cover image My Valiant Knight

My Valiant Knight

Hannah Howell. Zebra, $5.5 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-5186-2

Ainslee MacNairn is captured and held for ransom, survives a murder attempt, an abduction and a seduction and commits her first two homicides-all less than halfway through this early-13th-century romance set in the Scottish Highlands by the author of Only for You. Not that things are all bad: her captor is the handsome Norman Gabel de Amalville, who's just too good to be true or, at the very least, far better than her sadistic father. Which still doesn't excuse the paltry couple of pages it takes for abductor and abductee to discover a cozy relationship. Howell's strong suit is her grasp of historical detail (though rarely any historical personage or event). Her weakness is in pacing her narrative and in occasionally clunky dialogue ``Howbeit, she has adamantly claimed that she understands that her father has brought this fate upon himself.'' (Jan.)