by Linda Lael Miller, historical (2000)
Pocket, $7.99, ISBN 0-671-00400-X
There is a plot in Courting Susannah, a very thin plot that is stretched so thinly across its 300 plus pages that reading this book is like walking on those bubblegum residue stretched taut. Any moment now - snap!
Basically, the plot is this: Susannah comes to take over the nannyhood of her late friend Julia's four-month daughter and falls for Aubrey, the supposedly adulterous and control-freaky hubby. Naturally, the dead lying bitch is wrong and Aubrey is actually the misunderstood one here. Yea.
So what's to stop them from playing pokey together? Well, there are the usual external conflicts about Susannah's Misunderstood Status and some sex-mad horny miners out to philander our heroine's closet. When the external conflicts keep coming, when the internal conflict just keep stretching on and on, my eyes start to glaze over.
The main conflict here is that Susannah can't marry, much less play pokey with, Aubrey because he is her best friend's husband. How shocking - we all know we can't marry our best friend's hubbies, it's sinful! (But then again, Julia is soon made clear to me that she isn't much of a friend anyway.)
So there she goes. No, no, no, no, no, no, no and no one more time all the way until the book meets its word count. It's not interesting. Aubrey and Susannah aren't interesting characters either. They are stock characters - he is hurt by love, he won't trust again, he has Bad Childhood while she, she is virtuous, has low self-esteem, and she is prone to denials and mental hysteria.
Americanas are suppose to have simple, humble, hardworking characters, am I right? Somehow boring, trite, and not too smart have crept into the catalogue of virtues in this overpriced, bloated, but ultimately uninteresting Americana.
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