by Anita Wall, historical (2000)
Zebra (Splendor), $4.99, ISBN 0-8217-6599-X
After the really wonderful Ties Of Love (released earlier this year), A Promise Given is a bit of a disappointment. It has the typical heroine in Ultimate Disaster being saved by the hero plot, which is okay if the whole thing's well written. It is. It's just... well, I keep waiting for the hero Leon Areggi to grow long pointy hairy ears and hooves. Is Leon an euphemism for Mule? He is just that.
Anyway, the story: poor Jeanne O'Shea - no, make that very poor, in danger of being raped by stepdaddy, and her brother about to be beaten to death by the same jerk Jeanne O'Shea is fleeing her home with her wee brother Timmy (isn't he the same son in A Christmas Carol, the one with crutches? Figures.). An angel in disguise comes in the form of Leon, a Basque shepherd who is unconveniently engaged to someone else.
Now, Jeanne and Leon really warm up to me after the melodramatic first chapters. Loyalty, friendship, and a healthy dose of list - great recipe for a romance, right? I don't even mind the usual I can't bear a man's touch act from Jeanne, which is understandable even if it is done the same way ten million books with the same sort of heroines did it.
But hey, after the two start boinking, things go way downhill. Leon just wouldn't accept that Jeanne means anything to him. The first few chapters he start this Meeeh meeeh! I'm a donkey! act, it's okay. But when the braying starts going on and on, I want to knock a few heads with my rolling pin.
Still, the ending is nice. And no matter how much a jackass Leon is, he's still a well-written fellow. APG may not be anything fresh or exciting, but it's still a pretty good read.
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