|Lee Ann Dansby: Forever, My Knight|
Forever, My Knight leaves a less favorable impression by starting with the attempted rape of a character and ending with a virtual rape of history. This is a shame as novice Lee Ann Dansby shows great promise in the development of her characters and their changing emotions.
The novel opens with feisty Saxon Lady Kaela hanging from the rafters while the insane Broderick of Ralston whip-strips her. The evil Saxon lord intends to pleasure himself by despoiling Kaela. Only the arrival of Norman baron Cameron D'Abernon and the siege of Broderick's home gives Kaela the chance to flee through secret passages and tunnels to her own holdings -- Chaldron Castle.
It is here, having sworn allegiance to King William, that Lady Kaela receives the king's delegation and first meets Baron D'Abernon, affectionately known to his friends as the Black Wolf, or Wolf. Kaela immediately chastises Wolf for his derogatory comments about a woman running such important things as castles and estates.
King William gives Lady Kaela and her estates to D'Abernon as his reward for good service. But the aftereffects of D'Abernon's disastrous previous marriage and Lady Kaela's own unpleasant experiences with men create barriers to their flourishing love. Only when Kaela again falls into the merciless hands of Broderick do Kaela and Wolf accept their feelings for each other.
Perhaps this reviewer should apologize for being slightly hypercritical with respect to Forever, My Knight's historical inaccuracies. Saxon lords building stone castles, secret passages in Saxon homes, a Viking warrior who is also a Norman knight and random occurrences of modern terminology, kept jolting me out of the story. Dansby admits in her afternote that she took liberties with historical fact. In other circumstances, such liberties might have been feasible, but in this case too many "possibles" detracted from the story.
On the publishing side, there were places where lines were either repeated or missing between the bottom and top of consecutive pages. In addition, a number of correctly spelled, grammatically inappropriate words (e.g., illusive instead of elusive) bespoke an over-reliance on automatic spell-checkers. Thankfully, such errors were few.
Nevertheless, Dansby shines at portraying the emotions and situations of her characters. This reviewer is interested to see how her next novel develops.
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Oops! Mistakes in the review!
Broderick never lays a hand on her in the book. He is about to, and has in the past, but not here. King William does not give the estates to D'Abernon. The king gives Lady Kaela over to be his wife -- the estates come with the lady. Can you get your reviewer to be a bit more accurate on the facts? Opinions are fine, good or bad. Just get the facts right.
I, personally, felt the opening line of this book was one of the best hooks I have read. I picked it up at about 10 p.m. one night, thinking to read a little and put it down. I could not, and was up until almost 4 a.m. to finish it. I agree in that Lee Ann Dansby shines at portraying emotions and situations. It has been almost nine months since I read this book, and I still judge book openings by this one. It is a good, emotional, and interesting read. Very entertaining.
B. K. Wines