ostensibly R.B.'s brother), he has nothing to do with common mortals at all. But for all my negative comments, I enjoyed this book tremendously; it had some good, sentimental moments in it, was well-shaped within the limitations imposed by the 2-hero rift, and was altogether superior, I thought, to a great many of today's historical novels.