One Gentle Knight
I’m always delighted to find romance written by men, as I feel that there is a slightly different perception of how the relationship develops, or at least I like to read them to see if I can detect a difference. One such romance is Wayne Jordan’s One Gentle Knight, the first installment of the Knight Family trilogy.
Shayne Knight, the owner of a prosperous sugar plantation on the island of Barbados, has reared his younger twin siblings for the last ten years. The two have now left for college and he is restless and lonely. Because of this, he decides to get away and have some R&R before going to England for an extended business meeting.
Carla Nevins, the successful owner of three travel agencies in Virginia, needs to escape the nightmare of her recent past. Two years earlier she and her husband were involved in a traffic accident that cost his life and the life of their unborn child. She sees a trip to Barbados as the catalyst to get her involved in life again.
Shayne and Carla spot each other from across a bar at their hotel, but neither approaches the other. The next day, however, they see each other and instantly rush off to Shayne’s room (without even first discovering each other’s names) where they spend the next two days. Eventually, Shayne leaves to take care of an emergency at his plantation and, when Carla awakens, she believes he has left for good. She decides it’s time to face reality and return home, where she discovers three months later that she is pregnant with Shayne’s baby. Carla travels back to Barbados to give him the opportunity to be a part of their child’s life. Shayne is now faced with the unexpected news and must decide what he really wants out of life.
Shayne’s character is well developed. He is a successful businessman and an exceptional brother/father to his younger siblings, while also being a pillar of the community. As he and Carla try to decide what to do about their relationship and how to raise the baby, the emotional struggle that he goes through is well detailed. On the other hand, I wanted more from Carla’s character, to see her grow and become stronger. She endures more heartache and faces far more difficulties, but she seems to sit back and wait to see what Shayne decides. Yet, I understood both of their points of view – he just finished raising two young adults and wants independence, and she lost her family and is given the chance for another. As the relationship develops, Shayne truly plays the role of the “knight” protector and Carla is the protected.
While the story was touching, there were some issues that I couldn’t get past. There were several instances when it seemed as if explanations or details were missing or maybe cut from the story. For example, Carla briefly mentions – so briefly, in fact, that I’m not sure why it was included at all – growing up in foster care at two different points. Additionally, Carla does not share her loss with Shayne until late in the story, and even then it is brushed over quickly. Timeline issues and sequencing within scenes also bothered me on more than one occasion. Also troubling was some stilted dialogue and the author’s habit of telling rather than showing. Shayne, for instance, referred several times to Carla’s strength, and though I desperately wanted to see it, Jordan never really provided evidence of it. Perhaps most aggravating, though, was Shayne’s flip-flopping between being ready for a family and just wanting to see his offspring for a couple of weeks during the summer.
What I appreciated about the story was that both Carla and Shayne admitted that their relationship did not begin on solid foundations. When Carla requests that they actually spend time getting to know one another instead of having fabulous sex, Shayne understands and agrees with her. Also, I got teary-eyed a time or two during the course of the book, so it was (for me, anyway) emotionally moving at times. I liked the unusual setting of Barbados for the story. The author’s love for the island (he lives there), really shows.
While I had some issues with One Gentle Knight, it’s not a bad read. I certainly plan on giving Mr. Jordan another try.