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I used to read medieval romances all the time. In fact I was hooked on them after reading my first Julie Garwood historical. To this day some of her medieval romances remain my all time favorites. But after a while it did not seem that there was anything new worth reading so I moved on to Regency and Contemporary romances. That changed for me after reading Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory.
Knight of Desire has all of the elements that I love about this sub-genre of historical romance. It has truly vile villains, emotionally wounded, yet strong a hero and heroine, and it immerses you with a vivid sense of time and place that is fraught with political unrest, peril, treachery, betrayal, and jealousy.
Catherine and William's love story is about learning to trust each other and their instincts despite doubts, insecurities and seeming betrayals, and at times left me heart sore for each one at different times. Knight of Desire renewed my love of reading Medieval romances for these very reasons. If you like Julie Garwood (Saving Grace, The Wedding, or Ransom) or Kat Martin's Bold Angel, then I think you will really enjoy Knight of Desire!
p.s.: To my great delight Margaret Mallory is already hard at work creating two more novels in the All the King's Men series. Look for Knight of Pleasure in late 2009 and Knight of Passion in 2010.
This book was reviewed for Seductive Musings blog. Want a chance to win one of five copies? Stop by the blog and enter by July 18 2009.
In Knight of Desire, Lady Catherine Rayburn is locked in an abusive marriagve, her only solace the memory of the one innocent night she spend with a kind man as a girl and her son. When her husband becomes a traitor to the English crown for his own benefit, she spies on him and sells him out to the English. When they put him to death, Catherine considers herself delivered and free. All she wants is a quite life in her castle with her child. Unfortunately, the King of England has other plans for her- it is either to the Tower for being the wife of a traitor or marry another man and let him resume control of her castle.
Emotionally and mentally wounded from her former husband, Catherine does not trust or submit easily to her new husband William FitzAlan, who she does not recognize as the man she spent her one good evening with before marriage. William, a soldier, has a hard time understanding women or trusting her because his own mother quite manipulative. It takes the two of them a while, but they soon enough fall into passionate love with a few tiffs in between since William is the jealous and quick to assume type. At the same time, conspiring against them is William's friend Edmund, who pretends to be a loyal protector in order to give Catherine over to the enemy. Held hostage by the Prince of Wales and the Tudor family, the now pregnant Catherine can only accept her fate or hope that her husband comes to rescue her.
Knight of Desire is a historical romance, its context Medieval England and the Welsh rebellion of the 15th century. I have to admit, my knowledge of Medieval England is a bit lacking, but I do know a considerable bit about Medieval society and expectations in general. Aside from a few things that I couldn't imagine a woman of the time doing (not saying some women didn't and couldn't defy expectations, of course), I was pretty much pleased with the historical accuracy of Knight of Desire- and trust me, I was looking at the small things such as what they used for dinner and how they ate. If a fork showed up, I would have promptly closed the book and refused to reopen it!
The book is very well written, as well, so it flows along from page one to the end without those little bumps along the way that come with reading a book that is a bit difficult or awkwardly written at times. All of the action and the descriptions work well on text. As it seems, this is Mallory's first novel and shows just what a adept writer she is and how much she deserves to be published. Her talent with words give credibility to the entire novel in general. Mallory's English countryside is breathtaking, the wilderness wild, the fights rough and bloody, and the passion hot. I certainly never got bored with reading this novel and had it in bed with me late into the night and early morning.
Most of the second half of the drama was fueled by Catherine supposedly being so beautiful that a man wanted her enough to hate her. Typical romance stuff there, which I have difficulty enjoying. I prefer my romance to defy convention in certain ways and to catch me by surprise. I was a bit bothered by the rampant use of the phrase "in sooth" because I don't believe in dotting modern language novels with archaic terms unless the words used are nouns. That is just a personal pet peeve of mine, and my personal feeling on the matter doesn't diminish the simple fact that Mallory wrote a very good historical romance novel, which paints a satisfactory picture of Medieval life in England. All in all, Knight of Romance is a good book and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the romance genre.
The first book in new author Margaret Mallorys All the Kings Men trilogy introduces us to William FitzAlan and Lady Catherine Rayburn. This is a series Im reading because my book club is reading the third book for our June meeting, and I believe book series should be read in the proper order.
Lady Catherine has just betrayed her husband by reporting his traitorous efforts against the king and as a reward for stopping Lord Rayburns attempt to overthrow the King of England, William FitzAlan has been given Lord Rayburns land and Ross Castle. Plus he gets to decide the fate of Lady Catherine he can marry her that day or send her to the Tower in London, where she will most certainly be killed.
FitzAlan has been given this choice because the Lady is a childhood friend of the kings son and the Prince Henry has convinced his father that Lady Catherine is loyal to the crown and not involved in the Welsh rebellion.
Lord Rayburn was abusive and its has had a terrible effect on Lady Catherines ability to fully accept her new husband. FitzAlan will not force himself upon his new wife and has fallen for her young son, Jamie. He looks forward to creating a family with Lady Catherine if only he can get her to accept him I her bed.
And, while FitzAlan has to fight the enemies outside the castle, he also has an enemy within the castle and its someone who he has brought with him to the castle. Plus, he questions his wifes relationship with Prince Harry, her childhood friend.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The details about what was expected of a wife in early 15th Century England such as married women should never let their hair be seen. Im looking forward to reading the next two books.
I don't know why I waste my time with these books sometimes. The writing is not good, I do not care about the characters, and the sexiness is not enough to keep me going.