|image courtesy of JackieAshenden.com|
That’s pretty much Black Knight White Queen in a nutshell. A peanut shell. This erotic romance has quite a bit more emotional range than it seems at first blush. Aleks is a Russian chess champion in Thailand for a tournament. He’s a little bit broken, which is pretty much my favorite kind of hero. His brokenness originated in being returned to Russia by the American family who had adopted him. He’s all grown up, but the damage has been done, leaving him with some serious trust issues. Izzy is a former graphic designer on holiday from New Zealand. Her sister has committed suicide and her parents are barely coping, unable to help or even acknowledge her grief.
You’d think that with all the upheaval that has happened in these characters’ lives, this book would seem dark, but that was not the case. There’s a playfulness to their relationship, even though the angst persists almost through the end of the book. This is an erotic romance so the sex is pretty hot, with some light bondage and light dominance. Any 50 Shades reader will find it mild fare, but if you’re used to sweet historicals, you might be a little surprised at how fast and far it ramps up. This was my first Ashenden book, but it definitely won’t be my last. In fact, she mentioned on Twitter that she’s working on a story about a modern day rake and you’ve gotta know I like that. Can’t wait!
Thai Beef Tacos with Mango and Farmer’s Market Greens and Honey-Lime Dressing
Aleks and Izzy don’t eat a whole lot in Black Knight White Queen, but they do visit a Bangkok night market and go out for beers. For my interpretation of their night out, I pulled out a long-time fave of mine: How Sweet It Is blog’s Thai Beef Tacos paired with a light mango and farmer’s market green salad with Honey-Lime Dressing of my own devising. It’s a super healthy meal with a hint of spice.
Go see Jessica for the Thai beef taco recipe (she has a book coming out too!). It’s perfect as is, just keep in mind that the meat should marinate for 6-24 hours. The recipe uses half a mango so I just chopped up the other mango half and served it on a bed of greens with the dressing and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. The Honey-Lime Dressing recipe appears below.
- 3 cups farmer's market baby greens
- 1/2 sliced mango
- 1 tbsp chopped peanuts
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- Combine lime juice, olive oil and honey in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Whisk in cilantro and garlic. Serve over sliced mango and greens and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.