Depending on your tastes Ivanhoe could either be considered a favorite or despised. Make no mistake - for today's average reader "Ivanhoe" is an extremely difficult read. The language was considerd archaic 200 years ago. Also, the reader must have a fair amount of knowledge about the Middle Ages - if you have never heard of the battle of Hasting or why it is significant... this is defintely not the book for you!
Personally, I found "Ivanhoe" to be both enjoyable and enlightening. While I do realize that Sir Walter Scott did make some historical errors - I found his despriction of "the Lists" to be informative.
The quality of the plot for "Ivanhoe" can not be questioned. It has all of the elements for a great read... deceipt, honour, a love triangle, prejuidices, castle sieges and battles to death! Scott's mastery of detail (sometimes a little TOO mastered) engulfs you into the world of the 12th century.
I especially enjoyed the involvement of Robin Hood, Richard The Lionheart and Prince John as main characters. Their historical involvement really helped to hold my interest.
The treatment of Jews is an interesting development throughout "Ivanhoe". Despite all the characters treating people of the jewish faith as sub-human "Ivanhoes" the last three pages show the prejuidices can be overcome and people of different faiths should learn tolerance. This is suprising stuff for the perion in which Sir Walter Scott penned it!
I found "Ivanhoe" to be very enjoyable - and at times a page-turner. The difficulty of the language was a challenge at times (and I am sure their are few plot points that I did miss), but as a whole I would suggest it to all readers who enjoy a bit of a challenge.