In Jaclyn Reding’s White Knight, Grace Ledys and Christian Wycliffe, Marquess Knighton, are thrown together in marriage by her uncle and his grandfather. Grace is sure it will be a marriage full of love and happiness, so she throws herself wholeheartedly into her marriage, doing everything she can to be the wife she feels Christian wants. For his part, Christian treats her coldly, almost cruelly. But why is he like this to her? Of course, there is a secret in Christian’s past that doesn’t allow him to open his heart to anyone – least of all his new wife.
Grace believes in the idea of a white knight. Her grandmother told her that one day she would find her own knight and fall in love. From the moment Grace drops in on Christian (literally, I might add), she knows he is the one for her. Convincing him is not easy and she becomes disheartened. Upon finding out that she has inherited a castle in Scotland entailed to her by her grandmother, Grace decides it would be best if she left for good – and she does, without telling a soul. Good for her, I thought.
It takes a while for Christian to track Grace down, but when he does, he realizes that she is different – she has matured into a capable and formidable person. Or perhaps she was always so but Christian was just too bitter to notice it? He decides he does not want to lose her and makes a decision to woo his wife. Can they overcome his secrets and build a life for themselves?
I have to admit to being a bit tired of heroes who treat their wives badly because something bad happened in their past. It’s never nice to take out your grievances on an innocent party, and Christian’s behavior to Grace is deplorable. He makes love with her but rebuffs her afterward, leaving her to think she has done something wrong. What is it in Christian’s past that causes him to behave so badly? Without giving too much away, I can say there is more to it than a single event, but that it involves his father, his sister, and his grandfather. To say that Christian resents his grandfather is putting it mildly. His grandfather is a thoroughly unlikable character whose treatment of Christian is unforgivable. While Christian’s initial treatment of Grace leaves much to be desired, it’s hard to dislike him completely when you find out the reasons for his actions.
Grace is a heroine with spunk, but in a good way. She is an optimist and won’t settle for anything less than her “white knight.” Frankly, through most of the book, Christian is undeserving of her and a part of the reader will just want to shake her and point that out. It seems to that all she really wants is a home of her own and someplace she belongs.
The story has some loose ends that should have been tied together more neatly. There is a connection between Christian’s grandfather and Grace’s grandmother which should have been explored more fully than it was. The reader is also left hanging a bit concerning Christian’s sister Eleanor. The circumstances of her birth are integral to the story, but the reader doesn’t get any first-hand information about Eleanor’s feelings about it. It would have been nice to have a lot more information about it – perhaps Reding will write Eleanor’s own story. I enjoyed many of the secondary characters, mostly those after Grace arrives in Scotland. Reding uses them to give us a good perspective on the people and the troubles of the time, and it would be nice to see them again in another book.
All in all, White Knight was an imperfect read, but a fairly pleasant one. You could do better than reading this one, but you could also do a whole lot worse.