by Margaret Moore, historical (2004)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-052621-1
Kiss Me Again is a story about outrageous wagers and scandalous behaviors. But by the later half of the book, the characters are running around behaving in really silly ways while indulging in very familiar Regency era psychobabbles and behavior. There are some good scenes here, especially when the author tries to give her characters some two-dimensional traits, but on the whole, Margaret Moore could have done a lot more.
Francesca Epping is one of those creepy-eyed stalker types that trail after the object of her affections that she has been fixated on since she is barely out of diapers. In this case, the man in question is Brixton Smythe-Medway. She's not the most subtle person in the world, so everyone knows, including Brix who is annoyed by the fact that she shows up everywhere he goes. When she overhears him wagering to his friends that he will never marry until he's fifty and certainly not to mousy and boring Fanny, she decides to hit back with her own wager - she will break his heart in six weeks' time.
There is some amusing moments that arise when Brix realizes how much he actually miss having Fanny trail after him like some besotted puppy. I understand that some men like it when women do stupid things like this. But on the whole, Brix is a hero with commitment issues whose motivations for not marrying aren't actually developed well enough for me to view him as a two-dimensional character. Fanny is an even more familiar heroine and her actions in this book seem to be on autopilot mode. While I like the fact that these two people have to confront the fallout of their wagers on their social lives, the fallout often makes Brix and Fanny act in silly and stereotypical - and in Brix's case, sometimes even cruel - ways to prolong their conflict for too long. Running away, irritating prolonged denials of feelings, you name any stereotypical antics of a Regency historical couple, it's here.
On the whole, Kiss Me Again is a rather uneven book. There are some good moments - like how the author develops Brix's appreciation for whom he initially considers a dull and drab woman - but there are annoying moments too - like Fanny who may not be drab but she is dull and stereotypical - to negate these good moments. Be warned that Brix's behavior can be very disagreeable, making Kiss Me Again a little different than your usual inoffensive, light-hearted Avon romance novel. Alas, Brix is quite underwritten and his motivations are rarely well-developed enough to make him a well-rounded hero. It's the same problem with Fanny.
In conclusion, this is one book that could have been better, but somehow isn't.
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