Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review -- Knight of Pleasure

Knight of Pleasure
by Margaret Mallory
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: December 1, 2009

After eight long and torturous years, resenting every day and every hour of her marriage, Lady Isobel Hume is rid of her red-faced, sweating husband. The old man is dead. Finally! Forced by her father to marry Lord Hume at the very tender age of thirteen, Isobel is glad to be free from the controlling hands of any man. After learning Lord Hume had deeding the estate and property to a man he believed his illegitimate son and refusing this man’s proposal in marriage, Lady Isobel meets with Bishop Beaufort to discuss her options in challenging the property transfer. Bishop Beaufort informs Lady Isobel of her three choices: 1) marry this man and keep her home and position; 2) return to her father’s care; or 3) allow King Henry to arrange another marriage for her to efforts to strengthen the ties between England and Normandy. Lady Isobel quickly decides to face the devil she does not know and travels to Normandy to await the King’s decision on a new husband.

Sir Stephen Carleton is a member of King Henry’s army in Normandy. As the battles wage, Sir Stephen witnesses things no human should ever see. The massacre of women, children and the elderly during the siege of Caen is burned deeply in his mind, his heart, and his soul and all the ale in England or Normandy cannot chase away the vivid images in his head. In and out of bed with several women, Sir Stephen has yet to find the one woman who makes this weary existence worth it all. He longs for a woman similar to the wife of his half brother, one that is beautiful, courageous, full of opinion and laughter. Upon meeting Lady Isobel for the first time, Sir Stephen is more than intrigued by her devilish green eyes. But I believe the meeting that seals the deal for Stephen is when he happens on Lady Isobel while she is practicing with her sword in a secluded area. As you can see from this passage, Sir Stephen is more than intrigued.

“Close the door!” she hissed. “I cannot be seen here.”

And what a sight she was, with her cheeks flushed and strands of dark hair sticking to her face and neck. God preserve me. He stepped inside and firmly closed the door behind him.

“I meant for you to remain outside when you closed it.”

Though she took a step back as she spoke, she kept a firm hand on her sword. As she should.

With her glossy dark hair in a loose braid over her shoulder, she looked even more beautiful than he imagined. And he’s spent hours imagining it. No man saw a grown woman with her hair uncovered unless he was a close family member. Or a lover. The intimacy of it sent his pulse racing.

Aye, the lady had every reason to feel nervous at finding herself alone with a man in this secluded place.

The interaction between Sir Stephen and Lady Isobel is just fabulous. I love a strong heroine, and Lady Isobel is one that can (and does) go toe to toe with Sir Stephen, matching his intensity in love of county, honor, and passionate embraces.

I was fortunate enough to review Ms. Mallory’s debut novel, Knight of Desire, earlier this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and raved about this new author. I have been waiting to read this installment in the All The King’s Men series and must tell all you fair readers that this book does not disappointment. In addition to being a great story, it was fun to revisit characters from Knight of Desire (Lady Catherine, William FitzAlan, and the traveling musician Robert).

Thus far, Ms. Mallory has gifted her heroines with abilities far beyond the typical ones of the ordinary medieval woman. While the heroines of her stories may stitch well and have the knowledge to run a household, they also know how to ride like the wind on a horse, swing a sword with ease, and pull a dagger without a second thought. I love a heroine who is more than what she seems. More than a sewer. More than a breeder.

Ms. Mallory is definitely not a one-hit wonder!

Now I am anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. I can’t wait to read James’ story!!!!

~ Buffie


  1. Good to hear it was good. I have this one in my bookshelf waiting to be read.

  2. Jedi, you will have to let me know what you think of the book after you read it. I really enjoyed it.

  3. Buffie: I will ^^

    Are you part of goodreads? I usually post my reviews of books there. Here is my profile


  4. Melissa, I am on Good Reads, but haven't done much on there yet. Seems I can't find the time to make it over there. One day though.

  5. Oh dear, another book to add to my list, I too, like it when medieval women can do a little more than make stew or pound laundry on the rocks.

    This sounds wonderful, thanks Buffie!


  6. Drew, this *IS* a wonderful book. I hope that you will pick it up and gobble it down :-)

  7. Buffie, you know how I love my medievals! I think I might have this one somewhere in my tbr.

  8. I know PJ, I am the same way. While this book could be read as a stand only, I would highly suggest reading the first in the series, Knight of Desire. You really have to see Stephen from the beginning.

  9. Wow, Buffie, this one sounds really good! Great review!

  10. Buffie, I remember you talking about KNIGHT OF DESIRE and how much you liked it! I will definitely have to read both now! :)

  11. This reminds me of the scene where Antonio Banderas is Fencing with Catherine Zeta Jones in Zorro, love these women who can hold there own with the men when necessary and at the same time be feminine and soft when in the arms of the right man....
    When leave here am going to Paperback Swap and finding the books to order, wish me luck and yeah book 3 comes out around July 2010....
    jackie b central texas

  12. Buffie, I am thrilled you like my 2nd book as well as the 1st!! Thanks so much for the lovely review. BTW, you can ALWAYS count on strong heroines from me. ;)

    Margaret Mallory

  13. Jacabur1, yes Zorro does come to mind a little bit. This is an excellent series and I am so happy that James' story is just around the corner. July will be here in no time!

  14. Margaret, thank you so much for stopping by. As you can tell I loved both of your books and can't wait to read James' story. I am looking forward to his strong heroine!