starlady: Galadriel in Caras Galadhon, with an ornate letter "G" (galadriel is a G)
Pope, Elizabeth Marie. The Perilous Gard. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

I borrowed this from [personal profile] oyceter and I'm really glad I did, because it is being excellent.

The Perilous Gard follows young Katherine Sutton, a lady-in-waiting to Lady Elizabeth Tudor who is, due to her sister's thoughtless transgression, banished from court to the eponymous castle of the title. Its master departs posthaste, leaving Kate alone with the castle folk, who won't tell her anything, the villagers, who avoid her like the plague, and the lord's younger brother, who lives in a run-down leper's hut on the grounds as self-imposed penance for, he thinks, being responsible for the death of his brother's young daughter. It turns out otherwise, for this is both a very literal fairy tale and a clever play on Tam Lin. But, as we all know by now, I don't really care about fairy tales, and what makes this book so excellent are two separate things. The first of these is Pope's interesting, revisionist take on the Fair Folk, who they are and how they operate--there are still some parts of their story that are mysterious to me, even after reading the book, and that's just how it should be. The second of these is Kate herself.

OMG KATE I LOVE YOU. Kate is plain and pragmatic and logical and awesome, and she has not only the wit but the will to see the world with eyes unclouded, and the entire story comes down, in the end, to her strength to do just that, and at the end my heart nearly broke with her. Recommended if you like Elizabethan tales, fairy tales, or awesome female protagonists.