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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


****½ A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. Time travel romance.






If I were the kind of person who could quit reading a book once I've started, I'd have thrown A Knight in Shining Armor against the wall somewhere during the first chapter. I loathed the heroine. I didn't just dislike her or think she was a wimp, and I certainly didn't feel sympathetic for her.

Dougless... and okay, let me get the name rant off my chest first. It's explained later on that she's named after a historical figure, and that fits with her father being a history scholar, but mostly it just seems like an excuse to indulge in the odd 1980s habit of giving romance heroines masculine names. And poorly spelled ones, at that--is she less of a Doug? lacking a Doug? Argh. I'm over it. I'll try again.

Dougless Montgomery is on vacation in England with her live-in boyfriend and his 13-year-old daughter. I'm not going to bother describing them because they're not even as complex as 2-dimensional caricatures of The Most Obnoxious Boyfriend Ever and The Most Bratty Girl Ever. She's taken advantage of horribly, but there's no point in being angry with cardboard cut-outs. Instead, I think she's a complete idiot. Their actions are so over-the-top that only a fool would have put up with a fraction of it. At the end of the book, there's a half-assed apology and explanation, but I ignored it--it made no sense anyway.

Once she's been abandoned at a church, things start to look up for the story. She's sobbing her heart out next to a knight's tomb, wishing for "a knight in shining armor," and poof! There's one standing next to her.

He's Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, and seconds earlier, he'd been in 1564, writing a letter to his mother while awaiting his execution.

It takes Dougless a long time to believe him, but she feels responsible for the apparently confused man, and she helps him out. Eventually they decide the purpose of the time travel is to clear his name and prevent his execution. And while they're working on that, they fall in love.

I'm not going to go into any further details, because the plot twists, and I don't want to spoil the surprises (surely, I can't be the only one who hasn't read this--though sometimes it's seemed like I was). Suffice it to say that the time travel aspect of this book is the most convincing I've read, and I've read quite a few time travel romances. Not the mechanics of how the time travel was accomplished, but the reactions of the characters.

Dougless's inability to believe, and the things that surprised Nicholas, were absolutely real, as were their outlooks on life and love. I've read so many historical romance characters who are very untrue to their times--nearly all of them are against slavery, strangely addicted to bathing, and would never consider marrying for other than true love. Nicholas is not like that. He's a man of the 16th century, and he acts and thinks like it.

Then add to that the emotional punch of the star-crossed lovers, and I was hooked. There are no easy answers for these two, and they know it.

There are also some very funny moments that stick in my head--Dougless showing Nicholas modern conveniences--a calculator, the TV--to distract him, and Nicholas's reaction on reading Romeo and Juliet (they were disobedient children).

The ending is very typical for time travel romances, but it's satisfying, and somehow more true to the spirit of the story than alternatives might have been. It's a hopeful, rather than a happy ending.

A Knight in Shining Armor would have fit well with last month's TBR challenge--so many, many people have cited it as their favorite romance novel ever. I can't say I agree, but I'd put it up there among my favorite time travel romances.

...more


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Comments:
Hmm for some reason, I posted a comment earlier but it didn't show up. So I'm gonna re-post it. If it should show up, then just delete the second one

*raise hand*
I'm one of the people who said Knight in Shining Armor is one of my favorite. And still is :)

I was young when I read this book, so it might have got effect on me back then. I like the thought of a handsome knight coming to rescue me *grin*.

I don't remember my reaction toward the two main characters now, but I do remember thinking how sad it as at the end but it was good feeling HEA ending :)
 
I can't really recall the details, but I do remember I enjoyed this book very much when I picked this up some years back. It's one of my favourites' time travel romance!
 
It was Laurie that mentioned years ago that this was her favorite book. I bought and read it because of she. I loved it. I do remember thinking the choice of heroines name at the time was dumb but I don't think I put as much thought into it as you. hehehe The dumb boy friend and daughter were annoying to say the least but you are right, from the moment the actual TT began the story was riveting and wonderful. I normally do not like un-hea's but this one regardless of the H/Hs HEA was still satisfying. Yes, the author did keep the characters true to their times and it is a merit to Jude and what kinda name is Jude anyway? Goes with Dougless LOL I basically agreed with your review. Good analysis.
Annie
 
LOL! Yeah, I think I've read a few TTs with similar endings. For a while, I read a lot of time-travel romances.
 
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