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A Good Knight's Kiss by Emily Klein

A Good Knight's Kiss by Emily Klein, romance, medieval, book review, On My Kindle Book Reviews

Source: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Medieval
Format: eBook
Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Back Cover

A Good Knight's Kiss is a romantic coming of age story. John is born as the bastard son of a baron, who advises him to lead a clean life, uncontrolled by passion. intially meant to be the heir, as his father meant to marry his birth mother, he's sent to train as knight. his uncanny cleverness and insight, and his red hair, cause his step mother to fear him, thinking him a devilish deamon.

As he sets off for his new life, to serve as page,squire, then knight to his uncle by marriage, John renounces his right to the land and title, in favour of his sickly half brother. But, as often happens, he falls in love, with his lord's daughter, no less. He realises that claiming his patrimony once more might win him her hand.

John struggles all his life to heed his father's decree, and to keep his oaths to his lord, and to his lord's daughter, but also his oath to never claim the title. however, he is sensitive, astute and fiery, and his conflicting loyalties and wants drive him onwards.


John, our hero, is born a bastard son of a baron. After making promises to John's birth mother, his father's indiscretion allowed him to be coerced into marrying John's stepmother instead. The stepmother agrees to adopt John; however, after miscarrying a daughter, she believes that John is a demon child who hexed her.

Realizing that his wife despises John, the baron decides to oversee John's education. The baron relates to John how the marriage with John's stepmother came to be and asks John to swear to master his passions to avoid his father's fate. John swears to master his passions and to avoid the same fate as his father. However, the baron's tutelage comes to an abrupt end after the birth of John's sickly half-brother, Henry. John's stepmother convinces the baron to send John away to train as a knight and serve his stepmother's brother as a page.

As John leaves home to walk a new path in life, he renounces his claim to his father's title and convinces the baron to make Henry his heir. However, during his time with his lord uncle, he falls in love with his lord's daughter and finds that he may have to claim his rightful place as his father's heir in order to marry her.

The book starts out well with lots of political intrigue and scheming as the various leaders in the book plot to form alliances. Readers get a chance to see how John was brought up and how, as a child, he was the unwitting victim in all of the different plots. Readers get to follow along as John decides to take control of his destiny by using his uncanny wit and powers of observation to make himself indispensable to his superiors on his path to knighthood.

As I continued reading the book, I found that the character development fell a little flat for me because the characters are doing one of three things: plotting to form an alliance, scheming on how to move up in the world, or denying their passions. Even though the story is primarily about John, we do not get to know much about him beyond learning that he is chivalrous, insightful about political intrigue, that he can divine most people's intent by observing them, and that he is struggling to control his temper and base urges. We are able to glean this from loads of internal dialogue that tells us what is happening, rather than shows us.

What may have helped to round out the characters a bit more was the setting; however, the author did not really focus on the setting and how the characters interacted with it. When I think of medieval romance, I think of Arthurian type romance with adventure, action, and vivid settings; not of pages upon pages of internal dialogue with little action, one small adventure, and no setting.

I struggled with the internal dialogue because there is just so much of it. I also struggled with it because of several mistakes in the Old- and Middle-English terms. I grew up reading classical literature and know a thing or two about word etymology, so I found it pretty distracting; especially since I ended up spending quite some time looking up some of these words to see if what I recalled from my earlier years was correct. Having said this, if you do not know much about Old- and Middle-English terms, it probably will not bother you.

Despite the issues that I have with the book, there is plenty of passion that romance readers will enjoy. For romance readers who do not enjoy sex scenes, the book is relatively free of them. The author details the events before and after the act but does not go into any great detail regarding the act itself.

For romance readers who enjoy plots that revolve around protagonists who try to resist their urges and ultimately surrender to them, this is the book for you. For romance readers who need more depth to characters and setting, you might want to try Klein's other medieval romance.

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About Emily Klein

Emily Klein, author of A Good Knight's Kiss reviewed by On My Kindle Book Reviews.
Emily Klein, photo courtesy of Facebook.
I am a social worker and mother of two. a hardcore anglophile with an avid interest in medieval history and a romantic spirit. I live with my husband, two daughters and dog in a suburban town in central Israel.
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Have you read A Good Knight's Kiss? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments.