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Lord of Midnight (Topaz Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, July 1, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jo Beverley explores a woman's limited choices in the medieval world with sensual authenticity in this companion book to her earlier medieval Dark Champion. When Claire Summerbourne's father is killed for supporting a traitorous rebellion, and his estate is awarded to king's champion Renald de Lisle, she powerfully resists the expected next step--that she marry de Lisle in order to provide her family with support and protection. Gradually she realizes that de Lisle isn't the wolfish brute she expects, that his touch can be tender and arousing as well as harsh. But before their union can be consummated, she learns that it was Renald who killed her father in legal combat.


“Beverley shows us once again how engrossing, moving, and entertaining a real historical romance can be.”—The Romance Reader

“A highly romantic story that captures the era with all its nuances, pageantry, and great passion.”—Romantic Times

--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Topaz Historical Romance
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Topaz (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451408012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451408013
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,380,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr W. Richards on March 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For some reason, I am less keen on mediaeval romances than on those set in the Regency or Georgian period. However, with books like this one, and Mary Jo Putney's Uncommon Vows, I might read mediaevel more often!
Renald de Lisle, the new King's Champion, fights in a tourney on the king's behalf, and kills his man. As a reward, he is given the dead man's estate, Summerbourne, but the king asks him to marry one of the unmarried women on the estate. By process of elimination, he chooses Claire Summerbourne, the dead man's daughter, as his wife.
Claire - still in mourning for her father - is deeply distrustful of de Lisle: she is wary of him because he is a warrior by profession, and she resents his acquisition of her father's property. She doesn't want to marry him, but has little choice. However, by the day of their betrothal the two have come to understand each other, and by the following day - their wedding day - they are ready to admit that they love each other.
However - as the editorial review above makes clear - it's at this point that Claire discovers Renald is the man who killed her father, and she realises that she cannot commit to him.
The remainder of the book deals with Renald and Claire coming to terms with the harsh knowledge which lies between them, made all the more difficult by Renald's feeling that he did nothing wrong; he was acting lawfully and in accordance with the king's instructions. How Claire comes to understand and forgive, and to reconcile her love for Renald with her love for her father, is told very well and very convingly by Beverley.
The historical detail is also very interesting, as well as being accurate; I certainly learned a lot from this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jo Beverley was doing quite well with this historical piece until she wrote herself into a corner. Although it was quite a dramatic set-up--the hero tricking the heroine into marriage, when she doesn't know he's the man who killed her father--you can tell that the author had a problem making a convincing argument for why we and the heroine should forgive him and fall in love. Quite frankly, it didn't succeed. She sets up Renald as a liar and a sycophant of a King with dubious character, who has killed the girl's father, a man who was no warrior. He comes across as rather creepy, following her around to make certain nobody tips her off until he's got her safely wedded and bedded. At first, the heroine is resolute in her hatred of this conqueror who invades her house, even before she knows the truth. You can actually feel a heavy hand from the author, first having Claire unaccountably fall in love with him, and then unaccountably forgive him after she learns the terrible truth. It's forced, it's infuriating, and ultimately, I had to stop before finishing the book because it all became an extremely transparent "sell job" where the author was singing the hero's praises in an effort to redeem him in our eyes and justify his role as the heroine's worthy husband. I wasn't convinced.

To make matters worse, heroine Claire was an unappealing airhead who couldn't seem to make up her mind about anything. She hates the conqueror and cuts off her hair to make sure she's ugly, then worries about how she's going to look. She loves adorable baby animals, but doesn't hesitate to eat them when they are served up at her wedding feast. She wants to run away or defy the invader in her household, despite the fact that her family might be evicted into poverty or killed by an enraged Renald.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Renald de Claire is a shadow of the character first introduced in the prequel to LORD OF MIDNIGHT, entitled DARK CHAMPION.
LORD OF MIDNIGHT tells the tale of Renald arriving at Summerbourne with the body of Clarence Summerbourne, traitor to the throne. He has been sent there by the King's order to marry one of the three maidens at Summerbourne and to deliver the body of the man he killed. Claire Summerbourne and her two aunts are the marital choices, however the two aunts flee to the convent leaving Claire to take on the responsibility.
The entire premise to the story is dismal and the fact this man has killed the family's patriarch is disturbing, not to mention that one of them must marry him. Claire Summerbourne, being the obvious choice to become the intended bride does not talk much with Renald, her intended, until midway through the story. Though we are lead to believe she is falling in love, there is very little chemistry between them.
Renald, who was a light and impulsive character when we first meet him in DARK CHAMPION, is a ghost of that man in this story. Not portrayed when we first meet him as a serious warrior, he is every bit that in this story. Understandably he has just killed a man and now must marry his daughter. This could potentially explain his change in attitude though the change is not fully embraced nor the story believable. Bastard FitzRoger, who he played 2nd to in that story, clearly out shadows him and it is hard to understand the change to the enchanting Renald in DARK CHAMPION.
Sparks begin to fly eventually and Jo Beverley is a consistently good storyteller making the read worthwhile but not with the heavy punches of her two earlier medievals.
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