When the Marquis of Amberley's coach is waylaid by highwaymen and his coachman shot, he is forced to take shelter at the first house he finds and is subsequently trapped there for a week by a severe snowstorm.
Oakleigh Manor is the home of Rosalind Vernon who lives alone but for her devoted servants and an ill-natured parrot, cut off from the outside world by the tragic result of a childhood accident. But Rosalind is brave and bright and totally devoid of self-pity - and it is these qualities which, as the days pass and the snow continues to fall, touch Amberley's heart.
On his return to London, the Marquis persuades Rosalind's brother, Philip, to bring her to town for a taste of society, despite her handicap. But the course of Amberley's courtship is far from smooth. Philip Vernon actively dislikes him; Rosalind appears to be falling under the spell of the suavely elegant Duke of Rockliffe; and worse still, Amberley is haunted by a dark and terrible secret that, if revealed, may cause him to lose Rosalind forever.
©2016 Stella Riley (P)2016 Stella Riley
My friends raved about the Parfit Knight, and I was not moved to read it. For a few bad reasons. I judged the book by its cover and as an American parfit sounds like a dessert. But I looked parfit up at last, and it means perfect. Finally it was Alex Wyndham performance that drew me to it. If you haven’t heard Alex reading a book I suggest you do so now without fail. He is perfection.
Anyway back to the book. It is a sweet book with very likable characters, it is a “clean” story all romance no sex, but it really didn’t matter to me. It is sweetly written. All of her books are being reissued and I understand that Alex will also be lending his vocal talent to Ms. Riley's reissued books. Can't wait for her English Civil War/ Restoration books to come out in audio..
Popular reviewer of more than 400 historical romance titles on Goodreads. Georgian/Regency/Victorian/Edwardian.
This is my first Stella Riley book, but it most assuredly will not be the last. Despite recommendations from several friends, I had put off trying this author’s work, but when she engaged British actor Alex Wyndham to narrate the audio version, I jumped at the chance to listen.
Because I am a word nerd, my first task was to look up the meaning of “parfit,” which turns out to be from Chaucer and is an English variation for the French word for “perfect.” In this book, Dominic, the Marquis of Amberley is handsome, charming, intelligent, and kind – a perfect knight to swoop in and rescue lonesome Rosalind Vernon. Dominic is a bit of a rake, but not nearly so much as society may believe. He doesn’t really care about the ton’s opinion and makes no effort to correct some of the more outrageous tales about his exploits.
Rosalind is twenty-two, unmarried, and blind. Ever since the accident that caused her blindness twelve years earlier, she has lived virtually alone at Oakleigh Manor, surrounded by familiar things, a devoted staff, and a raucous parrot with the vocabulary of a sailor. Her parents are dead, and her elder brother, a recently sold-out army officer, is not on the scene. Rosalind is content, however, with being loved and protected from the outside world. She has not one iota of self-pity, but in reality she is living the unfulfilling life of the proverbial bird in a gilded cage.
Dominic appears at the doors of Oakleigh Manor during a blizzard after highwaymen have severely wounded his coachman during an attempted robbery. Upon meeting the lady of the house, Dominic is gobsmacked by her beauty and astonished to learn that she is blind. Although he knows that it is improper for him to be staying in the home of an unchaperoned single lady, he rationalizes that the weather and his coachman’s injuries compel him to be on the premises. He is also just a bit intrigued by Rosalind and somewhat appalled at what he considers her brother’s unfeeling neglect.
During the days that follow, Dominic enjoys prompting Rosalind to step outside her comfort zone. They spend hours talking, go on little expeditions, and have a snowball fight. Dominic treats her with respect, like a fully grown woman and not a helpless child. Eventually, he confesses to her that he does feel pity for her, not because of her blindness but because of her solitary, reclusive life at Oakleigh.
Rosalind slowly blossoms in Amberley’s company and is intrigued by his suggestion that she should insist upon being brought to London for a season. The most beautiful scene in the book is when he is teaching her to dance and suddenly realizes that he has fallen in love with her. It’s always fun to read a story where the more traditional roles are reversed – he is a world-weary rake plunged into romantic love for the first time in his life. For her part, Rosalind is smitten by Amberley, but she has no expectations and thus no thoughts of true love.
Storm clouds appear on the horizon, however, as Amberley suddenly departs Oakleigh Manor for London, where he encounters Rosalind’s brother, Lord Phillip, who knows Amberley’s reputation and considers him totally unsuitable for his sister. Rosalind arrives in London as well, and things begin to get complicated, but I won’t spoil it by revealing more. There is a Big Secret (which at one point becomes fairly easy to figure out), the results of which are perhaps too easily forgiven. Rosalind and Amberley, however, are both such good, kind, honorable people that it is not too difficult to believe that they are able to overcome the obstacles to their HEA.
One of the joys of this story, besides the lovely romance, is the introduction of compelling secondary characters. Amberley’s best friend and potential suitor for Rosalind, the Duke of Rockcliffe, is so intriguing that we want to see more of him – a desire that Ms. Riley fulfills in the next book, The Mésalliance. Lord Phillip is by turns kind and infuriating, as he doggedly refuses to see any good in Amberley. His fiancée Isabel is a strong, independent, sympathetic woman, but her brother is her polar opposite – selfish and deceptive – and the closest thing to a villain in the story. Each of these characters is so well-drawn that their appearance midway through the story does not in the least detract from the main plot. And finally, there is comic relief from the ill-tempered parrot, Broody, a shameless scene-stealer who indirectly inspires a duel.
Narrator Alex Wyndham gives his typical first-class performance. As I have discovered in other books, he has the ability to subtly change his voice to suit a variety of characters – from the French dowager Duchess of Amberley to her sexy son to, yes, Broody. I have just about run out of superlatives to describe the excellence of his work narrating historical romances, so I will say simply that when you have listened to one of his narrations you will want to hear them all.
I am so glad to have finally discovered Stella Riley and look forward to the next two books in this series coming out in audio. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that her widely-respected English Civil War series will be forthcoming. As for The Parfit Knight, it is just a parfit historical romance.
Loves the romance! Her books are romantic and so much about character development. Rhis narrator does a lovely job with female voices, which I think is rare in a male narrator! Couldn't quit listening.
What can I say about this narration except SUPERB. I am half in love with the fictional heroes Alex portrays because of his narrations. He has a true gift.
The story was also superbly written and the dialogue was fabulous. The book reminded me of reading my other beloved writer Lucinda Brant's called the "Roxton Family Saga" series. Mother was also French in that book and if I did not know better I'd believe this is one and the same writer. I still enjoyed this book thoroughly even though it almost seemed like it was an extension of that series. LOVED this book. Wish it was longer.
4.5 "A True Gentleman" Stars for the story and 5 Stars for Alex Wyndham's narration!
What a delightful treasure! The intricate plot, complex characters, threads of humor, touching romance and one of the best ever narrations make The Parfit Knight a true gem!
There are so many things that make this this book a special listen. But if I'd have to pick just one, I'd say what I loved the most was how the hero was able to look through the heroine's handicap (she is blind), to see the fully capable, desirable woman that lay underneath the over protected layers that her family (meaning well but burying her in the process) had unintentionally trapped the heroine in. Moreover, this hero, with his multiple, selfless actions with respect to a number of the characters (not just the heroine) definitely deserves the title of "The Parfit Knight." For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this term, a similar phrase was used by Chaucer in the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, where he described the knight as a "veray parfit gentil knight" which translates to a "very perfect gentle knight." No better words could ever describe the hero of this touching romance by Stella Riley.
A Parfit Knight takes place in 1774 in England. Rosalind Vernon was blinded in a childhood accident. She lives in Oakleigh Manor, pretty much by herself except for her servants, a rather foul-mouthed parrot, and the occasional visit of from her brother, Philip. Though Philip frequents London often, and Rosalind would be entitled to a large dowry virtually ensuring she would have many offers of marriage, Philip has never considered introducing Rosalind to society. Instead reasoning that, due to her blindness, Rosalind is better off in the country in a familiar "safe" environment. Of course Rosalind doesn't really seem to mind, until a chance meeting challenges her view of the future.
When The Marquis of Amberley's coach is ambushed by highwaymen on the countryside, he is left with no choice but to seek the help of the closest home to get aid for his coachman who has been shot. That is how he meets Rosalind and becomes her guest while his coachman recovers and they weather a heavy snowstorm. Over the days of their forced cohabitation, Amberley and Rosalind bond. Amberley seems to be the only man who has ever seen through Rosalind's apparent limitations to see the unlimited potential that lies underneath and challenges her to begin to experience life to her full potential. In his opinion, there is nothing that she can't do, and after a short time passes, it becomes clear to Amberley what he must do: convince Philip to allow Rosalind to be introduced to society.
However, much to Amberley's chagrin, Philip already has a less than favorable impression of him due to a previous unrelated encounter, and is less than happy to learn of Amberley's and Rosalind's acquaintance. Soon it becomes clear that there are a number of obstacles in the way of securing Rosalind's HEA, not the least of which is Philip's disdain for Amberley. As secrets begin to surface and other suitors start to show interest, the future hangs in the balance. Could it possibly include a HEA for Amberley and Rosalind?
I recently discovered the magic of Alex Wyndham's narrations in another historical romance, and he absolutely blew me away! Mr. Wyndham has a naturally appealing voice that is likely to keep you enthralled no matter what the subject matter. Since then he has been on my must-listens to narrators list, so I was thrilled to hear that he was narrating this tale. And as expected Mr. Wyndam delivered another fantastic performance in The Parfit Knight.
Mr. Wyndham is a master at creating distinguishable, personality specific voices for each one of the numerous characters which really brought the multitude of characters from The Parfit Knight to life for me. From the noble and yet compassionate voice of Amberley to the melodic and strong voice of Rosalind, I was equally pleased with both his male and female characterizations.
Additionally, Mr. Wyndham's close attention to the mood of the scene helps to frame each and every scene. Listening to Mr. Wyndham's rendition was simply magical, and I can't wait to listen to more of his works!
If you are a historical romance enthusiast, then I highly recommend The Parfit Knight. And now that my curiosity has been piqued, I can't wait to explore and enjoy more of Ms. Riley's delightful works!
Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a new author for me. Quite honestly I purchased for two reasons. The first reason was that I was assured this was a Georgette Heyer type story and a "clean" romance according to the reviews. The second reason was it is narrated by Alex Wyndham! His narration made the story come to life. Not many can come up with so many varying and totally believable voices. I could listen to his voice all day. Each character had their own personality. I will be purchasing the next release as soon as available! More please by this author and Alex Wyndham. A dynamic duo that compliment each other.
This is a great story about two people whose past catches up with them and threatens to foil what could be a great love. It has an unexpected twist that makes the story more interesting than the usual love story. The characters are believable and can be loved and disliked as the author intended. If you’re interested in a story that is easy to listen to and makes you feel good, I recommend this book. The narrator, Alex Wyndham, does a great job at brining the characters to life and makes the story easy to follow.
Sorry, didn't read the print version, however, I have found that listening to book has made me a lazy reader. Not sure how I feel about that.
Yes. It was really quite diversionary tale.
No great philosophical, thought provoking story, but the characters were charming and the story diverting. A blind heiress is not typically a historical novel subject. Well done. Query: why are historical fiction novel heros so emotional? Anger is a rabid disease among them.
love audio books - Anglophile
Yes - good story, involving characters, and I loved Brody the cussing parrot. I am recommending this one to my sister.
I liked the intelligent writing, the entertaining dialogue, and most of all, Brody, the parrot.
The duel and any scene with Brody.
I think the duel, which was the culmination of a lot of misunderstandings.
This is book 1 in the Rockliffe series by Stella Riley. The story has well-written dialogue and an involving story with no gratuitous sex scenes. It was refreshing to have a disabled heroine who held her own. I'm looking forward to reading/listening to the next book - The Mesalliance, Book 2 in the series. The books are available on amazon.com, and I hope the rest are released soon on audible.
"Historical Romance at it's very best"
I am so glad that Stella Riley has ventured into the world of audio. The Parfit Knight, the first of her superb books to be brought to audio, is an absolutely exquisitely written romance, a touching and beautiful character driven tale and I loved it from start to finish. Alex Wyndham, as usual is just outstanding and the perfect choice to bring it to life. I now eagerly await The Mésalliance, the next in the series.
Rosalind Vernon is twenty-two years old and should be doing what other young ladies of her age are doing, going to balls and parties and finding a husband. But around a decade or so earlier, she was blinded in an accident, and her well-meaning brother believes it best that she is shut away from the world. But a gilded cage is a cage nonetheless, and the sudden appearance of a man in need of help in the midst of a snowstorm is about to upset Rosalind's ordered existence.
On the face of it, The Parfit Knight is a very simple tale. There are no grasping relatives, secret babies or evil doers; it’s just a beautifully told story about two people falling in love and the obstacles they have to overcome – one of which could have potentially devastating consequences.
Add in the superbly talented Alex Wyndham, and you have an audiobook guaranteed to delight romance listeners everywhere. Mr. Wyndham just gets better and better and is the perfect choice to narrate this book; every character is clearly delineated, his pacing is excellent and his portrayal of the central characters is absolutely spot on.
I can't wait to listen to him in the next book in the series. (The Mésalliance).
"Wonderful combination of writing and narration."
The witty and sparkling dialogue between true-to-life characters.
None that I can think of.
The moment when Amberley realised he had fallen in love with Rosalind.
Beauty and the Parrot!
Being a new Audible member, I was unsure whether or not I could adapt to one of my favourite authors, Stella Riley, having her work converted into an audio book. I need not have feared.
This excellent novel is superbly narrated by Alex Wyndham.Stella Riley’s characters are brought alive by Alex Wyndham in a way that truly surprised and pleased me.
Ms Riley’s strength has always been her dialogue, which is consistent through all her novels be it the Rockliffe Series or her English Civil War books. However, when this strength is joined by Alex Wyndham’s narration her character’s come alive in the most wonderful and exhilarating way.
Although blind, Rosalind is a delight with no trace of self-pity, while Amberley is perfect for her by understanding the importance of never putting her handicap first. As for the Duke of Rockliffe … well Mr Wyndham’s interpretation is outstanding.
Finally the combination of Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham is an impeccable blend resulting in a first class production.
Oh and one last thing Broody, the Parrot – ‘Bugger it, Bugger it, Bugger it’ this was really funny.
I believe her second book in this series, The Mesalliance, will soon be released again with Alex Wyndham narrating. I for one can’t wait.
"wonderful - very georgette heyer"
great story, well written, well read
i've listened to alot of story books and this was one of the best read
Loved it. The idiot brother Philip redeemed himself. Looking forward to reading the next one.
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