Amanda de Piaget is a poor little medieval rich girl. Sick of being paraded around prospective husbands who are only interested in her dowry, she won’t settle for anything less than a man she can love and respect, even if it means running away from home … or becoming a nun.
Jake Kilchurn, successful gem designer, starts the day as a reluctant errand boy for his father, ends up in northern England in a castle filled with ghosts, experiencing the most disorienting cases of deja vu. Nothing he can’t cope with … until he crashes his 1967 Jag.
Jake wakes up to find himself in thirteenth century England, where Amanda–in the process of running away from home with moderate success–finds him, and he is taken to Artane under much suspicion. Brought together by extraordinary circumstances, can Jake and Amanda conquer medieval prejudices, self-doubt, jealous suitors, and time itself to be together?
And other stuff
Yummy sword-fighting brothers, pre-Vatican nuns, lots of insane bad people
Things that made me go, Mmm…
Amanda’s brothers are a hoot! I think I liked them better than I liked her. I’m not sure how authentically blokey their dialogue is, but their repartee is snarky and funny and had me grinning almost all the way through the book, particularly when they’re trying to rile Jake up.
I love Lynn Kurland’s voice in this novel. It’s slightly snarky and slightly tender with modern sensibilities. It’s a combination that I’d usually have a problem with, but in this case it works for me. Did I mention I was chuckling throughout the book?
“Help her!” he exclaimed, jabbing a finger Amanda’s way.
“Because she is a woman!” he exclaimed in his best schoolboy French.
Apparently that translated fairly well because the boys looked at him as if he had just voluntarily plunged his foot into the biggest pile of sexism ever deposited on English soil.
Jake is just so … decent! I know that’s not a terribly romantic word, but it’s really my best description of him. He has a quiet dignity and his courtship of Amanda is very old-fashioned. (Note: There’s no sex at all in the book. These kids waited ’til the wedding night.) I think I’d prefer that he was closer to her age (he’s in his early 30’s, she’s 21), but that’s glossed over and I didn’t even notice it until my second read.
He stopped and turned to look down at her. “I have to go. I have things to see to. And so do you. There is someone out there–damn him–who will come for you, propose marriage, and you’ll live happily ever after. Someone with a title and a few skills necessary to keep you safe.”
She bit her lip very hard. Damnation, where were all these bloody tears coming from?
She took all her pride in her hand, looked up at him, and did her damndest not to blubber like a mewling babe.
“Must you go?” she whispered.
For a moment, just the briefest of moments, she saw clearly in his face that he was no more unaffected than she.
The longing, unreasonable though it was, mirrored her own perfectly.
He reached out, tucked her hair behind her ear again, then briefly, very lightly touched her cheek. He dropped his hand to his side.
“How can I stay?” he asked quietly.
Things that made me go, Huh?
The language, while it doesn’t bother me too much, might be too modern for readers who prefer their historicals to sound historical. This was hit and miss for me, with some of the dialogue sounding medieval some of the time, and the narrative not really.
There’s a love triangle that’s kind of touched on but isn’t properly explored. It’s a little bit of a sticky situation, so I can understand why the author doesn’t dwell on it too much, but it becomes an important part of the plot later in the book, so I felt a bit jolted. There’s a bittersweetness to the other man that’s very beautifully done in places, but overall, I don’t think this aspect of the story is developed and resolved to my satisfaction. But maybe it’s because I feel sorry for the love rival. (Not to worry, he gets his own book. I read that one first, actually, but I didn’t like it all that much.)
Things that made me go, Argh!
Jake’s father’s character isn’t developed very well. At the start of the novel, he’s kind of overbearing, but there’s no foreshadowing at all of the way his character turns out at the end of the book.
I think that there’s too much interconnectedness between characters from different books. It made me feel weary of the series already, even though this is only the second book I’ve read. I kept flicking to the genealogy chart at the back of the book, and there seems to be so many intermarriages within 3 or 4 families that it’s a bit freaky.
For me, this novel reads as “medieval lite”. While most of it is set in the past, the story doesn’t really feel like a medieval, unlike, say, Laura Kinsale’s historicals or even Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove. It’s a bit of a shame because the story could have made for a very good historical if it had been written with more authentic language. At the same time, I think the author’s voice would be suited to a modern setting, so I’d be interested to read something from her which is set in the present day. Nevertheless, there are some very entertaining bits of interaction between Jake and Amanda’s brothers, and the romance is really quite charming. I wouldn’t consider this book the best in my keeper shelf, but I’ll probably hang on to it for a while to see if it stands the test of time.
This book is part of a series of connected books, but I can’t work out if there’s a strict order. The author has a suggested reading order here.
Note: This post was originally published on August 10, 2007.