Captured By Her Enemy Knight by Nicole Locke
I have to confess, I didn’t like the last book I read by this author because I really didn’t take to the hero. I did, however, enjoy the writing style and the obvious depth of knowledge and passion the author brings to writing medieval romance, so I decided to give her another go and I’m pleased I did, because Captured By Her Enemy Knight is a really great read. Nicole Locke doesn’t shy away from dark themes, however, and readers should therefore be aware that there are triggering descriptions of violent child abuse, kidnapping, brainwashing, gaslighting, torture and some gore included.
Cressida Howe is The Archer, an assassin, raised from childhood by her ruthless father to be a weapon without peer. Fascinated from her first sight of Eldric by the simple fact that he likes to whistle, thus generating the first music she has ever heard, she disobeys the command to kill him. Loyal servant of the king, Eldric is more than happy to be asked to hunt down The Archer, the assassin responsible for the deaths of several close friends, among countless others. He really doesn’t expect The Archer to turn out to be a woman, but the evidence is incontrovertible - he literally caught her red-handed, armed to the teeth. The question is, what does he do with her now?
One of the things I liked best here was how incredibly capable Cressida is shown to be. Despite being basically brainwashed by her father, she’s been out on her own enough, observing the world, to start thinking for herself, and to develop a sense of right and wrong. She makes some strange decisions, but then again, it’s obvious from the start that her thought processes are not ‘normal’ because of the way she’s been raised. And while Eldric doesn’t always understand her, he never makes the mistake of underestimating her or failing to respect her capabilities, something I really enjoyed as the relationship deepened between them.
The book does take place over a condensed timeframe of just a few days, something I’m not always keen on in romances when the couple aren’t prior acquaintances, but it does work very well in this instance because it’s effectively a medieval romantic suspense with some pretty high stakes. I’d have liked to see a bit more of the implementation of what Eldric proposed at the end when he basically recruited Cressida to the king’s service - a meeting between Cressida and King Edward would have been great - and Cressida never did follow through on a number of things she planned (like changing her name) or make a decision on whether she was going to continue being an assassin or not. It’s all left a bit too vague and open-ended, and for this reason, I’m giving this otherwise excellent read four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.