When Krish Nayar becomes separated from his friends and walks through a mysterious fog, he never expects to find himself in 17th century Wales. But as he begins to process his new reality, Krish must also acknowledge the fact he may never return home. Which might be difficult to accept if it were not for the presence of the handsome Bleddyn ap Rhys, a knight from a nearby castle.
When Bleddyn finds Krish wandering in Gwydir Forest, he intends to rescue the man, not fall in love. Yet he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the clever and altogether unique Krish. Fate seems to have drawn them together and, despite the fact that four hundred years of history separate them, both men are determined to make their love last. But tradition, the Church, and an unknown enemy threaten to undermine them at every turn. Fate may have brought them together but that doesn’t mean it can keep them safe.
When I first read the blurb for In Shining Armor, I assumed it would be something along the lines of Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. And it was…for about ten pages. Then the story went off in a widely divergent direction that caught me off guard. While not all aspects of this book paid off, the author did a nice job of providing an unusual resolution to a classic time traveling twist. Krish and Bleddyn are both fairly well rounded characters whose love is sweet and affirming, though utterly unbelievable. In Shining Armor has more of a historical flavoring rather than a genuine appreciation for historical truth. Still, there is enough sense of time and place to make the basic story work. The Welsh language is an integral part in the plot and the author makes sure to provide frequent translations, which is especially helpful given that wonderful country’s love of the confounding double consonant.
My biggest issue with In Shining Armor is the absolutely bonkers evolution of the romance between Krish and Bleddyn. From the time Krish travels back to the 17th century to the moment he and Bleddyn pledge their complete and undying love for one another, about three days pass. Three days. Krish experiences almost no period of adjustment to his surroundings and Bleddyn hardly bats an eye when Krish reveals his origins. The author puts this sudden and easy acceptance down to Fate but that doesn’t make any more believable. While these two characters do work on some level, their romance always felt uneven, slightly obnoxious in its extremes, and ultimately unfulfilling. Which is a shame because I really wanted to like this aspect of the story more than I did.
There was also some rather flowery language. Presumably the author was trying to portray Bleddyn as a knight with courtly flair, but more often than not he comes off sounding fairly ridiculous. Bleddyn’s speech patterns are so distracting that I often found myself having to re-read passages because I’d lost the thread. While I appreciate what the author was trying to convey, I felt this character was done a great disservice by language that simply didn’t work. Additionally, In Shining Armor was a fairly long book and with whole passages devoted to a romance than never clicked for me, I found it to be rather a dull read. There were times when I contemplated setting it aside without finishing it, which is something that doesn’t happen very often.
In Shining Armor has its strong points and some readers might really connect with Krish and Bleddyn in a way that I never could. Though it has an interesting plot and a few unusual twists, I found In Shining Armor lacked enough depth or emotional realism to resonate. Neither Krish nor Bleddyn felt like believable constructs despite being well rounded characters and their romantic journey was so fast it reads as absurd. This said, if you’re a big fan of time travel and enjoy brave knights and heroic deeds, you might enjoy In Shining Armor.