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Knight of Passion by Margaret Mallory

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Knight of Passion
All the Kings Men #3

Margaret Mallory
Medieval Romance
Published in 2010

H/h - Sir James Rayburn/Lady Linnet
Settng: England, 1425.

Read in June, 2012.
My rating:    

                                                [spoiler alert]

A very disappointing end to this trilogy. Knight of Passion was just... ugh! I liked MM’s writing, loved the historical aspects but I was very annoyed with the H and h of the book, Jamie and Linnet. They were so immature in everything; Linnet was such an ignorant little b*tch and Jamie such a moron, that I heaved a sigh of relief as I finished the book.

No Ms. Author, just because someone is so beautiful, it doesn’t give her the right to do whatever she wants to get her way, at the expense of other peoples’ feelings. A person without common sense and integrity isn’t attractive, no matter how beautiful he/she is outwardly. So you fail in this regard. I don’t care that it’s a Romance novel/fantasy-land, Linnet was exasperating and immature. Her so-called ‘unearthly beauty’ paled in comparison to her moronic activities. I wasn’t fond of her from the beginning and she got worse as I read pages after pages.

In Knight of Pleasure, Stephen and William saved Linnet and Francois (twins) from an invasion of the English army in Falaise. Stephen brought them back. Francois and Linnet worked under Stephen, Isobel (later Stephen’s wife). They lived with Stephen and then Robert, the King’s advisor, and his wife, Claudette for a while. I kinda felt that Linnet was a bit too matured and reckless for her age but I had no idea how worse it got. She was said to be so beautiful even as a child that men always cast lusty glances at her, something that didn’t change as she grew older. While living with Robert’s family, Linnet had no reigns on her activities and grew more headstrong. She would do whatever she has set her mind to, damn the consequences. Francois was always being harassed by her actions but since she’s soooo ‘beautiful’, they all forgive her actions sooner or later. I didn’t see anything forming between Jamie (William’s stepson and Catherine’s eldest son) and Linnet in Knight of Pleasure as they’re both in their teens. But in the passing years, it seems they formed an attraction to each-other. Jamie is 3 yrs older than Linnet and was more experienced. But even then, Jamie really wasn’t a womanizer and thoughts about love and respect were in his mind, mostly because his parents were a glowing example of one.

Meanwhile, it’s known that Linnet and Francois are bastards of a nobleman, who apparently never claimed them, let alone bear any of their expanses. With their mother dead, their old grandfather looked after them. He was a cloth merchant, who was robbed off by some of his close friends, who plotted his downfall. Linnet and Francois has been in London before with their grandfather but before they turned 12, things changed. Their grandfather died, leaving them destitute. Linnet has vague memories of some men or the article of their clothing, as both siblings spied from their hiding place when those men turned on their grandfather. And that day, Linnet vowed that she will have justice, no matter what it takes her to get it. As time passed by, the idea of justice turned into bitter vengeance in her mind, even though she won’t acknowledge it thus. Francois, on the other hand, is quite jolly and doesn’t believe in this vengeance. But he couldn’t disabuse his sister of this idea as well. After sometimes, when they’re in Paris (I think they were with Robert’s family that time), their father Alain suddenly takes an interest in them, his legitimate sons having died. Linnet hated her father with a force that made her do just about anything to hurt this man. And, Jamie too, in the process. Jamie was in Paris too, with the King’s army. He already loved Linnet (Love? Not to me. I thought it was more ‘uncontrollable lust’ than love) and wanted her a lot. Linnet knew this and she wanted Jamie too but she wanted her revenge more. Alain arranges a marriage for her with a man named Pomeroy, who is a close acquaintance of the Duke of Gloucester, King Henry V’s brother. Now, Gloucester was total opposite to the saintly King; a womanizer and a wastrel. It was obvious that Pomeroy was something of the same thing. Linnet never liked him and she would never marry the man, so she seduces Jamie and stages the whole scene so that Alain and Pomeroy would find them. Jamie, the young lovesick puppy, had no idea about it. When she gives her virginity to him, Jamie is talking about marriage. But marriage is the farthest thing in Linnet’s mind. She would have her ‘justice’, work to get her grandfather’s business on the market once again and destroy all the merchants who has worked as her grandfather’s downfall. When Alain and Pomeroy finally come in and found them naked together, it was revealed that the room was Pomeroy’s (Jamie obviously had no idea). The marriage arrangement was canceled of course but Jamie got the shock of his life when the truth dawned on him. Linnet was happy that her plan worked but then, she realized (as her slow brain took it in) that what she did to Jamie to acquire this. Jamie won’t give in and leaves her without a glance. She can contact him only if there’s a child. But, I knew Jamie’s a jacka$$ when he threatens Alain not to hurt Linnet for her actions, while IMO, she deserved flogging for this. It was so self-centered and b*tchy!

Anyway, 5 years pass by. Jamie has become a womanizer, to forget the b*tch, who just won’t leave his head. But he’s also working for the young king, as King Henry V has already passed away, leaving his young widow Katherine and their infant son. I love the historical aspects in this book, the real-life characters weaved through the whole story. This was one of the very few things that I truly enjoyed about this book. Back to the story, Linnet has done some ‘improvements’ on her quest for revenge. She thwarted marriage with Pomeroy but a few months later, married his feeble old uncle, not only to spite Pomeroy but also for money. She needed loads of it to get her revenge plan going. She was very calculating about her moves. Her husband died, leaving her a rich widow. She has done almost all the things she’d planned; taking back the business which is now thriving and money pouring in. She has already destroyed most of the merchants behind their tragic childhood. But, she is yet to find the superior culprit, the one who pulled the strings and used this lesser men on his behalf. She is still making investigation with the help of an elderly clerk of hers, Master Woodley. And, Linnet also has quite the high profile position now; the queen’s companion. She is Katherine’s good friend, closes and a confidante. We see that the young queen is sad and distressed because her 3 yrs old son was always taken away from her for things my brain won’t process well, something to do with the running of the Monarchy, which the young King’s uncle, the Duke of Bedford and Bishop Beaufort (Henry’s own uncle) was doing on his behalf. There were political aspects I’m not really interested to talk about but I think MM did her research well and weaved the incidents nicely. Now, Linnet cares for the queen but she can’t do anything about the young king’s absence. We meet someone called Edmund Beaufort, related to Bishop Beaufort, who is always flirting away with Linnet and has hinted to take her as his mistress. Linnet has considered it to some extent but before she could do anything, Jamie comes back into her life.

Jamie has spent the last 5 yrs in war and working for England. Now he’s back to take a wife and settle down. But meeting Linnet again only diverts him from his mission. He’s consumed by the old lust for her that never died. But Jamie is trying hard to not let lust rule him and his utter dislike for Linnet to be shown. But Jamie, ah, he failed miserably in this regard. Anyway, he and his squire both are always agape like some drooling fool whenever she’s near. They keep on playing this hide-and-seek-ihateyou-butiwannaf*ckyoutoo game for sometimes. There are some troubles from Pomeroy and Jamie’s possessive instinct comes out instantly to save Linnet. But the thing is that, when Linnet was attacked by Pomeroy, she was to blame for it because she was as reckless as ever in her quest for revenge. Also she was the nosiest heroines I’ve ever read. Just can’t freakin’ keep her nosy self out of anything. She HAS to see and HAS to investigate, damn the consequences, again and again. She had zero ounce of common sense in this regard. But, because it’s a romance is why she didn’t get caught in her own stupidity until the very end IMO. She would be raped and dead in RL! Right after their altercation with Pomeroy, Jamie and Linnet have hasty sex, when she was already befuddled from Pomeroy’s attack. It was really unbelievable. I don’t know why the authors think that after an upsetting event, what a person immediately wants is sex and sex and more sex! I read a book where the heroine’s brother was murdered and she demanded (and had) sex with the hero just after he imparted the news, leaving me totally speechless! O_o Anyway, this restarts Jamie and Linnet’s affair and they keep making out like bunnies whenever they could, didn’t matter the time or place, so much so, that at one point I thought MM was trying to make up for the lack of sex scenes in Knight of Pleasure. So, Linnet was happy to put it this way as long as she can but Jamie, the fool, was again snared. He didn’t want to end, he was still possessive about her. He even went out to challenge Pomeroy on a duel, even though Linnet was to blame for her predicament. If Pomeroy called her a ‘whore’, she was a kind of a whore for using her beauty as a method of getting her way! She married Pomeroy’s uncle for money FGS but not Pomeroy, because of his lack of it. Pomeroy wanted her genuinely and a bit insanely, which came out later in a series of shocking incidents.

The gossips about witches and sorcery were floating around the court. Gloucester’s mistress, Eleanor Cobham was said to have a link to these, then again, everyone knows that she’s mean and cunning, not to mention jealous about her lover. Linnet herself has once been accused of it, thanks to Pomeroy, right after his uncle’s death. Linnet also visited this apothecary woman. Her intentions was to get herbs for protection against pregnancy but she also gets a bit of gossip about one of that woman’s apprentices, who is said to have been practicing the dark art. The woman also warns Linnet that her nosy nature would lead her to trouble. Truer words were never spoken but very predictably, Linnet never took those words by heart. One day, she witnesses something in the basement of Westminster. Linnet was being her usual nosy self and went to ‘investigate’ something that caught her attentions. She finds some ceremony, where people were practicing something definitely dark. She sees this man wearing wolf’s headdress initiating it and then after some rituals, having sex with a woman. The man looks at Linnet while doing it, as if he knew she’s snooping around. Linnet just runs after that and quite shocked. But she was aroused too by all these, so she goes straight to Jamie. I don’t think I have to elaborate what they did afterwards, even though Linnet was dirty from her basement visit. And she doesn’t tell Jamie the whole story, skipping the part of sexual congress. She might’ve known that Jamie would be furious if he knew the whole truth!

As they were having their secret affair, Owen Tudor makes an appearance. He is the son of Maredudd Tudor (story in Knight of Desire) and closer to age with Jamie. I liked Owen’s easygoing charm immensely, which is way I wasn’t happy, at all, when he starts an affair with the air-headed Queen. I know this event was added from the historical facts (the real Katherine did have an affair with one Owen Tudor and had many kids with him), still I didn’t like it. I wasn’t very fond of Katherine at first, she wasn’t very smart. I wanted Owen to have a great heroine but I knew he’s destined for Katherine after I read the history in Wiki. But, as I read along, I begin to feel compassion for Katherine, who has never been allowed to have an opinion or ask for something she wants in her entire life. Maybe she needed Owen to lighten up her world. He starts working as Katherine’s Clerk of Wardrobe just before their affair. Linnet knew this is a disaster in the making (political reasons, queen can’t associate herself with a lowly commoner) and she sought out Jamie’s help to avoid it, which obviously doesn’t work. They go to bed soon after Jamie and Linnet leave for Paris and begin their own affair on full throttle.

Linnet was sort of closing in on the main culprit but every time she made a close move, he’d slip away. Then Jamie wasn’t giving her any peace as well. Francois visits her in Paris but we’re not entirely sure what he does when he goes away. It was mysterious and never explained. He also helps Linnet with various gossips that might help her position with the queen. Francois guessed that Linnet is having an affair with Jamie and he approved... but he did his brotherly duty by accosting Jamie. Jamie confirms him that he has marriage in mind, but they both know how ‘stubborn’ (read: stupid) Linnet is, so he’s making slow approach. When they return from Paris, Linnet is no closer to the truth. Jamie already made a move, asked her to forget about her revenge and marry him. Linnet, of course, put on a resistance at first but she had to give in. She promised him, again, that she’d forgive this mad quest. Jamie might’ve also imparted some repulsive information about him and Eleanor to Linnet, something I entirely could’ve done without. I hoped that Linnet would kick him outta her house, it was that gross but as she didn’t and went to have sex with him just afterwards, I thought, ‘well, aren’t you two a match made in heaven?!’ But I digress. Gloucester had his dirty eyes on Linnet too and he casts a lure. He can give her more information about the man she’s seeking but in return, she’d have to become his mistress. Hmm, Linnet thought, I won’t become his mistress of course but I can use this to get information. I can handle Gloucester and act as if I’m inclined to his wishes. Afterwards, I can always pay him off since he’s always in need of money. And Jamie needs never know about this.......... I leave you to decide what to think of her. Yes, she goes there to ‘act’ with Gloucester. Little did she know that Eleanor knew of it. She leads Jamie to Gloucester’s room. He finds Linnet on Gloucester’s lap...... I lost all my interest after this and wanted to kill, JUST KILL this ignorant b*tch. Jamie was hurt again beyond words and I would  be happy if he just kicked her outta his life. He almost did... Almost but not quite.

Jamie’s summoned by the Duke of Bedford who informs him that a bride has been chosen for him. Jamie, before his affair with Linnet, made it known that he’s looking for one. Now, both Bedford and Beaufort want him to marry this heiress. Jamie is determined and receives the man, Stafford and his daughter, Agnes. Stafford is another ignorant a-hole, who thinks his daughter is a blight upon his life. He’s always demeaning her and Jamie feels sorry for the girl, who, it was rumored, wanted to become a nun. He thinks Agnes is attractive enough but not quite as devastatingly beautiful as Linnet. Yes, she kept coming back in everything Jamie did. I lost my respect for Jamie as well, how could he after what she did to him, over and over again? I hated when he made these comparisons with Agnes. Agnes, it seemed, was a bit too enthusiastic about the Bible and its verses. I felt that MM is trying to make a fool of Agnes to make Linnet a much better prospect, that Agnes was used, more than once, for this purpose. Pathetic as this effort was, I liked Agnes much better than Linnet. And Jamie, I didn’t think, for once, would’ve married the girl. But he isn’t averse to spite Linnet, who was now stewing into this trouble of her own making. Jamie repeatedly ignored her pleas to hear her out. Then his parents, William and Catherine visit and find Linnet’s distasteful comments about Jamie’s sexual urges and how Agnes would never be able to satisfy him like she does. To her, their sex life was the last resort to get Jamie back so why not use it? Anyway, Jamie leaves with his parents and visits his siblings. William and Catherine now have a platoon of children; 7 daughters and 2 sons (including Jamie). Jamie’s immediate next is his brother, Nicholas. Revisiting the FitzAlans was another part which I adored about this book. I couldn’t believe this trilogy finally spanned 30 yrs from the first book! Made me really wistful. *sigh* Anyway, William tries to talk to Jamie about his marriage (and Linnet) but he’s resolute about marrying Agnes. Then Catherine had to make her confession about Jamie’s parentage. Jamie already knew that Rayburn wasn’t his real father. We finally get to learn more about the young knight. Seems that the man didn’t die then. Jamie’s real father, who became a monk later on, died a few months ago. Jamie wasn’t here so he never got the news. On his way, Jamie visits Stephen and Isabel too, who are happily married. Jamie later meets with his new uncle and aunt, Charles and Annie. It was apparent that both are very nice people and in love. I totally loved this part too. They welcome Jamie with open arms. Now it’s apparent that Jamie is the heir to a prospering estate and lands since Charles has no children. I don’t know if it was necessary to ‘show’ that Jamie is now rich and has his own lands but I loved that he finally got to meet his blood relations.

Next, he’s in Stafford’s home. Linnet’s taunt about Agnes and his sex life comes back and Jamie becomes determined to find out about this part. It ends in a disaster of course, since Agnes’s puritanical views on sex set Jamie off totally. I, again, felt that she was just used, quite badly, to create a foil for Linnet. Either way, my fool heart wished that she got her own book, along with Francois. It was crushed when Jamie returns to ‘take Linnet back’, as Agnes flew to a nunnery. Linnet, on the other hand, learns from Francois that Alain is dead. Bundles of letters by her father confirmed that the man actually cared for them and wanted to take care of them, which their grandfather never approved of. Francois has been closer to Alain than Linnet ever was. So, upon hearing the news, Linnet becomes very upset. She’s now full of remorse. Soon, she’s in real trouble too. Someone is after her now. The old rumors of her practicing sorcery comes back to haunt her.

From here, things take serious turns as Linnet is kidnapped. It was just... yada yada yada but what I distinctly remember is Jamie making fun of Agnes with Linnet somewhere in the story, with Linnet as ‘apple tart with clotted cream’ while Agnes the ‘plain oatcake’. Why would he want plain oatcake when he can have apple tart with clotted cream? So immature and mean! As I said, big sigh of relief...! I would rate it less than 3 stars if I didn’t appreciate those few good moments in the story, which sadly, have nothing to do with Linnet or Jamie.

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I'm a simple girl. I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. I also write, mostly songs/poems, though I'm not published. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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