Gloucestershire, England 1486
Recently orphaned Lady Elizabeth Hutton will never succumb to the machinations of her greedy neighbor, Lord Thomas Bannaster, who covets her lands of Castle Alderley. Devising a scheme with her faithful maidservant and good friend, Anne Kendall, they switch places in order to buy time for help to arrive. Elizabeth believes in her heart that her betrothal to Sir John Russell, Baron of Rame, will be honored by the King if only John can be found!
Learning of his two elder brothers’ deaths, leaving him the barony of Rame, mercenary Sir John Russell can claim the lovely Lady Elizabeth Hutton as wife according to the terms of the betrothal made between their parents. Always considered to be a disappointment to his family, John has spent the last few years away honing his skills as a knight, living the adventure he craved. Coming to Elizabeth’s rescue upon hearing of her plight at the hands of Bannaster, John and his good friend Sir Phillip Clifford disguise themselves as wounded travelers to gain entrance to the seized Castle Alderley. Coming under the care of the beguiling servant, “Anne”, Sir John is thrown for a loop at his uncontrollable passion for the girl. Led to think his intended, “Lady Elizabeth,” is locked away in the tower and Elizabeth under the guise of Anne believing the handsome Sir John just an injured bailiff, both are torn between duty and their growing obsession for each other!
Like a breath of fresh air on a familiar theme is how new author Julia Latham pens The Thrill of the Knight. Good strong characters and a believable story provide a satisfying romance read. Lady Elizabeth displays courage in facing down an enemy that threatens her home and people, and Sir John is valiant in his efforts to keep her safe without outside assistance. The side plot of the League of the Sword could have been played up more, perhaps in a future book? I look forward to more from this shining new talent!