Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 TBR Challenge - Heart of a Knight

The June theme for the 2013 Romance TBR Challenge is "Lovely Rita"--books that have won or finaled in RWA's Rita awards. I chose Heart of a Knight, which won in 1998 for Best Short Historical. For what it's worth, it's not a particularly short book. I'd say it's at least as long as an average single title historical romance being published today, but it's well-known that publishers' preferred word counts have shrunk, so that's hardly surprising.

I rarely read medieval romances. Knights just don't innately appeal to me for some reason, though I'm reasonably interested in medieval history. I did enjoy this poignant love story, though--it's a forbidden cross-class romance where the heroine outranks the painfully honorable hero, which happens to be one of my favorite tropes EVER, and one that's all too hard to find in historical romance. Heroines marry up all the time, but that's not half so swoon-inducing for me as a reader.

In 1351, Lady Elizabeth D'Auvers, a young widow who's kinswoman to the king, returns to her lands after a lengthy absence to discover that the guards she left behind abandoned the castle and village, but that her people and property have found a protector in a knight, Thomas of Roxburgh, who left his home far to the north after everyone on his own lands but himself and a middle-aged widow fell victim to the plague. Though she suspects something isn't quite right about his story, he really has taken good care of her estate, and she's in need of a protector herself...

I have no idea how historically accurate the book is, since I just don't know the 14th century the way I do the 18th and the 19th, but the setting and characters felt three-dimensional and vivid.

A small caveat: the copyediting, at least in the Kindle edition I read, isn't perfect. E.g. on two occasions "reign" was used where "rein" would've been the correct choice, which along with "tow the line" instead of "toe the line" is a huge usage peeve of mine.


  1. Oh, this sounds good! I love those cross-class, heroine outranks hero romances too.

  2. So much built-in angst! I feel like it takes more courage for a heroine to marry down. I mean, a duke is still a duke, even if he marries a governess. (In the interest of full disclosure, my debut book, The Sergeant's Lady, is a cross-class romance with an aristocratic heroine and common hero--which I wrote because I wanted to read it!)