When I Fall in Love

By: Lynn Kurland

Series: De Piaget

Book Number: 4

Star Rating:

Sensuality Rating:



Spoiler Disclaimer


After watching two women he cared about marry others, Nicholas de Piaget believes that he's doomed to live out the rest of his days alone in his run-down castle. Then one day, he chances upon a flame-haired young woman about to be burned at the stake as a witch by his neighbor. Having experience with time travelers and recognizing the signs of one, Nicholas immediately knows what she is and rides to her rescue, offering her shelter at his castle. Unfortunately she isn't able to return back through the time gate that brought her to the past, and knowing that she'll need to go home at some point, he keeps his distance so as not to get attached, even though he's deeply attracted to her. After she makes two more unsuccessful attempts to go home, Nicholas starts to hope that perhaps she'll stay with him after all and finally allows himself to fall for her. However, he hasn't yet told her that his own brother-in-law is also a time traveler who probably knows the location of a working time gate, and when she learns the truth, she may go straight home, leaving him alone once again.

Talented violinist, Jennifer McKinnon dreams of a knight in shining armor sweeping her off her feet, but she's certain she'll never find him in Manhattan, where she's never met any man who didn't turn out to be a total jerk. During a trip to England to visit her sister, though, she's magically transported back in time to an era of knights, armor, and castles that is something she's only ever fantasized about, but the first person she encounters wants to immediately burn her at the stake until the legendary Nicholas de Piaget comes to her rescue. He's known in the history books as the most romantic and chivalrous knight of all time, and upon meeting him, she couldn't agree more with the historian's assessment. However, despite a strong attraction between them, he seems to be avoiding her. Planning to return home at some point, Jennifer tries to ignore him, too, but eventually she can't resist her handsome knight any longer. But when she learns that he might have information about a time gate that works, she'll have to decide whether it's worth giving up the man who could be the love of her life to finally get back home.


When I Fall in Love is a historical time travel romance that is the fourth book in Lynn Kurland's de Piaget series if you're reading them in chronological story order, or it's the thirteenth book in the combined de Piaget/MacLeod series if you're reading in publication order. This one tells the story of Rhys and Gwen's (Another Chance to Dream) son, Nicholas, and Jennifer MacLeod McKinnon who is related to a number of other characters in the combined series. Nicholas has been nursing a broken heart and wondering if he'll ever find someone to love and with whom to share his heart and castle. Jennifer is tired of modern jerks and wishes for a knight in shining armor to sweep her off her feet. When Jennifer goes to England to visit her sister, she's accidentally transported back through time to the medieval era where she meets Nicholas, a man she's heard about through genealogy books, when he saves her from being burned at the stake as a witch almost as soon as she arrives. Nicholas immediately recognizes her as a time traveler, while Jennifer, not knowing that he's aware of time travelers' existence, tries to keep her secret. With both of them believing that she'll eventually go back to her own time, the two spend a fortnight basically avoiding each other so that they don't become too attached, but when Jennifer's attempts to return home fail, Nicholas finally warms up to the idea that she might actually stay. The two start to grow closer, but what Nicholas hasn't told Jennifer is that his brother-in-law is also a time traveler who probably knows the location of a working time gate. He begs her to give him another fortnight with neither of them sharing their secrets in hopes that she'll fall in love with him and not want to go back when he does tell her. But when she learns the truth, she might not be understanding, and they also still have to contend with the man who tried to murder Jennifer as well as several women Nick's grandmother has brought for him to choose a wife from amongst.

Nicholas had been in love with Amanda (Dreams of Stardust), who he'd been raised alongside as siblings even though they aren't biologically related, but she married another, leaving him with a broken heart. He's convinced he'll never find a woman to truly love him and that he'll just grow into a cranky old man in his run-down castle. Then he happens across a young woman who appeared from out of nowhere and is now about to be burned at the stake by his neighbor, an awful man who tried to do the same to Nick's brother-in-law, Jake. Because Nick knows that Jake is a time traveler, he almost immediately recognizes the signs that this flame-haired beauty is also a woman out of time. When the time gate she came through doesn't appear to be working to take her back home, he extends an invitation to stay at his castle. However, knowing that he could all too easily fall in love with Jennifer and not wanting to get attached lest she find another way home, he avoids her for two weeks, letting his younger brother, Montgomery, take care of her instead. But after she makes three more unsuccessful attempts to go home, during one of which he has to rescue her from his evil neighbor again, Nick begins to allow himself to believe that she just might stay. He starts to spend more time with her, but still doesn't tell her that Jake might know a way to get her back home, instead hoping that if she has enough time to fall for him, too, she might not want to return. When she learns the truth, though, his plan could backfire on him.

After meeting Nicholas in some of the previous books, I'd been very much looking forward to his story. He was always kind, romantic, and chivalrous, and after two women he cared about marrying other men, I was excited to see him finally find his true love. In many ways, he was the same man who had been introduced earlier, but I felt like his characteristics were more subdued. He'd always struck me as a hopeless romantic who fell hard and fast, and wore his heart on his sleeve, but here he holds back a lot from Jennifer, at least at first. I suppose some of that had to do with him having been burned before and still nursing a broken heart, but I didn't feel like that aspect of his character was actually shown so much as it was simply implied. Likewise, I didn't feel like his romantic and chivalrous side was brought out as well as it could have been even when he starts allowing himself to fall for Jennifer. So while I did still like Nick a lot, I was ever so slightly disappointed that he didn't grow into the wildly romantic, larger-than-life hero I was expecting.

Jennifer is a talented concert violinist who took a bit of a break from playing to start a business with her mom designing and sewing baby clothes, but she recently got a gig that is about to propel her back into the music spotlight. She's from Manhattan, where none of the men she's dated ever really impressed her and far too many have been total jerks, so she's longing for a genuine knight in shining armor. Disillusioned by her love life and wanting a little break before her music career takes off again, she goes to England to visit her sister, Megan. There Jennifer goes exploring in some old castle ruins and accidentally travels back to the middle ages. No sooner has she passed through the time gate, than she's seized by men who think she's a witch and are hell bent on burning her at the stake. Luckily she's rescued by none other than Nicholas de Piaget, who Megan's family genealogy books said was the handsomest, most perfect and chivalrous knight in all of England. Once she's out of harm's way, Jennifer couldn't agree more with the historian's assessment, so when the time gate fails to take her back home, she accepts his invitation to stay at Wyckham. For the next two weeks, she notices that he seems to be avoiding her, but given how strong her attraction to him is, she believes it to be for the best. She has every intention of trying to get back home, but when the original gate doesn't work a second time, resulting in her needing to be rescued again, and two more gates she knows of don't work either, she becomes resigned to staying in medieval England. Jennifer knows that she'll eventually have to tell Nicholas the truth about being a time traveler, but when he insists on them not sharing secrets and just enjoying each other's company for the next fortnight, she can't resist. By the time their two weeks are up, she's fallen madly in love with him, but when he fesses up that he already knows about time travel and knows someone who can probably tell her the location of a working gate, she'll have a difficult decision to make.

Jennifer is clearly aware of quite a bit about time travel and it's mentioned during the course of the story that she'd previously time traveled with her other sister, Victoria, so I know that she's appeared in prior books in the publication order. However, since I've thus far been reading them chronologically, I hadn't read any of the books she's been seen in before. Therefore, I went into reading this book with no preconceived notions about her. Overall, I liked her a lot. She's sweet, kind and understanding. She also has an adventurous side to not have any major issues with traveling back into the past by several centuries. She's an incredibly talented violinist who can make her audience shed tears at the beauty of her music. But I think what I liked most about her is that she loves Nicholas for the man he is. Until she came along Nick couldn't find a woman who wasn't either coveting his money and position or bothered by the circumstances of his birth, but Jennifer doesn't care about either one and simply loves him for himself.

As I mentioned, I've been reading just the de Piaget books in chronological order. I had initially thought this would be the best and least confusing way to read them, because the de Piaget/MacLeod publication order jumps around a lot in the timeline. However, when I hit the third book, Dreams of Stardust, several characters came into play who'd clearly had stories told previously, and this book only exacerbated that issue. So now I'm rethinking my reading strategy and may switch to reading them in publication order after all. This being the case, When I Fall in Love boast quite a lot of supporting characters who appear elsewhere in both series. All of Nicholas's large family are seen, including his parents, Rys and Gwen (Another Chance to Dream); his ever-so-slightly older brother, Robin, and his wife, Anne (If I Had You); his sister, Amanda, and her husband, Jake (Dreams of Stardust); his other sister, Isabelle (Dreams of Lilacs); and his younger brothers, Miles ("The Gift of Christmas Past" from the anthology, Love Came Just in Time), Montgomery (One Enchanted Evening), and John (One Magic Moment). Jennifer's sisters have found love with men who traveled forward from the past. Victoria and Connor (Much Ado in the Moonlight) are Shakespearean actors, also living in Manhattan, while Megan and Gideon ("The Three Wise Ghosts" from the anthology Christmas Spirits) are the current inhabitants of Artane. Nicholas's nephew, Kendrick, traveled forward in time and married Genevieve, a modern woman, in Stardust of Yesterday, and they are the current owners of Segrave. I believe these were the only characters seen on-page that have their own stories, but there were a few others that received mentions that are also part of the series.

As I said before, I was very eager to read Nicholas's story, so I was excited to finally pick up When I Fall in Love. However, I ended up having somewhat mixed feelings about it, just as I did with Dreams of Stardust. Rys and Gwen's story, Another Chance to Dream became an instant favorite that I was happy to place on my keeper shelf, but the three books I've read since, have faltered in places. Aside from a mutual physical attraction, I didn't really feel much of a connection between Nicholas and Jennifer at first. Part of that is because of them remaining at arm's length from each other for two whole weeks, during which time, they have little communication. In fact, Nicholas pretends that he doesn't speak Gaelic, the only common language Jennifer knows, a decision that I didn't really understand. When they start interacting with each other more, the connection improved a bit, but I still saw several missed opportunities to deepen the romance. They take a walk along the beach, which barely gets mentioned after the fact, and they spend an entire afternoon in the solar with Nicholas playing the lute and singing to her, but that only gets about a single page. I just found the progress of the romantic aspects extremely languid, which made it a little difficult to become invested in their relationship the way I wanted to. Eventually it does get there, and by the end, I was convinced that they were very much in love, but it still never reached the strong emotional highs I expect from a romance. Another part of this is because Ms. Kurland doesn't typically write on-page love scenes, which isn't necessarily a detractor for me if a deep romantic connection is there, but here it kind of is. There's virtually no sexual tension at all and only the barest implications of something happening off-page. In fact, this story is so chaste, with Nicholas's family often protecting Jennifer's virtue, it felt almost like reading a Christian inspirational.

A few of other issues I had are that Jennifer makes her decision about whether to stay with Nicholas in the past with only minimal thought going into it. And then there are the villains who only presented a distant threat and were dispatched pretty easily, as well as the time gates seeming to arbitrarily work or not work with no real explanation of why. Additionally, while Nick's bantering with his brothers could be amusing at times, I felt like there was often more of that going on than there were romantic moments between him and Jennifer, so I wouldn't have minded those scenes being pared down a little. All that said, though, despite certain misgivings, the one thing that I've always enjoyed about Lynn Kurland's stories are her characters. I've very much liked virtually all of the ones I've read about so far and this one is no exception. Nick and Jennifer are kind, caring people who would be impossible not to love, so despite not being a perfect read, they alone help to elevate the story. I also enjoy that the author seems to favor beta-leaning heroes, who I typically adore. So my liking of the characters and my curiosity regarding all the supporting characters who have stories I haven't read yet, will, I'm sure, fuel my interest in continuing the series.


Lynn Kurland


Beta Heroes
G/PG-Rated Romance