A Highland Knight to Remember by Amy Jarecki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**This review contains spoilers**
This is the second of Amy Jarecki's novels that I've read, and my enjoyment was just about the same with this one. Overall, this story was great; lots of love and steam, with some adventure thrown in. I very much enjoyed the interchange between Sean and Gyllis, particularly when Gyllis was in the midst of her recovery from paralysis and he went frequently to visit her.
With that being said, I have some criticisms. Firstly, I thought that it was just in the first book I read (in which the heroine wants to be a nun), but the over-doing-it with God references got to me a bit. There were a *lot* of scenes in which the Sean or Gyllis shouted at the skies, asking God "Why is this happening to me?!?!" or some variation of that. It got old really fast.
Second, was the third sex scene. Yowza. So Gyllis just rescues Sean from the brink of death (he'd been held in a full-body iron contraption and starved for three days). They miraculously make it out of there and to safety in order to clean him up, etc. He gets his servants to draw him a bath (because he was covered in blood, snot, oozing lesions, and his own urine, according to the scenes with Sean in the cave), and then, before he's even gotten into the bath, he's got a raging erection for Gyllis. I just don't get it. He's almost died from lack of food and water, he's weak, he's been tortured, and likely smells to high heaven. How on earth does this make any sense? I mean, he could possibly be up for some sex after he's gotten some rest, food, water, and bathed, but it doesn't make sense to have it before then.
Additionally, once Gyllis starts washing him in the bath, it doesn't say anything about his washing his face and hair, which led me to believe that once they started kissing, his snot-covered nose and upper lip (as he'd previously described it) was rubbing all over her mouth. Not only that, but he pulled her into his filthy bathwater! Talk about cringeworthy. He was supposed to have washed his stale pee covered body in that water, as well as the fact that it'd have dried blood and puss from his "festering wounds" floating around. And somehow Gyllis didn't even notice that the nasty water was soaking into her clothes when he pulled her in. Nope, she just went on kissing his booger-covered face.
My third--and last--criticism of A Highland Knight to Remember was the fact that these characters seem to recover from injuries shockingly fast. Not only was Sean ready for sex immediately after being rescued from the torture device, but he rode off before dawn and went straight towards the battle. Once he's in hand-to-hand combat with his foe, he quickly realizes his folly, but I was still amazed that he was able to get out of bed, let alone ride around and wield weapons.
These things aside, I (again) very much enjoyed this novel. I would certainly recommend it for those wishing for a sweet and sexy love story between two strong-willed characters.
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I've reached the point in my writing (to which most of you authors can relate), where the end is so close that I can practically taste it. With every word that I write, my anticipation heightens, knowing that the story is almost complete.
I'm wrapping up plot points, concluding the romance in a satisfying revelation of "I love you"s, and making sure that the bad guy gets his just desserts. It's what I've been working towards since I'd started the research, and written the first word, and the suspense is almost too much to bear.
The trick is not to get overly excited and rush through the end, which ruins it for everyone. I also have to make sure that I've hit all of the appropriate emotional notes, and I don't skip any important plot details or make continuity errors. It's difficult to keep the same level of thoughtfulness and precision that goes into the rest of the manuscript, because I'm just so eager and thrilled!
For those of you that aren't writers, or might not quite get what I'm describing, it's not that I want the book to be over. It's more of a fervent desire to have my work in readers' hands, and the quicker I can write it, the quicker my editor can go over it, and the publishing process can begin. I have so many stories in my head that are waiting to be written, that I want to get them all out as quickly as possible so that others might enjoy them.
As you all know, my current work in progress is a novella, and I'm bursting to have you all read it! So, back to writing I go...
I've heard about other authors' comfort zones when it comes to writing, whether it be that they're more comfortable with flash fiction, short stories, novellas, or they're better at writing full-length novels. In my first series, and early in my second, I'd only ever written longer novels (between 80,000 and 100,000 words). I had never really considered how difficult trying something new would be, until I gave it a shot.
My current WIP is a novella that branches off from the third novel in the Mason Siblings series (entitled Love and Deceit), and I have to confess that I'm really struggling to keep it "novella length". I thought for certain when I'd begun writing that the story should only be about 20,000 words at most. This WIP currently sits at 27,468, and it's not even close to being completed. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll be able to keep it from being a novel, and that concerns me.
I'm trying to avoid rushing the scenes, because it definitely comes through to the reader, but I suppose that I won't know if I've done that until my editor takes a look at it. For now, I will keep writing, and hope for the best. The story is done when the story is done!
Do any of you experience this problem?
Award winning historical romance author, Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.