Saturday, 25 April 2015

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

A Knight in Shining Armor (1989, 2002) (Pocket Books)
Jude Deveraux
Grade: B+
Genre: time travel / contemporary romance / historical romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Montgomery: ... (16) A Knight in Shining Armor
Romance RBC 2015: An AAR Top 100 Romance 1998 

Dougless Montgomery is used to being the failure in her family, whether this is in relation to her job, her friends or her love life. When she is unceremoniously deserted in the middle of the English countryside by the man she thought she loved and his bratty daughter, Dougless is at her wit’s end. Her family are the last people she wants to turn to, but as she considers her (limited) options in an old church in a tiny village, she realises that she has no other choice … that is, until, a knight in shining armour literally appears out of nowhere …

One moment Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck was locked in a tower awaiting his execution, and the next he finds himself in a strange, fast-paced England where his title means nothing and he supposedly died over four hundred years earlier, leaving behind a damning reputation and legacy. At first, Dougless thinks Nick is simply a very authentic and dedicated role-player, but as he reveals more about his life, she is forced to re-evaluate. As the pair help each other navigate unfamiliar ground, they are launched into an adventure that will change their lives – and the course of history – forever …

A Knight in Shining Armor (sorry, having to follow the American spelling here) took the number one spot on AAR’s Top 100 Romance poll in 1998. In the five polls since, it has slipped ever-further down the rankings, with the exception of 2013 where it was boosted back into 37th place. The hype surrounding this title is the main reason why this book has been on my TBR list for years and at the time of writing this review, I discovered that this book also featured on Heroes and Heartbreaker’s 2014 list of their Top 10 romance novels of the 1980s. There’s multiple reasons why this is regarded as such a classic romance novel, and I was determined to find out why.

I had absolutely no idea what AKiSA was about, which was a great start – seriously. The only other Jude Deveraux book I’ve read is Lavender Morning in 2011 and to my surprise, I really disliked it; I wanted to like her because of her reputation, but I just didn’t understand what the fuss surrounding Jude Deveraux was about. Thus, with no preconceptions about the type of romance AKiSA was, this was as close to a fresh slate as I could get. The last thing I expected it to be about was time travel, but it was a pleasant surprise. I haven’t had a great deal of experience with time travel romances (Linda Howard’s Killing Time and Nora Roberts’ Time Was and Time Again come to mind) but I really enjoyed this, though it hasn’t tempted to me to actively seek out more.

I found this really funny, in an outrageous kind of way. Dougless finds it hard to believe that Nicholas is telling the truth, and Nicholas has an interesting time adjusting to the twentieth century. Some parts were over-the-top (Gloria, the bratty daughter, for example) and I did get really irate at Dougless for being so spineless in Robert’s (the boyfriend) treatment of her, but I suppose the point was to highlight how horrible they are. Even the simplest tasks like buying new clothes for Nicholas or checking into a hotel are hilarious because the concepts are so utterly alien to him. It’s a really entertaining read and I’m glad that even after sitting on my TBR list for years, it still lived up to its hype. I’m not sure whether I’ll be trying other Jude Deveraux books, given my less-than-positive first experience, but I’ll definitely be reading this one again and again.

Image courtesy of Waterstones.

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