Agnes Moor knows her place in the court of King James IV—as one of the “exotics” in his employ. When the king makes a kiss from Agnes the prize of a tourney, a mysterious knight plows through his opponents to claim it. But it isn’t chance. The Wild Knight has come for her, and her champion is after after the most elusive prize of all: her heart.
A lot of emotions in a tiny package
WOW there was a lot packed into such a short story! And it all worked to be completely convincing and I really bought into the HEA, even after only 30-something pages. That's impressive, but I've loved everything I've read by Alyssa Cole before, so not surprising.
A useful calibration of my taste in story-to-sex ratios
When I was reading Bernadette Andrea’s The Lives of Girls and Women from the Islamic World in Early Modern British Literature and Culture, I spotted a reference to Elen More, a black woman in the early 16th century Scottish court, and instantly realized, OMG, that’s the inspiration for that story I saw among Alyssa Cole’s publications! And then the chance of spotting the ebook on sale led me to pick it up, because I loved Cole’s story in the collection Hamilton’s Battalion.
So...this is not at all a criticism of Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight itself, but it was a useful calibration of what my tolerance is regarding the ratio of story to sex in historical fiction. This is a relatively short novella. The writing is technically excellent and the history is solidly portrayed. The depiction of the experience of a black woman in 16th century Britain felt solid and nuanced. But structurally, the story felt like it had just barely enough scene setting to justify setting up the sex scenes. And since I wasn’t there for the sex scenes, I didn’t get my story fix. It isn’t at all a criticism of the story because clearly there are a lot of readers who are looking for exactly this sort of balance. But it’s not for me and I’ve adjusted my buy-reflexes accordingly.