Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland

Montgomery de Piaget attracts responsibilities like blossoms lure bees. Where other knights have bonny brides, laughing children, and noble quests, he has the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England. A bit of magic might aid him - if only he still believed in that sort of thing.

When Pippa Alexander is invited to England to provide costumes for an upscale party, she jumps at the chance to showcase her own line of fairytale-inspired designs. And even her older sister's decision to act as Fairy Queen can't crush Pippa's hope that this time, she'll wind up wearing the glass slippers. Not that she believes in fairy tales, or magic that whispers along the hallways of an honest-to-goodness medieval castle...

But the castle is full of more than cobwebs, and danger lurks in unexpected places. And only time will tell is Montgomery and Pippa can overcome these obstacles to find their own happily ever after...

Lynn Kurland is the master of medieval time travel romances. She has two interconnected series about two dynastic families, the MacLeods and the de Piagets, each having plenty of members who met their true loves in another century and often intermarrying with one another. Her romances are filled with humor and tender romance without the explicit sex scenes, which is rather refreshing. Each one I've read has been an enjoyable read but Kurland's books assume the reader's familiarity with her other books; in One Enchanted Evening, family members and characters from as many as five previous works appear.

I liked One Enchanted Evening but had a few problems with it. There wasn't much action. Montgomery had the task of rehabbing a castle that he inherited and that involved rousting the cousins in it who didn't want him there. I think they were supposed to be the real element of danger but they seemed more like an easily handled nuisance to Montgomery so it was hard to take seriously any threat they may have been. Also, the blurb on the back cover made Montgomery seem like someone who had ditched the whole concept of the paranormal as a teenager for necessity but when Pippa and her sister appear out of thin air he immediately accepts her explanation with no skepticism at all. I was just surprised that he caved so quickly because often in this genre men who make that kind of 180-degree switch cling to it a bit harder. Apparently, Kurland's men have a bit more common sense when it comes to the paranormal. And Pippa's sister Cinderella (even hippies need to have some standards), what a piece of work she was - I hope Kurland isn't planning to give her a book any time soon. Irritating and annoying, I couldn't find any reason to like her. Keeping herself detached from the reality of their situation by taking valium might have been preferable than facing the situation but I don't think valium is the type of med to induce euphoria or delusions in the fashion which Cindi was living with: as she had time traveled in a big white ballgown, she believed herself to be Queen of the Faeries, ordered the men to participate in a beauty pageant, and announced her wedding to Montgomery. And they believed her and even started preparations for it! People sure seem gullible in the 13th century.

Kurland's next romance, One Magic Moment, will be out on May 3, 2011 and is about Pippa's sister, Tess. Will she pick a de Piaget or a MacLeod? Pick up a copy and find out. (This review also appears on LibraryThing.)

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