We just finished reading Ivanhoe. It is a book that I have always wanted to read but I was having a hard time finding the time to read it plus all the other books I wanted to read. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use it as our read aloud.
It's the hardest book I've read to the kids. I usually really try to pick books that are super fun and easy to follow along, so this was a bit of a challenge for a certain little boy to sit and listen to the story. Because of that I would only read very small sections of the book each day and my my son would do his best to sit there.
With all that being said I really enjoyed the book. My kids liked the story, but I had to often stop and summarize what was going on. The story is of Ivanhoe, one of King Richard's knights. He and his father have had a falling out because he is from Saxon decent and yet a follower of King Richard. There is a lot of contention throughout the book between the Saxons and the Normans and also the Christians and the Jews.
This is called a romance book because there are two incredibly beautiful maidens, Rowena and Rebecca. Rowena is Ivanhoe's childhood friend, and Rebecca is someone who helped him greatly but she is a Jewess and the Christians and Jews fought among each other. To be honest I was hoping it would have more romance in the story, but my little boys were probably grateful that it had more battles. I'm a sucker for a great love story.
Robin Hood also makes an appearance in the book which was super fun. Some of my kids have read Robin Hood before so they were excited when they knew more about the characters.
The book has some Latin and French throughout, and unsurprisingly I am not fluent in either language, so sometimes I would just skip over parts that were in another language. I'm sure I also mispronounced most of the French names, but luckily none of my children speak French.
All my kids liked the book except my seven year old boy, but he doesn't love when I read aloud unless there are pictures.
I would recommend the book for read aloud if your kids are 10+ and if they're mature readers they could read it on their own.