Never A Lady
by Marlene Suson, historical (2000)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-80567-7
Heroine Virginia Blair is an American heiress. Naturally, being influenced a lot by John Locke and his cohorts (I think), she:
(a) Doesn't want to get married,
(b) Thinks the British aristocracy with their unenlightened promenading in moonlight as utterly frivolous,
(c) Is in London mingling with the Ton to please Daddy dearest,
(d) Obeys Mommy dearest even if Mommy dearest is a nasty hag,
(e) Doesn't want to be a lady but she is - whaddya know - a wonder household problem solver,
(f) Loves to ride horses at fast speed, and
(g) Loves to read and spends her time doing "useful" activities like discussing world peace instead of gossiping.
Hero Maximilian is Virgie's future tutor in the joys of the missionary position. He is:
(a) A rake,
(b) Trying to protect asexual, bumbling cousin from the "American social climber" (guess who) who has the poor man in her claws,
(c) Thinks that it is time he starts a nursery and starts looking for a biddable wife,
(d) Sees Virgie riding astride in moonlight and starts thinking a bit too much about riding astride himself,
(e) Trying not to choke his mother who is a singularly vapid and shrill hag, and
(f) Looks good naked.
With such a non-stop bombardment of romance clichés in my face, I'm surprised Never A Lady doesn't have Mass manufactured stamped on its cover, right between the hero's impressively buxom mammary glands. As much I would like to welcome this long-awaited return by Marlene Suson, and as much as I would like to applaud such blatant plebianism in romance novel storytelling, I'm afraid I can also say reading this story is as exciting as tracing the lines on the ceiling on a hot lazy afternoon.
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