Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux


Here it is! The best Jude Deveraux book I have read to date. It's actually a lot like that French comedy film, The Visitors, which came out in 1993, and this book came out in the late-1980s. The premise is really great. Dougless (terrible name, BTW) is an elementary school teacher who is related distantly to royalty but works a low-paying job because ~reasons~. She's dating a tight-fisted doctor who basically treats her like his slave, and despite the fact that he's wealthy, he either makes her go halvies or pay her own way on everything. Dougless has put up with it because she thinks a marriage proposal is forthcoming (#feminism) but then it turns out that the English vacation she thinks is his way of proposing (#photoop) is actually an excuse to bring along his estranged daughter who, by the way, he bought a $5000 bracelet for that Dougless thought was an engagement ring. What does she get? Nada. Zero. Zilch.

So while she's crying in a church with a monument to a deceased earl, nobody is more shocked than Dougless when a man in Elizabethan garb suddenly appears in front of her. He claims to be Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a notorious womanizer who was executed for treason by Elizabeth I on suspicion of allying himself with Mary, Queen of Scots. At first Dougless thinks it's all a big ruse or, more likely, that he's addled in the brain, but Nicholas knows things that nobody who wasn't Elizabethan would know, and it seems more and more likely that he really is who he says he is. Which begs the question: why is he here? and how can she stop his death in the past?

The story-telling in this was so good. I have it on good authority that Nicholas is a universally hot name and the Nicholas in here was no exception. He was exactly the way you'd expect a charming man of Elizabethan times to be, for better or for worse, and the humor of him trying to navigate his way through the 1980s was hilarious. I also liked the romance a lot, and the mystery of Nicholas's past and alleged treason. That was what kept me turning pages, heart in my throat. Really, the only thing I didn't like about this book was Dougless. She was a difficult heroine to like because she kept letting people take advantage of her and she was so spineless, but a big part of her character development was learning to stand up for herself and not let people walk all over her.

If you like time travel romances and strong heroes who aren't rapey, I think you'll really enjoy this book. There were so many twists and turns and the action was balanced well with the humor. I don't think this is quite a traditional HEA but the bittersweetness of it worked for me and I liked it, too.

4 out of 5 stars

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