A Knight to Remember by Christina Dodd
(Harper, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-06-108692-4
****
If you haven't yet discovered Christina Dodd, you're missing a historical romance author with a keen sense of humor and a talent for writing steamy sensuality. I was entertained with her last book, Once a Knight and she didn't disappoint me with the sequel, A Knight to Remember (which is my personal favorite title of the year -- I love both images it conveys.)

In contrast to her last book and the hero, a "down on his luck" knight, the heroine of A Knight to Remember is a "down on her luck " lady. Twice widowed, first to a duke, then to an earl, Edlyn is forced by her drastically reduced circumstances to work as an herbalist in a convent. (Trust me, there IS an explanation for why our heroine, who has been widowed by two very prominent men, is left penniless.)

Her skills are challenged to save a critically ill knight with grievous wounds suffered in battle. To Edlyn's amazement, the knight is Sir Hugh de Flourisoun, a childhood friend and the unknowing object of Edlyn's first tender crush.

After Hugh's miraculous recovery, he becomes determined to marry Edlyn. Vowing never to marry again, especially to another warrior, Edlyn tries valiantly to resist Hugh even though she has never forgotten him. She also doesn't want her twin sons raised by a warrior; she plans for them to become monks.

Although Hugh persists and they are soon married, his job of wooing Edlyn has just begun. He quickly discovers that marrying Edlyn doesn't mean she has been conquered, for she has sworn to be no man's possession and to avoid war at all costs. (I think she was born in the wrong century for this!)

Edlyn is a heroine with beauty, brains, and an irresistible will. This woman needs no man to take care of her. She is quite capable of doing that herself. If you like your heroines shrewd and sweetly manipulative and can suspend a little disbelief that a warrior in medieval England will constantly allow his new wife to challenge his authority in front of his men, then you will find this an entertaining read.

I'm not exaggerating her assertiveness. Edlyn repeatedly reminds Hugh he is a rather stupid man (and quite often, he is). But he has a great heart and an entertaining wit, "But I am Hugh de Flourisoun, I am the living embodiment of chivalry!" Actually, in this case, he wasn't joking. He also was intelligent enough to realize that Edlyn never challenged him in their bedroom!

For maximum enjoyment, you may have to overlook a few words and phrases that seem rather out of place in medieval England, such as, "Sure you are" and "blankies" and Edlyn using her "mommy voice."

One of the most interesting developments in A Knight to Remember is the introduction of Hugh and Edlyn's former enemy, Richard of Wiltshire, who foolishly declares, "When I marry, I'll wed an obedient woman." I have great expectations that Ms. Dodd will challenge that statement in her next book!

--Dede Anderson


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