Appearances can be deceiving. To most of the local residents, St. Jude’s Abbey is a sanctuary of faith. While the women who reside within it’s walls do find spiritual peace, the abbey’s true purpose would surprise most people. Established by Eleanor of Aquitaine, the residents of St. Jude’s learn armed combat along with their prayers. These women will be called to serve their queen and country.
Avisa de Vere is both student and teacher at the abbey. Having attained proficiency in several areas of combat, she trains the younger students. The abbey is the only home Avisa has ever known. Her family sent her within it’s walls before her second birthday. She has no idea that other holy orders do not train ladies to use swords, shoot arrows or martial arts from the Far East. When her skills are tested by the Queen’s bodyguard, Avisa learns that Eleanor has need of her services.
Unrest is spreading across England because King Henry and Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, are at odds. Rumors abound that the monarch faces excommunication and that he has ordered the assassination of his former friend. Queen Eleanor hopes to keep her godson away from this turmoil. She commands Avisa to use any means necessary to keep Christian Lovell away from Canterbury. She knows that he will answer the King’s call to arms because he is eager to show his loyalty to Henry.
When Christian comes to the aid of a fair-haired maiden, he has no idea that his plans are about to change. Intrigued by this sword-carrying beauty, he offers to help her rescue her sister. Avisa hates deceiving the honorable knight, but her orders were clear - protect Christian using any means necessary.
Packed with action, A Knight Like No Other is a fine medieval romance, reminiscent of the early works of Julie Garwood. Author Jocelyn Kelley has crafted a well-paced story, easily drawing readers into the book with memorable characters and a fresh plot. I would never have imagined a holy order of warrior women, but in retrospect it makes a lot of sense. Eleanor of Aquitaine would certainly have approved of such an order. I hope this is not the only time we will meet the sisters of St. Jude’s Abbey.