15 May 2009

Review: Catherine Kean - A Knight's Temptation

~click on cover to buy a copy~

Mass Market Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Medallion Press (1 April 2009)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1933836520
ISBN-13: 978-1933836522


Summary:

Aldwin Treynarde, a squire who shot Lord Geoffrey de Lanceau with a crossbow bolt after being deceived by Baron Sedgewick, is ordered to retrieve a stolen ruby pendant before it falls into the baron and Veronique’s hands. Haunted by his guilt over being manipulated by the baron years ago, Aldwin wants to prove his worth to his lord. If he excels in his duty, he might even be awarded knighthood. Such an honor would also help redeem himself to his respected parents who, ashamed by his reckless near-murder of de Lanceau, told him never to return home.

Lady Leona Ransley, in an effort to help her depressed father, only wants to hand over the pendant, collect the reward, and vanish. When she arranges a meeting in a seedy tavern, she never expected to face Aldwin, who almost caused her death twelve years ago when they disturbed a bee’s nest during a childhood game. Although Aldwin doesn’t recognize her, he’s reminded of Leona and is haunted by his belief that she died from the bee stings from that day twelve years prior. Believing that the woman before him is a courtesan and has information on the conspirators’ whereabouts, he takes Leona hostage and spirits her away, meaning to deliver her and the pendant to de Lanceau.

She, however, fights him at every chance. He desires his warrior captive more than any noble woman he has ever met, and when hediscovers who she really is, he knows he has one last chance to protect his lady’s life. Only by resolving what happened between them and by fighting side by side can Aldwin and Leona defeat the conspirators and surrender to their greatest temptation—love.



Review:

Sometimes an incident has such a profound impact it will alter that person forever and it is such an event that occurred between Aldwin and Leona as children.
Now, in the present, their lives are once again intertwined as enemies plot the downfall of Lord Geoffrey De Lanceau.

With A Knight’s Reward still vibrant in my memories I opened A Knight’s Temptation, glad to wander back into the world of chivalrous knights, fiery damsels and mysteries to solve. Catherine Kean did not disappoint me as she initiated her story by capturing the innocence of childhood with Aldwin and Leona. In that faithful sunny afternoon a bond was forged between them, what should’ve been an adventure erupted in a threatening situation. I instantly knew that the impact of the situation would be felt throughout the story and I quickly turned the page to start in the first chapter.

With that first chapter I met the all grown up Leona, she was fiery-spirited and impetuous but with a loyal and a kind heart to her subjects in and around Pryerston Keep. She takes matter into her own hands with the arrival of Veronique Desjardin and the Baron Sedgewick. It is with her attempt to fill the empty coffer of Pryerstone Keep that she meets trouble with a capital T. In a tavern she meets Aldwin again and while she recognizes him at once he doesn’t seem to recognize her.

Aldwin has a past event rekindled again and again in a chanson and it is something he isn’t proud of at all. He has a tendency to let his impulsive nature rule and at the same time tries to constrain it with discipline. He focuses on honoring the Knight’s code with loyalty, chivalry and honor being the very things he tries to live by but when meeting Leona again she tests his resolve to the limit. For he has to take her to his Lord as she will spill all she knows what is going on at Preyerstone Keep.

The plot positions Aldwin and Leona as a captor and captive on the run from mercenaries which makes A Knight’s Temptation a very one on one character driven tale. It becomes a very intimate setting where emotions from past and present mingle and hot-tempered personality traits fuel the story with a clash between the genders. Neither of them will back down from their own personal goal and while it is a story as old as time I succumb each time to it. Their heartfelt intentions towards those who rely upon them, their dreams, their attraction, it all radiates a passion that made me flip the pages until the late evening hours.

The writing style of Catherine Kean not only is easy to read but allows historical life to bloom in all its aspects. Whether it is the day to day life in a town or at a Keep, there is a hierarchy of characters who portrait a lifelike picture and one of the things that will draw me to read a Catherine Kean novel each time. The lovers-to-be made me root for avoiding the mercenaries each time but there are also two enemies at the other end of the plot whose sole purpose is to indulge their every want for coin and power. Especially Veronique is a character who made my temper rise with each of her actions. The lines are very clearly drawn between good and evil and the plot holds certain aspects that originates from the first novel; A Knight’s Vengeance. I will say that each novel can be read separately but as always, to enhance ones reading pleasure I would say; read this series in order so certain emotions or reasoning can aim for a deeper impact.

Of course there is a lovely supporting cast, from the loyal Sir Theodore Wrenleigh, Twig for short, and Sir Reginald the co-conspirators of Leona’s plan, to Dominic, right hand to Lord De Lanceau. Yet it is Ward, the brother of Leona, who binds the leading characters together. Each one shaped and deepened the world of Moydenshire, England anno 1195. Whether they aided Aldwin and Leona in their journey or were those who tried to prevent the couple from reaching Branton Keep, they enlivened the romance story as a wonderful supportive cast can do.

A Knight’s Temptation was definitely a temptation for me to read on and turned in to a one sitting read. It is a beautiful and tender historical romance story of making mistakes, redeeming yourself and falling in love. Ingredients I can’t get enough of in a historical setting, add a plot, embolden characters and this story whisked me away to another time and place. Catherine Kean writing embellishes all these ingredients to produce another marvelous entry in her Knight’s series.

The valiant Knight’s code has never been more alive than in Kean’s A Knight’s Temptation.

Quote Aldwin to Leona:
“Why did you kiss me? Because, somehow, I tempted you? Because I shared memories of Ward? Because I confided in you about the pendant?”
“Because you are you Leona. ‘This reason enough.”


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