on November 1992
Source: Purchased: ebook
From a crumbling fairy-tale castle on the stormy Sussex coast to a dazzling, dizzying masquerade ball comes an enchanting tale of a tarnished knight, a daring maiden, and a sweet, searing storybook love...
At sixteen, Phoebe Layton had imagined that Gabriel Banner was a brave and valiant knight, a noble-hearted hero born to rescue ladies in distress. Which is why, eight years later, when she desperately needed help to carry out a vital quest, she could think of no one more suited than Gabriel.
But when she lures her shining knight to a lonely midnight rendezvous, Phoebe finds herself sparring with a dangerously desirable man who is nothing like the hero of her dreams. And when he sweeps her into a torrid and blatantly unchivalrous embrace, she can't help but fear that she's made a dreadful mistake. It's a kiss that will seal Phoebe's fate. For now the exacting Earl of Wylde has a quest of his own--to possess the most intriguing, impulsive, outrageous female he has ever met...even if he has to slay a dragon to do it.
Yes! I am finally done with my reads of some of Amanda Quick’s earlier works (from the 90s). I think I hit peak over this two days ago though. I can’t wait to move onto some other authors. This is the same set-up of most of Quick’s earlier books. Quirky Original in her mid-20s who is in danger of “staying on the shelf” and an older male who knows he should not be attracted to said female, but is, and then denies he is falling in love with her for most of the book.
The heroine for this book is Phoebe Layton. The hero, Gabriel Banner, the new Earl of Wylde. Random comment, how come none of these dudes are ever a duke?
Phoebe and Gabriel have a weird history. Phoebe found herself at 16 falling in love with Gabriel and seeing the guy as some modern version of a knight (yeah this is a regency romance book so for Phoebe this was the modern era) and actually encouraged her older sister to run off with him to escape marrying someone she didn’t know much about. Of course running off with a woman to Greta Green is not the thing to do, Gabriel and Phoebe’s sister were caught, and then Gabriel ended up having his life ruined by Phoebe’s father and brother. They think the guy was a fortune hunter out to snare a wealthy heiress and Gabriel is forced to go off in the East (yeah that word again) to make his fortune. Cue almost a decade later and we have Phoebe and Gabriel coming face to face again due to Phoebe seeking out Gabriel for stupid reasons.
Seriously, sometimes the heroines in Quick’s novels are painfully aggravating and Phoebe was definitely one of them for me while reading this (one of the many reasons why I just gave this 2 stars) she is still determined to have Gabriel be her knight for no reason that I can tell. I think maybe having a prologue showing Phoebe and Gabriel younger and showing maybe why Gabriel was someone that Phoebe was in love with would have made things better. But no, we get a painfully naive Phoebe throughout this entire book.
Gabriel runs around for most of the book thinking about getting revenge against the Layton family because he can’t see why they would be upset about him running off with their daughter. I don’t even get why the guy doesn’t understand why they went out of their way to ruin him for what he tried to, no matter his justifications. Though Phoebe’s sister Meredith is not totally blameless in the whole thing, and I wish she had acknowledged she was wrong to run off with him even though Phoebe encouraged her to. Wow, I just realized that I don’t like most of the people in this story besides Phoebe’s parents and her brother. And there is a side plot about a past love from Phoebe that may be more dangerous than he appears which of course has Gabriel all riled up because he actually encountered the guy while out gaining his fortune.
There really is not much to this novel. Honestly, most of this book really is people telling Phoebe things that she doesn’t want to hear (that are true) and her saying she doesn’t know who to believe. For example, a man that Phoebe thought was in love with her that she called her Lancelot, is now back, though Gabriel knows of him and has given her information about what the guy was really up to when Phoebe thought he was off somewhere else. By the way it’s not just Gabriel that tells her about this guy, it’s her father, her mother, her brother, and her sister. I wanted to shake her after a bit.
The writing was not Quick’s best work. There are a lot of asides about Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot and how Phoebe is much smarter than Guinevere. I maybe laughed a bit about that line because I never quibbled about Guinevere not being smart, it was the whole faithless thing that was the main issue. Can I say thought that I am heartily sick of hearing about Camelot right now after reading the Mary Stewart books.
The flow was up and down. I think because Quick realized she had to add some intrigue in this one and she tried to, but it doesn’t really work. While Phoebe is whisked off to Gabriel’s home (of course it’s a freaking castle) attempts on her life are being done and this leads to Gabriel trying to keep her confined to their home so he can keep her safe. Though Phoebe doesn’t like it since this proves Gabriel doesn’t trust her, or something, I don’t know. It made no sense to me. And I realize that in a lot of Quick novels the heroine is sometimes confined to the home in order to keep her safe and said heroine is always irked about it. Yes let’s get irked about your husband trying to keep you from being murdered! Ugh. This book.
Things get tied up in the end, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. The villain of the peace was readily apparent and based on what we know about the guy. I still don’t understand why Gabriel didn’t have him locked up but will just wave my hands at the book and say plot reasons.
I read this for Romance Bingo 2017, and this book fits my free space square!