Knight’s Desire is a historical romance which reads with a hint of Romeo and Juliet, and a splash of the legends of Arthur (in the form of leading lady Arian Godriffe). The novel has a compelling authoritative tone that ensures that some of the more doubtable language is carried off with authority- readers can rest assured that Elizabeth Taylor George knows her stuff.
For the more literary reader George has drawn inspiration from the likes of Gilbert and Sullivan, the reader who likes happy endings will be satisfied that despite the misgivings of Arian’s appearance and fake name, in love class always finds its own class- in this case the Lady and the Knight find each other and eventually recognise their birthrights as was intended by their ancestors.
The further into the novel, the more it invites you in. The twists and sub-plots are so frequent, but remain unexpected that as you start to think you know what’s going to happens next, it all changes. Similarly as you become engrossed in the story being shared, you cannot help but try and solve the riddle that will restore Arian to her rightful place in life- but it is an impossible riddle.
George sets up many a solution, only to introduce a twist or circumstance which derails it. But, the writing is so fluent that this doesn’t hinder the telling of the story. Instead it works to inject more agonising suspense.
The book is so additive I couldn’t put it down- hence why this review came so quickly after my last one. Make sure you’ve eaten and done all you need to do before picking up, because the real world just falls away, as Cresswell and Arian suck you in. Throughout the novel Elizabeth Taylor George is explicit and detailed, you cannot help wanting to find out how Arian, aka Jane gets out of some sticky situations.
The sexual explicitness is kept in line with the plot, setting and style of writing. But each sensual scene is more explicit than the previous one, and it never failed to shock me. A moment shared by Judson Langley and Arian could well be placed in an erotica novel, due to the sheer level of intimate detail given. Those uncomfortable with sexually explicit content may baulk at these moments, but should not be too deterred; as they are in no way the pinnacle of the novel, and don’t detract from the plot. Others who appreciate these kind of ‘real’ references will appreciate Arian experiencing some warmth and pleasure, away from her so far dismal existence.
The same level of care and precision has been applied to George’s depiction of Cresswell, not only the lush secret places and fertile lands, but the castle, its inhabitants and the people of Cresswell too. Particularly strong are the juxtapositions of the opulent and decadent rooms which Arian accesses when posing as Jane, and the stark and harsh comforts she has been used to for years.
Personally my favourite character is Christian. The wit, cunning and loyalty attributed him, means that he is in himself a hero of the novel, again highlighting the overall attention to detail and fun which George puts into her writing.
Overall this is an intriguing, explicit and at the same time a light read. A very enjoyable novel and I highly recommend others give it a try.
© Gemma Feltham March 23 2013