A Knight's Vow
From the blurb on the back, A Knight’s Vow sounds like about 50% of all Medieval Romances:
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Actually, A Knight’s Vow is a mite different from similar medievals I have read, and had loads of potential. With a heroine who knows her way around the lists (not a brand new idea, but still interesting), and a hero who is sympathetic and noble (not new either, but a plus, in my mind), it could have been a grand read. Unfortunately A Knight’s Vow is based on a shaky premise, and while the heroine may be fierce and the hero noble, they still manage to remain unlikable for the first two thirds of the book.
James Markham, the Earl of Bolton, has finally had enough of debauchery at Court and is headed home with the dowry of the woman who abandoned him to marry his brother. While on his way, he is robbed by The Black Angel, a woman who has made it her goal to see the Earl of Bolton and his family suffer. She want to see him humiliated, then die by her hand. Her plans for his eventual death are shattered, though, when she is captured and given to James in marriage, for The Black Angel is none other than Lady Isabel Atherstone, the last remaining member of the family that has been feuding with the Boltons for generations. With the option to kill James lost, Isabel decides that she will make it her life’s goal to humiliate him in front of anyone and everyone. It is a task made easier as she has no training in the womanly arts, no table manners, and insists on wearing James’ clothes instead of the dresses he provides for her.
There are certain things I expect from a hero in a medieval romance. I expect him to know how to use a sword, and I expect him as well to be almost overly confident in himself (a trait important for survival in a position of power during such a violent time). James is, of course, a master of the sword. He also, unfortunately, comes off as weak at times, even with the example of his people being well taken care of and loyal. A supposedly arrogant, overly confident lord would never allow his wife to get away with the stunts that Isabel pulled, and yet James not only did so, but allowed himself, in fact, to be humiliated.
Isabel’s behavior was totally illogical after the marriage. Her husband:
- Didn’t force her to have sex with him – ever;
- Was thoughtful of her needs, even though it was begrudging at times; and
- Showed himself to be just and kind when dealing with his people and the boy who was captured with her;