Cerridwen Press, $6.49, ISBN 1-4199-0553-8
Historical Romance, 2006
Victoria Dark, whose previous historical romance novels were published with Zebra, Leisure (as Tori Light), and New Concepts Publishing (as Victoria Darkwood), returns from a hiatus with Dangerous to Love. Unfortunately, after reading this book I believe that perhaps I may need to go on a hiatus myself from books of this sort.
In this Regency era historical, our French Arielle Benoit decides that the ridiculously named Fox Grandquest, an Earl who is also part Native American Earl and an English spy in that war against Napoleon Bonaparte, is the man responsible for the death of her darling cousin so she’s going to kill him. So what Ari does is to head over to Dartmouth Harbor, spots him on his ship Midnight Dancer, takes out her gun, goes on a long exposition usually reserved for cackling villains in an Amanda Quick historical romance, shoots herself in the forehead by accident, and collapses. How do they say “Bravo!” in French again? Fox takes her in, wondering why she’s out to kill him, and because she’s French, he decides that she could be a spy out to kill him. Humph, and here I am thinking that it should be obvious to all that Ari clearly an incompetent nutcase who is a menace to her own self.
Ari decides to pretend to have amnesia – very badly, if I may add – as those two get involved in an adventure involving French spies, smuggling in a countryside, and plenty of “Americans are so noble and righteous compared to those elitist British scums” soapbox moments. This story has every other historical romance cliché you can think of desperately crammed in this story that it has everything and maybe the kitchen sink as well. Throughout it all, there are secondary characters who are adamant that the main characters are made for each other even when those characters have displaying as much sexual chemistry as that found in a typical The Road Runner cartoon. The main characters on the other insist on not seeing the obvious and persisting in keeping all kinds of laughably wrong assumptions about the other person. Oh, and Ari just has to be that oh-so-obnoxious heroine who can’t do anything right to save her life but everyone adores her because she’s so cute when she’s making a big blunder of things.
Oh, and the dialogues can be ridiculous.
“I want to trust you. I do think you might believe what you say. But that does not make it true. You see, I listened at that keyhole for a very long time. The guilt you carry over Peterson’s death is unearned, to my way of thinking. Men! If the seasons change, then you think, being all powerful, you must be responsible. You did not murder the poor man. Had you kept your appointment, nothing says you would have prevented his death, and you may have been murdered, too – but that is not the point. You want me, and your conscience scolds you because of this man’s death, so you imagine there are other, nobler feelings involved as well as your desire. But there cannot be, and for the very same reason.”
I’ve had as much fun reading about stupid Ari and dim-witted Fox as much as I do playing grab-a-tail with a skunk. Dangerous to Love is indeed dangerous – to my blood pressure if nothing else.