Her Dark Knight’s Redemption
“This man was shadow and night. He was Darkness.”
Homeless Aliette is saved from punishment for stealing by a mysterious knight. To stay alive, she’s informed by this stranger that she must claim his child as her own. She should fear the dark knight’s power, yet it’s clear there’s more good to this man than he’s prepared to show. Can she break down the barriers of the tortured knight she calls Darkness?
It’s a tricky proposition to write a redemption arc, and made even trickier in this book when the story literally opens with Reynold, the hero, killing a servant woman in the first chapter. I actually thought for at least the first 50 pages that there was no way he could be the hero; that Aliette, the heroine, was going to rescue the child from him and make a run for it with the help of the REAL hero… who never arrived.
Reynold is the poster boy for torturous childhoods, but in every one of his interactions with Aliette I had a constant refrain of ‘cool motive… still murder’ running through my mind. I liked Aliette a lot; I especially liked that she was a low-born thief and absolutely no attempt was made to pretty that up, to improve her background to make her ‘suitable’ to marry someone as highborn as Reynold. Her found family and her determination to protect them was charming… and I wanted her to take them and baby Grace, take as much money as she could find, and get the hell away from Reynold.
I want to like this because the author obviously goes to a lot of effort when doing her historical research (which puts her way ahead of a lot of authors writing medieval romance). The problem is that the characters she’s writing about are basically living miserable, hardscrabble lives with no relief in sight. Now, the fact is that was reality for most people who weren’t extremely rich at the time. And those who were rich had more comfortable lives largely enabled by exploiting the poor, so it’s very hard to root for them unless you gloss over all that suffering. The fact that the author hasn’t glossed over the struggle means it’s just about impossible to like Reynold. Even though one of his employees claims Reynold is good to his people and gives to the poor, almost all his actions with Aliette (until he falls for her) are transactional, so we don’t get to see any actual evidence that he’s One of the Good Rich People.
This is beautifully well-written, historically accurate and has a wonderful heroine. The romance between the hero and heroine is believable and something of a Cinderella story… but my inability to like the hero means I cannot give it more than four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.
Author Bio – Nicole is the author of Harlequin's Lovers and Legends and The Lochmore Legacy series. If she isn't working on the next book, she can be reached at NicoleLocke.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
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