June 7, 2013

Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Dougless leaned against the phone cubicle and, in spite of herself, tears came to her eyes. "So where's my Knight in Shining Armor?" she whispered. As she said the words, she looked at the man standing before her. A fading ray of sunlight struck his armor, a shadow fell across his blue-black hair, and a jewel in his sword hilt twinkled."
-from Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

When I was much younger and books weren't readily available online (for the elite who even had internet), much less available for download, I would help my mom scour the shelves of used book stores for Jude Deveraux's romance novel, A Knight in Shining Armor. Not only was it one of my mom's favorites, but it must have been a favorite of many others being that it was near impossible to find! When we finally did find it, it felt like we had won the lottery. How silly I felt recently when all I had to do was click "Download" to get it off of Amazon and sent straight to my Kindle!

Examining the question of whether or not true love can literally pass the test of time, Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor is a romance novel with a fantastic fantasy twist. When American Dougless Montgomery is abandoned outside a church in England by her boyfriend and his bratty daughter while on vacation, Dougless' tears transport Elizabethan knight, Nicholas Stafford, from 1599 to the present day. Originally seeing Nicholas as a knight sent to rescue her from her woes, they soon realize that Nicholas also needs help solving the mystery of who betrays him to the point of execution in 1599. Together Dougless and Nicholas work on changing history and try to make sense of the bond that has joined them so strongly that they can defy the logic of time.

I've been reading romance novels since I was in late elementary school and, considering A Knight in Shining Armor is the only title I can remember from the many I've read, I knew I had to give it a re-read as an adult once I found it on Amazon. Because of the nostalgia attached to this book, I admit my review may be a tad biased, but I really enjoyed this story and probably related to it a lot more reading it now. A Knight in Shining Armor is definitely not without its stereotypical 1980s romance dramatics and there are times when the author walks in circles over how Dougless feels; however, to her credit, Dougless is quite literally a damsel in distress! I think this book could have been compacted better if a lot of that cheesiness was eliminated, but it isn't so distracting that it prevents the story from progressing. If you're looking for a light, romantic read then you won't mind this at all.

I think what sets A Knight in Shining Armor apart from typical romance novels is the element of fantasy involved. Most romance novels are predictable, even if the reader does like reading about how the guy gets the girl or vice versa; in this novel it's difficult to imagine a happy ending for both characters since they live 400 years apart. Furthermore, the element of time travel adds a comedic element; Nicholas' reactions to cars and calculators are automatically funny and gives a new dynamic to his relationship with Dougless, his 20th century teacher. Since this book takes place in the 1980s, it would be even funnier to read an updated version with internet and iPads.

Besides the romance and themes of love surviving centuries, this book also teaches other valuable lessons about loving yourself and finding value in what others may perceive as flaws. Dougless experiences an awakening of self throughout the course of the novel and it's less superficial than other romance novels of its day. This helped me feel less guilty about indulging in this story because it isn't irresponsibly advertising that a heroine can only be a heroine if she's attached to a man. Although it definitely fits the mold of "romance novel," I think A Knight in Shining Armor can even be considered a pioneer for the more female empowered neo genre of "Chick Lit".

Bottom Line: Definitely read this if you love a good romance! If cheesy romantic books aren't your thing, you probably won't appreciate this one. 4/5 stars {5/5 stars for the Romance genre}

On a side note, I really wish they would turn this into a movie with Ian Somerhalder . . . I know, I say that about every book with a hot male character, but seriously! ;)

Next week's book: Trail of the Chupacabra by Stephen Randel
(Which I'm excited to say is totally acceptable for guys to read, too! Yay!)

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