Monday, January 17, 2011

Review of "A Knight of Silence", by Candace Bowen Early

This past week, I had the privilege of reading Candace Bowen Early's "Knight of Silence". Watch the trailer above, then read on.

 If you like historical romance, this one is just a treat. The author did her job in sweeping me off to a time when knights swore their allegiance to protect their ladies, their lieges, and their kings, when chivalry abounded, and courtly love flourished. The setting, language, and actions of the characters (as far as I know, not being a history buff) were right on cue, without being so over the top that I couldn't follow. Many hours of research went into this story, and it shows. I'll have to take lessons from Ms. Early.

What I like most about "A Knight of Silence", is the heroine herself. Reina, a nineteen year old fair maiden, has been deaf since she was a toddler. This doesn't prevent the handsome knight Fulke from falling head over heels in love with her at first sight. Ah, but it's not her beauty alone that enchants him. It's her heart. She's selfless, loving, kind, and forgiving. Everything that Fulke himself has always wanted to be.

It's heart-wrenching at times to see how others treat Reina's disability, calling her lackwit, suggesting she should have been killed as a child, etc. She is a strong woman herself, but she has a warrior protector in the brave Fulke. Her half-brother Warin, who taught her to read lips, and Fulke's knights would all lay down their lives for the gentle woman who has stolen their hearts.

When Reina is taken against her will by King Henry I to use her lip-reading ability to spy on the nobles around him, Fulke and his men must do whatever it takes to thwart Henry's motives and bring his lady back home.

In addition to Reina's character, there are other strengths to this novel. Throughout the story, the love these two share is so deep, there's an incredible "Awww" factor. The love scenes are plentiful, but not gratuitous. The secondary characters of Reina's brother and Fulke's knights are all unique and boast their own small storylines as well.

The only real problems I had with the story were purely structural. Many sentences began with leading participial phrases, which when overused, can sound repetitive. Like: "Lying back on the pillows, he watched her. Kissing his neck, she sighed. Laughing, he told her it tickled." (Not actual lines from the story)

All in all, I give "A Knight of Silence" a big thumbs-up! It's a sweet, engaging, escapist read that will sweep you in and won't let you go until you get to the end.  From the author notes, looks like this is only the first in a series. I'll be watching for the next one. Pick up your copy of  "A Knight of Silence" from today!

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