Consider this a warning: Juliette Caruso’s KNIGHT’S OATH appears to be a rather long novel, one that should take a few days to read, but it is rather difficult to put down, and the unwary reader may find themselves resurfacing after a few hours to find they’ve devoured it in one sitting. The characters are believable and intelligently written, their problems are not derived from any unnatural idiocy or refusal to actually communicate with each other as in so many romance novels, and the passionate love that develops between the main pair is built naturally, with initial attraction growing in realistic fashion into something intense, compelling, and engaging. Both care profoundly about the people they serve, Corin as a fighter and Eliana as a healer, and that caring is at the heart of their deep love for each other.
The other characters in the book are sensible and well-developed. Even when they interfere with the main couple’s romance, the reader can see where they’re coming from and, particularly with Eliana’s father and the Queen, can see how the responsibilities and duties laid on their shoulders prevent them from completely supporting the Cause of True Love. The world Caruso has built is intriguing, enough like our own to be recognizable but with a number of significant differences that leave their impressions on the story. Gender roles are different, but not unrealistically so — young marriageable women are still treated as marketable commodities, as in our medieval world, but they do a good bit of the negotiating themselves, command bride prices rather than giving dowries, and no one seems to question the authority of the Queen or the future succession of the Crown Princess on the grounds of sex. There is a bit of magic in the book, especially with respect to the Healer’s Touch Eliana possesses, and it is smoothly integrated into the plot, believably and intelligently, with different characters reacting differently to it in realistic ways. KNIGHT’S OATH is first and foremost a love story, though, and the emotions are drawn deeply and powerfully, pulling the reader in to experience the tenderness, pining – oh, so much pining! – heartbreak and final resolving joy with the main couple. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, and while the main love story is neatly tied up at the end, there are enough political loose ends to hang a potentially very enjoyable sequel from, should the author be so inclined.
Juliette Caruso’s KNIGHT’S OATH is an intensely passionate romance novel set in a thoughtfully-designed medieval world, with real heart and heat.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader