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Review: The Knight Of Castle Kildare – Erin Moira O’Hara

on July 18, 2014

Knight of Castle KildareThe Knight Of Castle Kildare
Erin Moira O’Hara
Destiny Romance
2014, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Kate Manning has always been fascinated with a painting that hangs in the Castle of Kildare. The painting is of Sir Caleb, a man who lived some five hundred years ago and was knighted by Elizabeth the First. When the opportunity arises for Kate to purchase the castle, she doesn’t hesitate to do so. She’s now even more obsessed with the portrait of the mysterious man but even she can’t believe it when he steps out of the painting.

Over five hundred years ago, Caleb was cursed by a gypsy he refused shelter to on the property and he’s been trapped in the portrait of himself ever since. For Caleb to free himself permanently, it seems he must do a few things including claiming the heart of a Romany woman and surrendering his most precious possession to his mortal enemy. Caleb can’t let this attraction to Kate distract him from his goal of freeing himself properly.

Kate wants nothing more than to free Caleb permanently and she thinks she is just the right woman to do it. If only she can get Caleb to listen to her and stop thinking like it’s still 1550, she might have a chance. But the two of them are still in danger from people who want the castle’s hidden treasure and who would love nothing more than to see Caleb re-imprisoned, this time forever.

Hmmm.

I think this was a very good idea – bringing a man who lived in a totally different era into the present and exploring the sort of challenges that character might face, as well as the sort of issues a potential relationship would involve. Wrap it all up in a Romany mystery and it has the makings of a really interesting story. However I think the execution, for me, let it down quite a bit. And most of that centers around Caleb but there’s a bit that surrounds Kate as well.

Firstly – the idea of a man from 1550 suddenly finding himself in the present poses a lot of immediate issues, the first being that obviously the world is very different. Women are very different. They have jobs now, they can own property, they don’t need a man. At times, Caleb’s “I’m going to have you whenever I want” attitude was really annoying. There were a couple of scenes where Kate specifically told him no and he pretty much just ignored that and did whatever he wanted anyway. She eventually said yes of course but I wasn’t particularly into him just overriding her all the time. But then that brings me to really, what was the biggest problem with Kate: she was an epic doormat.

Basically, Kate is in love with a painting. She’s been fascinated by it since she was a child, she’s seen it several times, taken to the castle by her grandmother. Then she buys the castle, apparently all inclusive and she is even more obsessed with Caleb’s portrait. That leads to her confessing her love for him about three minutes after he falls out of it, despite the fact that she doesn’t actually know anything about him and the times they do end up talking she gets annoyed and frustrated with him because he doesn’t seem to respect her wishes or do as she asks – he just does whatever he wants. And she seems to just end up being okay with it because she loves him so much. What exactly does she love? He was a picture. And now that he’s mostly a real person he’s arrogant and high handed and on occasion, a bit cruel. Even when she tells him she doesn’t want to have sex because she wants the person she has sex with to love her, he just carries on anyway. There are a few scenes, like the one where he walks in on her in the shower really early on, like hey, you’ve just met! It’s pretty rude to walk unannounced into someone’s private room, no matter what century it is. Especially when they’re going to be without clothes. She seemed uncomfortable and embarrassed that he was there (at first, because he can pretty much make her think whatever he wants her to think after a few minutes) and he doesn’t leave, he just continues to be there. And who wouldn’t be uncomfortable? This guy fell out of a painting from five hundred years ago and is now walking in on her when she’s in the shower.

I think for me, this book highlighted some of the reasons why having a Knight from 500 years ago wouldn’t be anywhere near as romantic as it sounds. It was a different time and Caleb still thinks he’s some sort of Lord of the Manor and it made me wonder how they would actually function as a long-term couple. Kate owns the house and makes the money. What sort of job does someone who was stuck in a portrait for 500 years do? The landed gentry doesn’t really exist anymore. Not to mention he didn’t really seem the type who would adjust to society’s new parameters easily. And I need more to buy two characters falling in love. I can’t just rely on a curse to believe it. The curse can be the reason he’s trapped in the painting and the reason they meet, but I need them to interact properly and converse in a way that makes ‘love’ believable.

5/10

Book #145 of 2014

AWWW2014

This is the 55th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

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2 responses to “Review: The Knight Of Castle Kildare – Erin Moira O’Hara

  1. Not to mention the fact that the English he speaks would be so different from hers as to sound like a foreign language. It’s hard to suspend disbelief sometimes. What was it about Outlander that made that plausible but not in other stories? (Seriously, if we were being realistic, there’s no way Claire – a relatively modern-day American – would have understood anything the Scots were saying from so long ago! Even Trainspotting has subtitles!)

    The way you’ve described it here, it sounds really really creepy!! It’s like a cool premise or sketch of an idea that fizzles out when you try to flesh it out. Bummer.

    • That’s actually a really good point – 1550’s was Shakespeare’s era right? He was born around then wasn’t he? The language IS totally different and trying to read a play of his without stopping to read the footnotes and decipher the language would be very difficult at first go. But when he falls out of the painting he basically speaks in 2014 vernacular. There’s not a thee, thou, etc at all. So yeah, quite unrealistic.

      Haha I know Outlander made it plausible for a few people, but I couldn’t really buy that one either!

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