Cindy Miles writes books about 21st century women who meet up with medieval Scottish knights (usually in ghost form). She manages to do it with a charming voice, humor, and fun; manly, alpha heroes, who manage to be sensitive at the same time (and always whisper love words in Gaelic to the heroine - yum); strong quirky female leads; and always an eccentric, loveable secondary cast that sometimes threatens to overtake the book all on their own.
Highland Knight is no exception. I was fortunate enough to win this on Ms. Miles' blog (thank you!). What can I say... it's been a really good month! This is her 3rd book (the first two are Spirited Away and Into Thin Air). This one was a touch different than Spirited Away, in that Ethan was not a ghost per se, but what he referred to as enchanted... he also 'gains substance' during the gloaming, or twilight hours, which in the summer in the north of Scotland is only for about an hour each day. So, while Amelia cannot touch him otherwise, during the time when he is in human form, there is plenty of touching and kissing going on.
What I liked: Again, Miles' characters are refreshing, funny, endearing, and quirky. The Munro clan (Ethan's family, all caught in the enchantment) are all adorably sexy and sweet. These knights joke around with one another, laugh, make fun, do silly stuff, but when push comes to shove - they are family and would do anything for one another and for Amelia.
Amelia has foibles we can all relate to - who hasn't wanted to drown their sorrows in a can of Cheez-Whiz (or something comparable)? An author facing writer's block, she's at once strong, yet vulnerable, kick-ass, funny, and sensitive. Having her trade tae kwan do lessons for sword-fighting lessons with the guys was funny as hell. I wish we could have seen more of the sword lessons, though.
Ethan himself is another Miles hero: alpha through and through, but at the same time, astoundingly sensitive. I loved following the conversations he and Amelia had - learning about one another, about each other's time and life. Miles has a way of writing these heroes so that we see into their souls. Feel their angst and their joy as they fall headlong into love with these modern women. That is tough to do in what is walking the line, masquerading as a paranormal, time-travel, romantic comedy. But done beautifully nonetheless.
What I didn't like: Not much. This didn't grab me quite as strongly as Spirited Away did, but I think it's simply because I knew what to expect this time. Reading Spirited Away was like discovering a buried treasure - totally unexpected and just that "Wow!" feeling. Highland Knight was like opening the 2nd trunk of that treasure. I already knew there would be some sort of wonderful something inside. I just needed to read it to find out what that something was this time.
I'm really enjoying these books by Cindy Miles. They are so refreshingly different. Fun, funny, and warm. Somehow believable, even as they are so crazily unbelievable. You can buy Highland Knight here or here. Her next book, MacGowan's Ghost is available February 2009. You can preorder it at Amazon.