by Geralyn Dawson, historical (2001)
Sonnet, $6.50, ISBN 0-671-03449-9
Parents, please teach your daughters sex ed if you love them. They will love you for it and they won't blame you when they end with lousy husbands because they just can't get over the Power of their men's Sex Chakra to actually know what jerks these men are. So, please, if you love your daughters, teach them about sex and the value of self-respect in a relationship.
Despite paying lip service, the parents of 16-year old Sarah Simpson obviously don't love their daughter. They let Sarah believe that a marriage is all frilly white gowns and warm cuddles in bed, not the wet and pokey affair her bridegroom 19-year old Nicholas Ross soon shocks her with. Needless to say, I'm surprised our heroine isn't traumatized for life. Tsk, tsk, Mr and Mrs Simpson, the Social Services are on to you.
Worse, after the fiasco of a wedding night, a pregnant girl turns up and claims that Nick is the daddy of her bairn. And Nick, who is noble for the most retarded reason, admits to the deed. (He isn't the daddy, but he is Obligated to the Pregnant Girl's family for some stupid reason that demands he abandon his newly-wed and confused wife.) Bye, bye, wedded bliss.
Eleven years later, Nick is a dumb cliché. An English Regency spy who is also a nobleman now - yay! He also discovers his long-lost family. He and wifey exchange letters of buddy-wuddyness, it seems, so here he is, playing Scarlet Pimpernel in England while Sarah becomes a wedding planner in America (yes, it's like the blind leading the blind). They never get around to divorce or annulment. But Nick decides one day, oh WTF, he needs to give his sisters a season, and he needs a suitable wife. Sarah, his Friend, has to be gotten rid of. So he brings Sarah over under fake pretenses, and drops the bomb on her: "Honey, we need an annulment ASAP because I need to marry an obviously lousy, cold-hearted woman to give my sisters a decent season, but you know what, since you are such a hottie after all these years, I'll seduce you first just for the heck of it before I ditch you out of my life. No hard feelings, yes, Sarah darling?"
And Sarah, instead of taking out a pair of scissors and plunging them right where it hurt the most for that stupid, smug, arrogant SOB, demurs. Oh, isn't he such a hottie! Tsk, tsk. Some women just don't have any self-respect, I tell you.
This story could be redeemed if Nick actually comes out somewhere in the story, even in the last chapter, and gives a grand show of remorse. No such luck here. The author is so intent on making our scumbag the Uber Hero that she has Sarah making excuses and bending over her back just to make Nick look okay. I'm not buying that. The story also relies too long on unspoken big secrets and the damned inability for those two people to actually talk. Nick expects Sarah to be there and understand and obey him implicitly, no questions asked. Shame on Sarah for not even thinking of asking questions.
Secondary characters are a bewildering passel until I realize they are connected to practically every book this author has written before. But they are fun when they aren't cheerleading our two silly and irritating lead characters. With friends like these, Sarah doesn't need enemies.
Again, parents, please, teach your daughters about sex. Don't let them end up like Sarah, so impressed by Nick's sexual prowess that she can't see what a jerk he is. Or else you have only yourself to blame when you end up exchanging screeched insults with your daughter on Jerry Springer.
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