Review of THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Jackie Ivie (see her website)
Zebra Books, October 2006
Myles, the Donal heir, fought his entire clan to a standstill but finally, betrayed by his own honor guard, he was beaten. Now he must marry the famously ugly, famously shrill daughter of the Laird of Eschocan--marry her and receive her dowry of precious land. Or rather, he would if he survived the Scottish blizzard, but that seems increasingly unlikely as he makes his way across the deserted and ice-covered countryside.
At the last possible moment, he spots what he'd imagined impossible--an inhabited croft. Inhabited, however, not by a poor peasant, but by a beautiful woman. A woman who, by her attire and bearing, can only be noble. And the only nobles within travel are the Eschocan. Could he have fought his entire clan, been beaten within an inch of his life, to avoid a woman who sets his blood on fire?
Kendran knows all she needs to about men. They are violent, cruel to women, and immune to logic. Still, Myles seems different. Oh, not about the lack of logic, but about everything else. Locked together in a small croft, with nothing to do to pass the time but get to know one another, play games, and gradually fall in love, Kendran learns that there is more to men than she'd dreamed possible.
Unfortunately for both of them, an unpleasant surprise awaits Myles at the Eschocan castle when he goes to press his marriage plans. And it isn't just that the castle itself, a part of his betrothed's dowry, is falling down on itself. Could it really be that love is not enough? That duty, honor, and male pride can stand in the way of what both Myles and Kendran need? Fortunately for both of them, Kendran's half-sister, the mystical Lady Sybil, has her own plans--plans that don't make much sense to either Kendran or Myles but that just might lead to their happiness. Of course, following someone else's plan is not easy for either a man or a woman.
Author Jackie Ivie (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Ivie) delivers a rolicking adventure of a story. Myles and Kendran are teriffic characters, suitable for one another because of their flaws as well as their virtues. Ivie combines humor with great characters, fine writing, and a complex situation that really does seem doomed to keep the lovers from achieving their goal of marriage (to each other). I am very happy to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fun historical romance.
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