Exiled Knight William Geraint answers only to himself. Yet, a mission to reunite lost heiress Lady Isabel de Clancey with her family is Will’s chance to finally atone for the torment of his past. With every rushed mile, their intense attraction becomes dangerously thrilling. He swore to protect Isabel not seduce her, but their desire for each other could threaten the redemption he’s worked so hard to achieve… (x)
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a road trip romance! I actually didn’t know that going into the book. I read Oliver’s debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, a couple of weeks ago in preparation for reading this ARC, and I’m happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this as much as the first one!
This book actually has a line that should go down in the Annals of Historical Romance: “How dare he believe he was not good enough for her, as though he was beneath her” (264). How many times do we see this scenario? Many times past and many times future. Does it ever get old? Sometimes, but not really. In this case, Will believes he’s not good enough for Isabel, even though he proves himself time and again. Not only that, but Isabel explicitly tells him that they are both good enough for each other. Eventually, his friend Hugh helps him out, and it all clicks—naturally.
Our heroine, Isabel de Clancey, feels lost, as if she doesn’t belong anywhere. That’s part of what makes her relationship with Will feel so special. They become each other’s person, a home for one another. Will is on a self-imposed exile for what he perceives is his fault and his greatest shame, while Isabel feels disregarded and unwanted. Together, they build each other up without really trying, and they grow to love each other deeply and believably.
The adventure in this book tops that of the previous one, and that’s saying something. In the first book, we have a Robin Hood-esque heroine with a knightly hero, and in this one, we have a noble lady disguised as a peasant with another knightly hero. You’d think the first would have more action, but in truth, this book has several assassination/kidnapping attempts, actual Knights Templar (even though my feelings for them are less than stellar), defense lessons like those in the first (but more pertinent because Isabel has to repeatedly use them, saving both herself and Will), a voyage across land and sea, and a plot to steal a very important spoilery item—which I never guessed until it was revealed! Kind of ashamed of myself for that, really, after reading Dan Jones’s The Templars fairly recently.
One thing I really like about Melissa Oliver’s writing is that she keeps the action and the plot moving, spending only the amount of time necessary on each scene. She has yet to fail to make me feel for her characters, and I look forward to reading more from her. She’s definitely an author to put on your radar.