Title: Templar Knight, Forbidden Bride
Author: Lynna Banning
Copyright: 2008 (Harlequin); 271 pgs.
Series: Harlequin Historical #914
Genre: Historical Romance — Medieval
The Lady: Leonor de Balenguer y Hassam of Granada. The 27 year-old daughter of the vizier has dreams of becoming a female troubadour, traveling France, singing, and playing her harp. Though well-educated, Leonor knows nothing of the world outside the emir’s court and her father’s house. She has managed to remain unmarried this long because she refuses to marry a man she cannot love.
The Knight: Reynaud. The Templar knight is all too familiar with the realities of the world. A bastard, he was raised by Hassam’s brother in Granada, making him the best candidate to carry a secret message from the Templar Grand Master to the emir’s adviser. Hassam will deliver his message to the emir, if Reynaud promises to escort Leonor to family in Moyanne.
Their history: Leonor hasn’t seen Reynaud in twenty years, since he left to seek his way in the world. She is surprised to see him, having feared that he had died in the Holy Land. Leonor has adored Reynaud since they were children, but the man she sees now is almost a stranger to her: stern and joyless. For his part, Reynaud remembers the clever, impossible girl — but it’s the woman that will haunt him the rest of his life.
Unrequited: Reynaud is a Templar, a warrior monk. He’s made a vow of celibacy. The knighthood is the only thing he knows, and being a bastard means he has nothing to offer Leonor anyway. And if that wasn’t enough, he is still on a dangerous mission for his Grand Master, and he may die. As for Leonor, she is confused at first by his standoffish and stern behavior. She thinks that he does not like her very much, but it doesn’t take long for her to learn the truth of his feelings. Though it breaks her heart, she acknowledges the fact she loves a man who can never return that love.
What I liked about it: I liked that, though Reynaud falls in love at first sight, it takes Leonor a little longer to realize her true feelings. And once they are known, both exercise restraint. Both accept the fact that they can never be together unless Reynaud is willing to break his vows or leave the Order forever. Though Leonor is naive in some ways, she’s not stupid and doesn’t blunder foolishly about. Reynaud does walk away from the Templars only after he is ordered to do something that he cannot do in good conscience — and getting to marry Leonor is just an added bonus. The author has notes, both in the beginning and at the end of the book, about the warrior monks and troubadours that were interesting.
What I didn’t like: Medievals aren’t my preferred era, but nothing stood out as a turn-off.
Recommended to: Fans of medieval romances, looking for a short read.
Started: 27 January 2010
Finished: 24 February 2010
(I was house hunting in February — some days, only could squeeze in half a page.)