When I Fall In Love
To me there is wallpaper Medieval and Medieval-lite. Lynn Kurland is definitely in the lite category. Her Medieval and time travels may not show the daily grit of life in the past, but she manages to give us the flavor all wrapped up in a nice lighthearted bow. Her latest is not without its problems – a big one, actually – but as I sit here a few days after finishing, I realize how much I like the story. And that is what counts.
Jennifer McKinnon is a talented violinist on the verge of a brilliant musical career in New York City. After her apartment is broken into for a third time, she feels the need for a change and a chance to clear her head. An invitation from her sister in England is just what she needs, so off she goes to Artane Castle. Along the way she stumbles across a smaller, crumbling castle not far from Artane and experiences a sense of déjà vu. It’s on another visit to this land that she stumbles across a time gate that spirits her back to the 1200s and right into the bad guy’s hands.
Nicholas de Piaget is returning to his estate when he spots his family’s foe torturing a red haired woman. He quickly rushes in and saves the day like the gallant knight he is. Nicholas takes Jennifer back to his home while she tries to figure out how to get back to her family.
The thing about Jennifer and Nicholas (as well as the rest of his family) is they are not strangers to time traveling. Jennifer actually did a bit along with her sister and brother-in law in a previous novel. Nicholas might not have traveled, but his sister Amanda is now married to a man from the 21st century. Nicholas and his younger brothers know exactly what Jennifer is when they find her wearing strange fashions and talking strangely. But they keep that to themselves for the time being and let the farce of Jennifer claiming to be a Scot who is lost in England play out.
Nicholas is never sure what to do about Jennifer. At first he ignores her out of self-preservation. He knows anytime he spends with her will make him more attached to the red-haired beauty. Because of his growing feelings, he cannot bring himself to help her return to her time. When she is determined to be off, he refuses her escort. When she is nearly killed because of such action, Nicholas gives in and makes a deal with her: They will “court” for two weeks. In those two weeks there will be no heavy conversation, such as Nicholas knowing how she can return home or Jennifer revealing she is from the future. It is Nicholas’ goal to have her fall in love with him so she won’t want to return.
Everything Lynn Kurland writes is extremely romantic and borderline sugary-sweet. When I’m in the mood, this is a very good thing. She did a nice job of setting up both characters with enough to keep them firmly grounded in their respective time periods so the reader never knows exactly where the HEA is going to happen. Nicholas and Jennifer are both wonderfully drawn characters. I also enjoyed Nicholas’ three younger brothers who will no doubt find their own novels soon. It’s clear that Ms. Kurland is not done with the de Piagets yet.
What I did have a hard time with is the length. Lynn Kurland tends to put out a long book. The ones I’ve read so far have not lagged overmuch. In this case, there is a definite need for a diet. One hundred pages might do. There are passages, and indeed whole scenes, that do not need to be included. One instance that really got me was Nicholas recollecting Jennifer’s Medieval journey so far to his sister and brother-in-law. Since as a reader I just lived through it, I was ready for the usual “…and so he told them” and let’s move on. But, no, we painfully sit through the same tale once again with nothing new popping into the equation. I was tempted to skim, but thought I might miss something. I didn’t.
The author squeezes in almost every other character from the past installments in the series – or at least drop the name – but I wasn’t bothered. I think it could easily be read by those who’ve not followed the series, but I think only those who have read the author before will enjoy it as I did. As for those who haven’t yet read Lynn Kurland, I don’t know that I would recommend it. Instead I would probably point those readers to If I Had You as it’s more towards the beginning of the series and features some of the secondary characters in this new book.
Because of the issue of length versus a good, sweet romance between two wonderful characters, I had a difficult time deciding on whether to give the book a B- or a C+. In the end, I was happy I read When I Fall in Love, even if it took me a bit longer than I would have liked, and so it gets my very-much-qualified recommendation.