Harlequin Historical, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-29818-1
Historical Romance, 2015
Bride for a Knight takes place shortly after Castle of the Wolf. I’m sure it can stand alone, but it may be better to read the previous book first to get a clearer idea of how our heroine here, Mavis of DeLac, ends up getting married to Sir Roland of Dunborough.
This is a classic tale of a marriage that starts off on shaky ground. Roland is browbeaten constantly by his twin brother and his other family members, until he’s now full of doubts. He can’t believe that Mavis would want to marry him, but when he sees her crying after their wedding night, he assumes that she hates being married to him and slinks off to mope. Mavis is actually crying because she’s leaving her dear cousin and everyone else she knows back in her old home, but no matter. Like every other romance heroine, she is full of innate awesome, helping the staff to clean and cook and even introducing yummy recipes to the cook because Mavis is all about the democracy. The only thing she seems unable to do is to get close to her husband’s heart. Meanwhile, his family causes problems, so does hers, so this is not going to be a smooth ride to the happily ever after.
In many ways, Bride for a Knight is a typical “medieval romance, set in a castle” story. There are the supportive staff, that backstabbing servant girl, the heroine turning out to be a natural PhD holder in home management – you know, the usual. But Mavis is capable, not denying that, and I like how she doesn’t let people walk all over her. She may be nice to the staff, but she doesn’t mind sacking those she believes are toxic to the happy family vibe she’s trying to create, for example.
The problem in this story is Roland. He’s very weak and passive to the point that he may as well be a decorative bobblehead doll. Whenever he realizes that he must tell Mavis something, he plans to do so… later. Every time he has doubts about her, he can’t ask her, naturally. Instead, he’d just stand there, glowering and probably wondering why she can’t read his mind and do the necessary to make him happy. Worse, he often doesn’t show that he supports Mavis, so Mavis, alone in a castle full of nasty in-laws, has to deal with all the mess on her own. I find it telling that, in one scene, he lets Mavis be berated and snarled at, putting a stop to the whole mess only when Mavis is about to be beaten. He’s weak and annoying, especially as his prolonged self pity results in most of the problems in this story,
Bride for a Knight is a decent read from a technical standpoint. The pacing is fine and the narrative is easy to read. The hero’s passive self-pitying nature gets on my nerves quickly, however, and the rest of the story is the same old stuff that is present in countless other medieval romances set in a castle. There’s nothing here to get excited over.
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