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5 Stars / Harlequin / Mills & Boon / Historical / Review

Review: A Defiant Maiden’s Knight by Melissa Oliver

A knight’s protection…

That she doesn’t want…or need?

Joan Lovent may be losing her sight but she refuses to lose her independence too. So, when Sir Warin of Talmont tells her it’s too perilous to be out alone in the city, she doesn’t pay him any heed. But with threats surrounding them, she begins to value his protection, and helps with his dangerous work in return. If only the powerful connection between them wasn’t so impossible to ignore!

Title:A Defiant Maiden’s Knight
Author:Melissa Oliver
Series:Protectors of the Crown (Book 1)
Pages:192
Category / Genre(s):Harlequin / Mills & Boon
Historical Romance
Trope(s):Enemies to Lovers
Friends to Lovers
Point of View:Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H&h)
Location:London, England
Setting:1226, Medieval
HEA:✔️
Release Date:23rd June, 2022
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Medieval romance and intrigue

I’m always partial to a Mills & Boon Medieval historical and this tale has the added bonus of a bit of intrigue and espionage to go alongside the romance. While this book starts a new series, our heroine, Joan, is the sister of the hero from a previous Melissa Oliver book, The Knight’s Convenient Alliance. Tom and his wife, Brida, also feature in this story but each book stands alone and has its own HEA.

Our heroine, Joan, has had some trials and tribulations in her life including some abuse, the loss of loved ones and the continued loss of her sight. Despite all this, she’s an independent and upbeat character that I both admired and liked. Naturally, she had her low moments but they were understandable and gave Joan another level of believability. She was an all-round root-worthy heroine.

Warin de Talmont is a spy for the crown so he’s infuriated when he’s put on babysitting duty for the maddening Joan. His ire only grows as she continually disobeys him and gets under his skin. He’s very much a grumpy to Joan’s sunshine and it was funny to watch his feelings bloom for her. He’s got a good reason to be standoffish and while his loss is not something I normally like in a story, it was handled well and only once did the emotion overwhelm me. But since I’m a sucker for a big, strong man who is brought down by someone he least expects, I was all-in with Warin from the first.

As with other Melissa Oliver books I’ve read, she really manages to paint a picture of the medieval setting of her stories – in this case, London. I can still quite clearly picture the various scenes, smells and atmosphere throughout the novel, a testament to the quality of the writing and world building.

“As with other Melissa Oliver books I’ve read, she really manages to paint a picture of the medieval setting of her stories…”

I do have to mention a strange quirk whereby Joan was constantly referred to as Joan Lovent – in the editorial text rather than the dialogue. There might be a reason for this that I’m unaware of, but it stood out to me.

Warin and Joan have a great connection and I loved the transition from irritated acquaintances to friends and finally to something more. They fit perfectly together and Warin helps Joan become the best version of herself as much as Joan helps him. We get quite a few kisses between our pair and a sex scene once the couple are married. It’s not a closed door scene but it’s delicately done.

It’s fun to go on the journey with Warin and Joan as they try to find the answers to the mystery of who is trying to frame the spymaster. It really adds something to the story without ever detracting from the romance that we’re all here for.

This is the first book in Melissa Oliver’s new Protectors of the Crown series. Because of that, we don’t get the conclusion to the wider mystery of the Duo Dracones – although I felt that we got closure for the element that pertained to Warin and Joan. As always, I would have loved an epilogue but I’ll content myself that we’ll hopefully see our couple again in the next in the series, A Stolen Knight’s Kiss. Definitely a 5 star read for me.

* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *

Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her lovely husband and daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, grand palaces and all things historical.
Melissa is the WINNER of The Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.
When she’s not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.

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Protectors of the Crown Series:

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A Stolen Knight’s Kiss October 2022

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