I missed the March and April challenges, but I am all over this one because MY FIRST DEVERAUXS. (Is that the plural? I’m going with it.) I had a hit and a miss.
A Knight in Shining Armor (1987)
It was a DUD. I was DISAPPOINTED. There, I SAID IT.
My less-than-enthusiastic reaction can be blamed on:
The Susanna Kearsley binge.
I listened to The Winter Sea, The Firebird, The Rose Garden, and Splendour Falls, and read The Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms, so my standards for timeslip romances were raised ridiculously high.
Knight was undoubtedly romantic, and the time travel was entertaining, but I wanted the intensity and emotion of the chapel/churchyard scenes to be sustained through the whole story.
The awkward and uncomfortable narration.
I do NOT recommend the audiobook narrated by Steve West. It appears that he’s done several historical romances, but his performance on Knight had a lot to do with my negative reaction to the heroine (see below).
The over-the-top ex and his bratty daughter.
Halfway through the first chapter, my only thoughts were “Really?” A little subtlety would have gone a long way to make the opening of Knight a little more palatable. Instead, we get sledgehammered with caricatures.
And the fat-shaming of a 13-year-girl? REALLY? I don’t care how obnoxious the child was, or when this book was written, there is no excuse for that. I almost DNF’d by chapter two.
I hated Dougless. I wanted to slap her upside the head and say GOOD GOD WOMAN STOP WHINGING. She’s the prototype of the Ditzy, Klutzy, Family Fuck-Up and she annoyed me from beginning to end. All she did was whine, pout, plead and cry through the whole damn book.
Grade: C- (saved from a D+ by the perfectly perfect ending)
The Raider (1987)
This one, on the other hand, was GLORIOUS.
It was a funny, sexy romp in the best possible way, and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
The heroine was a smartass.
I adore smartass heroines. Have I mentioned this before?
The hero has two (count ‘em, TWO) alter egos.
And the heroine falls in love with both of them. I almost liked it against my will because the “in disguise” trope generally makes me roll my eyes, but Deveraux pulled it off beautifully.
The secondary characters were memorable and essential to the story.
I think this is another reason why Knight didn’t work for me — for most of the book, we get little respite from Dougless’s internal angst-o-rama. The remainder of the cast just served as reusable props for her self-pity party.
In Raider, however, we get scene after scene of comic relief from Jessica’s gauche family, Alex’s mysterious Russian prince sidekick, the villainous villains and the raucous residents of Warbooke— and every bit of it advances the plot.
The pacing was perfect.
Knight was a weird combination of comedy and melodrama that just wasn’t my thing — it just didn’t feel cohesive.
Raider gives us high farce from page one and never lets go. We get just enough downtime for crucial backstory, character development, foreshadowing and (of course) sexytimes before we’re thrown headfirst into the next escapade.
The time period and setting were…not Regency England.
I have no idea if every minute detail was historically accurate, but I couldn’t give a rat’s arse because I totally bought into the historical world-building. And that sucked me into a still-ongoing Colonial/Revolutionary America binge.
(If you missed it, be sure to check out SBTB’s post on The Raider collectible Barbies.