The Book Worm: Review: Must Love Chainmail

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Must Love Chainmail

must love chainmail, angela quarles, book review

A damsel in distress...
With a day planner attached to her hip, the last thing Katy Tolson wants is a romance that threatens her well-ordered life. She's set to marry the safe--but bland--guy, but something's not quite...right. A careless wish thrusts her through time into medieval Wales and into the arms of...

A knight in somewhat shining armor...
Sir Robert Beucol, half-Norman and half-Welsh, lives with the shame of his father's treason and vows to reclaim his family's holdings and thereby his honor. To prove himself to his king, he must be more Norman than a full-blooded Norman. What better way to show loyalty than to fight his mother's people? He has no desire to be sidetracked by the mysterious wench with pink toenails, peculiar habits, and passion smoldering behind her cool, collected exterior.

A rebellion that challenges both...
The Welsh uprising fits perfectly into Robert's plans. Katy's on the other hand? That's a no. As they embark on a perilous journey through the heart of Wales, each passionate encounter pulls them closer together, but farther from their goals. When everything they value is at stake, can they save each other and their love?
Genre: historical romance

Publishing date: July 2015

Offensive content: The general violence of war in the Middle Ages and a couple of sex scenes.

I came across this book while browsing time travel romances and, for the price of the Kindle version, decided it was worth a try. It was the first book I read by Angela Quarles, and while I'm not amazed overall, it is still an entertaining read. 

There are a few flaws in the book. The first one has to do with the way Katy manages to go back to the past. While I'm expecting the time travel details to be better explained in book one of the series (Must Love Breeches, which I obviously failed to read), if one reads Must Love Chainmail without that background, those first few pages are totally awkward, almost to the point of putting the book aside and thinking it is too far fetching to ever be believable.  

I also think Katy and Robert learned to communicate perfectly too fast. Taking into account the linguistic differences between modern and medieval French and English, it would have taken more than the span of one day to overcome that barrier. Communication difficulties would have been more realistic and would have made the story a bit more interesting.

There were two other details in the book I failed to understand: who was the gentleman from the past, the one who left the "time-traveling" calling card case for Katy (and could he know where to "reach" Katy), and how could Katy have received as a gift in present day the bird Robert sculpts for her in the past. If Katy had time traveled to the same period in time as her friend Isabelle from book one, I would have probably be Ok with it, but otherwise...still, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt because I really did not read book one.

I also would have preferred that the editor to choose a different cover, it just makes the book look a bit idiot in my opinion, but since that's a recurring problem I have with romance novel covers, I'll let it pass too. 

On the other hand, Must Love Chainmail has several strong points. It focuses on the Welsh rebellion, for one, which is a period/location in history that is not very common in historical romances and just proves that you can actually learn something from reading romance novels. 

And the end? I was totally not expecting it and that's something I cannot say of a lot of books. The way the story comes full circle with the beginning (no spoilers, you have to read it) is almost worthy of those four stars just by itself. At the moment I read it, I thought "pure genius!". There is a happily ever after too, but also not what I thought it would be, especially given the references to how book one had ended. 

So, all in all, I still recommend this book, though, for the sake of clarity, I would probably suggest you to start with book one (which I promise to read too one of these days, though I clearly love chainmail a lot more than breeches). Just be prepared to overlook all the small inconsistencies and brace yourself for the great ending. 

Happy readings,

the book worm, book blog


  1. Love the title, but after reading your comments, realized it's probably not for me. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!

    1. Not all books are for everyone, and we have so little time to read, we should focus on what's really important. Thank you anyway for stopping by, and also for hosting your party. I always find inspiration for new books there, even if I don't have time to review them all!


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