Amanda Quick’s hard-covered Medieval, Mystique, has been released in paperback form. Quick (a pen name for writer Jayne Ann Krentz) can always be counted on to write compelling, easy-to-read historicals, although her breezy, humorous style lends itself better to the Regency period than the Middle Ages.
Quick can always be counted on to write a humorous read, and this book does not disappoint. Many other trademarks of this author are here as well – the main source of conflict is outside the hero and heroine’s relationship, the hero and heroine forge a partnership to resolve a mystery or two, and, as usual, the hero and heroine are not cut of the same cloth most authors fashion in creating leading characters.
Sir Hugh the Relentless, is an immensely fearsome figure dressed top to bottom in black. He finds himself offering marriage to the feisty red- haired, gloriously green-eyed Lady Alice, who holds the secret to his missing family heirloom. Desperate to escape her rotten-to-the-core uncle who stole her younger brother’s inheritance, she agrees to form a business partnership with Hugh. Her goal is to obtain an education for her brother and a dowry to live out her life in a convent studying “natural philosophy.”
Lady Alice misunderstands their partnership – the relentless Hugh likes having Alice around because she is a fine chatelaine, intelligent, feisty, and did I mention passionate and incredibly responsive to his touch? He has stratagems for everything, including wooing, which sets the stage for a humorous, quick read. There is danger, of course, and a family feud which Alice decides must be settled. She is a relentless as her mate, which of course, lands her in trouble. Of course, it also resolves the feud and the mysteries as well, with a little help from Hugh.
Amanda Quick always uses her heroines to reform and cure her heroes, either by bringing warmth to a cold heart or by creating light in the darkness. In this story, Lady Alice calms the storms in her knightly Hugh. Her books are always enjoyable, light, and easy to read – but in this instance, perhaps too easy. While the darkness and barked orders are true to the time period, the intensity, foreboding, and gloominess that are part of a truly fine Medieval, are missing here.
For this reviewer, Amanda Quick’s love scenes either work well or do not work at all. Her books with more graphic intimacy work better than those with more allusion. When Sir Hugh finds “…the entrance to her secret citadel,” I certainly rolled my eyes to heaven. Finally, I was surprised that Hugh doesn’t gloat in some terribly amusing manner that his lusty Alice was truly not born for the convent.
I enjoy all of this author’s works under this pen name. In spite of their lightness and humor, her best work manages to also be poignant and moving. Her best books are among the best romances I’ve read. While this book is certainly a nice day’s entertainment, it is certainly not the best Amanda Quick has to offer. To the standards she’s set for herself, this book is merely average.