The Black Knave, by Patricia Potter

>> Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Black Knave (excerpt), by Patricia Potter is a book I've been wanting to reread for a very long time.

The Marquis
After the massacre at Culloden, the new marquis of Braemoor, Rory Forbes, takes a Jacobite bride in a marriage of convenience. And though Rory relishes neither the role of lord nor spouse, he uses both to conceal a dangerous game that no one -especially his infuriating, fascinating new wife- can know about.

The Lady
Highland lass Bethia MacDonnell initally despises her dissolute "husband", Rory. A political pawn, she plays at marriage while plotting to escape Braemoor and free her imprissioned brother. Only one person can help her...

The Legend
Named for the playing card he leaves behind, the Black Knave smuggles Jacobites out of Scotland, eluding the English at every turn. But Bethia is determined to find him. Even as she grows closer to the enigmatic Rory, Bethia keeps her plans secret, never suspecting that her hero is closer than she thinks...
I definitely see what I'd liked the first time I read it. A B+.

Rory, the hero, was what made this book. He was an accidental hero, a man who didn't set out to be the Black Knave and rescue people, but had circumstances force that role upon him. He didn't like having to play the role of the dissipated nobleman, but he felt the obligation. I especially appreciated the fact that he knew how to stop and didn't wait until he was almost caught.

So many other things about him that I loved! I loved that he was a genuinely nice guy; he hated having to humiliate Bethia and tried to be as kind as possible without giving everything away. I loved that having a bitch of a mother didn't turn him into a mysoginist, like so many romance "heros". Bethia was an interesting character, but Rory completely eclipsed her.

I really liked them together. I enjoyed the very gradual way the real Rory started showing and Bethia started to get an inkling that her husband wasn't the boorish fop he looked like. This part was excellently done. I don't know if this was the author's intention, but I got the feeling that Rory, in a sense, wanted Bethia to know the real him. He subconsciously forgot himself at times, because he was already falling for her and even though his mind said he shouldn't, he wanted her to know he was someone she could love.

My only problem with this was that he really should have told her earlier. Much earlier.

I found the Scottish history very interesting, though the "evil plot", why Cumberland was so insistent that Bethia had to have a child, didn't make sense. Apart from that, I enjoyed the setting.

I'll have to read more by Patricia Potter. I think I've read one Western by her, but it didn't make much of an impression, I'm afraid.

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