by Johanna Lindsey, historical (2000)
Avon, $7.50, ISBN 0-380-79333-4
When I opened Joining to page one, I was just recovering slowly from a six-hour evaluation of 30 undergrads presenting their papers on a disease of each's choice. After twenty four monotonous read-from-my-notes-and-call-that-a-presentation about Alzheimer's disease (and I believe all twenty-four share the same resources) and sixteen on Huntington's disease (or Hungtinting, if you believe one smart girl), I was ready to scream. Hence, I may be a bit harsh in this instance, but Joining is only the last straw to an already mentally taxing day.
Whining. Boring. Bickering. Squabbling. Anything but Joining. Okay, so the joining bit did happen twice, but it's more of a quickie-ing than joining.
On to the story before I get Alzheimer's myself.
Lord Crispin and Lord de Thorpe are good buddies after saving each other during the Crusades. To cement their buddyhood, they decide to betroth each other's brats to the other. Too bad that Milisant Crispin and Wulfric de Thorpe detest each other on sight. On their first meeting he kills her pet falcon and she shoves him in retaliation, causing him to break his ankle.
But hold that Romeo and Juliet theme song. They meet again eighteen years later to finally do the joining thing. But along the way, our favorite pair has turned into stock Clichéd Medieval Tomboy Barbie and Medieval Playboy Ken. Let's see. Milisant's your usual I hate my womanly parts hoyden who rides her horses in breakneck speed with her flaming hair billowing in the wind. I'm not a sissy woman! I am one of the guys! I can shoot arrows just like you and I hate boinking.... oooh! Don't you touch me... oooh! (Do that again!) nonsense abounds.
And Wulfric? He's nothing more than a giant walking choo-choo train. It's lust at first sight for him when our heroine sits astride that stallion. But it's no easy ride for these two boring, bland characters - King John abets his treacherous, greedy noblemen to stop the Grand Joining of these two bickering children. And let's not forget our two lovebird's many, many, many shrill misunderstandings. These are due to Milisant's inability to compromise or do anything any way except her way. Hence she gets into a lot of stupid situations, all the while screaming I am as capable as any men... eeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!
Never fear, however. Be rest assured the Hoyden is tamed into the Perfect Feminine Bloom at the epilogue.
Johanna Lindsey can write nice stories. Even at its most stale, Joining still manages to bring up a chuckle or two from me. But it reads like a rushed job, and worse, it's nothing more than yet another routine rehash of a tired, old, and really blah story. And for $7.50, it's enough to have me gritting my teeth.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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