Her Banished Knight's Redemption by Melissa Oliver
When I read The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, the first book in this series, I enjoyed it but thought the conflict between the characters was sustained too long, when there could have been plenty of external conflict for them to face together. I’m happy to say that in this second in the series, the author has chosen to take my advice (lol not really, I’m not that vain… this book was probably written long before I read that one) and given the characters an external enemy they must face down from the start, along with an intriguing mystery to solve.
Melissa Oliver knows her time period well; I definitely bought into this being set in the turbulent years following King John’s death, when William Marshal held England together in the name of the boy king and the Knights Templar were one of the most feared fighting forces in the world. Sent to return lost heiress Isabel de Clancy to her rightful place, William Geraint is capable and tough - but doesn’t expect to catch Feelings for his charge. Forced to repeatedly flee danger with Isabel and her dog Perdu, Will has to draw on every bit of skill he possesses just to keep them both alive.
I liked Will, but I’m not sure I wholly bought into Isabel’s character. She was entirely too confident and sure of herself for someone who had effectively been raised as a farmer’s daughter, and I’m also not at all sure what was going on with her foster sister Heloise, who got such a buildup I was sure she was going to be a major character in the story - if not a secondary antagonist - but was never mentioned again once Will and Isabel started on their journey. I was bothered too by some anachronistic language - Isabel repeatedly thinking ‘Good grief’ started to get on my nerves pretty quickly. Her skills as a trainee herbwoman were made much of too, but she never really got to use them, which made it something of a Chekov’s gun which didn’t go off.
I love the time period and the author’s knowledge of it, and the plot definitely worked, but I’m just not quite sold on all of her characters and there are some small details which niggle at me. I’ll give it four stars, but I definitely think this is an author whose craft is improving as she writes and I’ll be looking for her next book eagerly.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.