Published by Avon on July 12th 2011
Genres: Historical Romance
Reina seethes with rage over her fate: taken captive by the knight Ranulf -- a golden giant of a man -- who has pledged to deliver her to the nuptial bed of the despised Lord Rothwell. She will never accept such bondage -- and Reina offers herself to her kidnapped instead, offering to make Ranulf a great lord...if he agrees to wed her.
But the brave knight desires much more than a marriage of convenience from this proud, headstrong lady who treats him with scorn yet makes his blood run hotter than liquid fire. She must come to him of her own free will -- or Ranulf will take her. For the passion that consumes them both cannot long be denied -- even though gravest peril surely awaits them on the heart's trail to a destines and turbulent love.
Defy Not The Heart (Shefford’s Knights #1)
The gruff and stubborn hero meets his match in his little general.
I’m a huge sucker for a historical romance and medieval is one of my favourite types. So, I put out the call to my Facebook buddies on what was their favourite medieval HR and authors. Wow, seems like I’m not alone in liking these types of books. Johanna Lindsey’s name came up more than once and Defy Not The Heart seemed to be agreed upon, as a good example of her work. Within the first pages, I knew I was hooked. Yes, the language was a little hard to understand at times, but that just makes you pay more attention to the words you’re reading.
A strong and determined heroine who does not hesitate to speak her mind and a hero with a surly attitude, good looks and a dislike of “Lady’s” which by the end of the story you know is well founded. This is a bodice ripper that readers over the years have either loved or loathed. While the disrespect and disregard are abhorrent to our generation, it was a sign of their times. In some respects, those parts to the stories are the parts I love the most. The women know their place and the repercussions they face if they don’t abide by their husband’s rules. In Defy Not The Heart my enjoyment stemmed from the heroine’s disregard for the rules and the heroes ability to handle his temper when his blasted “Lady” kept defying him. I loved seeing this couple mesh their lives.
Reina is under attack and her circumstances are looking grim. She knew that being unwed and living on an estate with such huge value would make her susceptible to unscrupulous Lords wanting her lands. She just didn’t realise they would attempt the deception so mercilessly. In dire straits, Reina is surprised to hear that there is someone who is attacking the attackers. She is saved…or so she thinks. Imagine her surprise when the giant of a man who saves her ends up kidnapping her to deliver her to another unscrupulous Lord, for a pittance. Reina working with her kidnappers best friend, manipulates the situation to come out in her favour.
Ranulf is a bastard, literally and figuratively. He’s not led a pleasant life, but he has managed to save a decent amount of money to buy his own property. The way he made his money was by selling his services as a mercenary. In this particular job, instead of taking his payment upfront, he decides to do the job first and get paid on completion. Ranulf’s main reason for doing this is because he does not like his employer and does not want to commit to something he may want to back out of before completion. It was a good decision in the end.
Reina and Ranulf’s first meeting was not ideal and they don’t particularly like each other. With a little coaxing…a touch of kidnapping…and a lot of manhandling, we finally see Reina and Ranulf married. It is not an easy kind of marriage as they have to learn to handle each other while also dealing with outside forces trying to get their hands onClydon, Reina’s holdings, and now Ranulf’s. There are also parts of both of their histories that pop up and need to be dealt with.
In regards to claims of rape and beatings…hogwash. Geez, every historical romance, unless it’s clean, would seem like rape (slight exaggeration…maybe). Most first beddings are meant to be portrayed as the virginal heroine feeling like she’s being ripped apart. The beatings…well let’s just say I was expecting more than the friendly tap and fondle we got. Maybe it was his threat of using a whip that had everyone in an uproar.
Basically, Defy Not The Heart had enough history, intrigue and drama to keep my attention from beginning to end. I was sucked in and devoured every word. I will definitely be looking to read more from this author.