A Knight On Horseback by Ellen L. Ekstrom

A Knight On Horseback by Ellen L. Ekstrom
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (306 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Jasmine

Violet Ellison is a woman who seemingly has it all: three adorable kids, a handsome – but distant – husband and a home in a good neighborhood. But her life is falling apart: she’s burning the candle at both ends to look after her family, finish a history degree and working a full-time job to keep the bill collectors at bay. The morning she finds a chess piece on the sidewalk, a knight on horseback, things start to change. While not one for fairy tales, Violet’s life takes a Cinderella turn and in finding the perfect dress for a society event, she runs into the perfect man: a rock star she’s had a crush on since her teens. A family friend who reminds her of everything she’s been trying to forget suddenly returns, and Violet has some difficult decisions before her. When it all comes crashing down, she realizes that she really didn’t need a knight in shining armor – just some time and space to figure things out, and maybe some sleep.

I think every little girl, at some point, dreams of her knight in shining armor, or knight on horseback, to come galloping into her life and sweep her away. Not literally, obviously, and not even necessarily in the sense that the little girl needs rescued. Just in the sense that every little girl, or woman, dreams of meeting another soul that recognizes hers. Unfortunately, sometimes the circumstances are not always ideal when it happens.

Violet is a busy lady. Not only does she work a full time job, but she also goes to school, takes care of her children and tries to find time each night to write. Her passion is history, so throughout the book, we get snippets of the historical romance that she is working on, and through that, we get to see what it is that Violet yearns for. She is ambitious but she is also kind and caring and always makes time for her children.

Sam, Violet’s husband, was a jerk. He didn’t really have any redeeming qualities to make him even slightly likable other than the fact that he could be charming when he wanted to be. I just wanted to yank him off the page and smack him a good one.

I enjoyed most of the secondary characters. Ned, Violet’s boss and long time friend, was great as were the ladies that she works with. I loved the in-laws, they were amazing. The kids were also great. The little ones were funny and the oldest was insightful and compassionate and reminded me a lot of my niece. I just kept waiting for there to be one man in Violet’s life that wasn’t secretly in love with her. I get that the idea (I think) was to portray that she is an extremely attractive woman that doesn’t know how lovely she is but, wow, it’s a good thing she didn’t know more men than she did. The only exception seemed to be men who were already married – they were apparently immune to her many charms.

With this being a re-release, I think it would have been a smoother read if the author had gone back and changed dates and things to make it more current. I kept finding myself doing the math in my head and realizing that the main characters of this story would be in their sixties. With the author occasionally mentioning actual ages as in their forties or turning fifty, etc. and you do the math and realize that it would sixties or seventies instead, it worked to take me out of the story rather than draw me in. Also, one of the first things you see Violet do is enter DOS commands into her computer, which just made me laugh. If the target audience is anyone below forty, they probably wouldn’t even understand the reference.

I understood that most of this book is about Violet finding her true self again, realizing who she is as an individual away from her husband and family, and growing into that person, but I felt like on some level it glorified divorce and adultery. Or perhaps not “glorified” it, but made it acceptable and okay. I felt like it would have been better if the sequence of events had been a little different. It also made me lose a lot of respect for Violet to realize that she knew everything her husband had been doing for years and still stayed and put up with it, not only allowing herself to continue to be treated that way but risking her children realizing it and thinking it was okay.

The author is very skilled at description. I could picture each scene vividly in my head, regardless of where the characters were, from restaurants, hotel rooms or just walks along the sidewalk. It was all very well written, and not in the least bit overwhelming as some pages of description can be. I also really liked the cover. I’m not sure what it was about it, but it is one that would draw my attention if I was browsing bookshelves. It’s very relevant to the book and bright and colorful.

This book did an excellent job in holding my attention from start to finish. It kept me up later than I really should have been up just so that I could see what happened next. It was entertaining and there was a lot of realism to the plot. It was fun to watch someone’s fantasy and dreams become real life.

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