In part two of her All the King’s Men series, Margaret Mallory introduces Lady Isobel Hume,
a young widow forced into a dreadful marriage by her father when she was just a child. Now
without a husband, without her land, and without much hope for her future, she must marry a
secretive French nobleman selected by King Henry in an attempt to form a political alliance.
Once again, Isobel feels the helplessness of having someone else plan her future, and sees her
dream of a happy marriage disappear.
To make matters even worse, Isobel can’t quit thinking about Sir Stephen Carleton, a
seemingly worthless womanizer whose keen intellect and advanced combat skills lead her to
believe he may be more than he appears. Even so, she realizes that a woman in her position,
whose parents essentially abandoned her to a cruel fate, must marry whomever the King chooses
for her. Likewise, Stephen knows that Isobel represents one of the few women off limits for him.
Yet he can’t help himself from watching her, touching her, and longing for more than is possible.
Luckily for Isobel and Stephen, their romantic feelings have not gone unnoticed. Stephen’s
friend Robert and older brother William (first introduced in
Knight of Desire) work
behind the scenes to persuade the King to let them marry. Unluckily, however, the French nobleman
has also noted the chemistry between his betrothed and Stephen, and plans to do whatever he deems
necessary to keep them apart from each other.
As in Knight of Desire, this romance combines political intrigue from the Welsh
rebellion of six hundred years ago with passionate characters battling between their loyalty to
the king and their personal needs for happiness. This novel, however, delves more into the romance
than the history, which many readers may find an improvement over the former novel. Isobel, in
particular, almost jumps from the page as a fully developed character whose strengths and weaknesses
make her seem extraordinarily real. Readers will rally behind her decision to risk her reputation,
her future, and possibly even her life to fully experience her "knight of pleasure."