Ronan burns with a desire for vengeance for the murder of his wife and the loss of his Irish estates. There is no room in his life for love. Rhoni is the spoiled daughter of a powerful Norman earl. Is she the one to make him whole again?
Genre: historical romance
Publishing date: February 2013
Offensive content: the general violence to be expected in England in 1097, after the Norman invasion and with the long standing feud between Normans, Welsh and, eventually, Irish. There's also a lot of sexual innuendo across all the book, but only one sex scene (pretty much graphic) right at the end.
This is an entertaining story that will not take you a long time to read. I started on Wednesday morning and was finished with it by lunchtime on Friday. The romance between Rhoni and Ronan was interesting and developed well, though I'm not a huge fan of instant lust (at least not so instant as it was portrayed here) of the way that lust suddenly converged onto ever lasting love in this story.
Ronan was the character I loved the most, a man marred by torture and focused on avenging his dead wife and reclaiming his property in Ireland. He'd been bound by an arranged loveless marriage, had remained faithful and his first concern is honoring the memory of his wife. Even though he's already lusting after Rhoni, he still came through as an honorable man. I was more on the fence about Rhoni because at times she sounds just like a foolish, spoiled brat.
The historical part of the novel did not convince me entirely too. I've read worse, but I've also read a lot better. The feuds and improbable alliances between families seem Ok, even the occasional (or not so occasional) switching sides. What mostly felt off was the women's behavior and the willingness of men to change plans based on that. Rhoni's carnal knowledge is also exaggerated for a maiden, especially back then. My only other complaint was that the names of the main characters sounded all sound so similar that it took me a while to learn to distinguish between them.
This book is part of a series, but it can be perfectly read as a stand alone story. I haven't read any of the others, although maybe having previous knowledge of the characters would have helped me with the name thing.
It's not amazing, but will not burn your brain cells either and is the ideal companion for a rainy afternoon or a cold winter evening.
I'm also about to start reading the book immediately following this one, Haunted Knights, to check if it develops one of the side stories in Dark Irish Knight that picked my curiosity. I'll post a review that one too, later.
In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend,