Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 0-425-19202-4
Paranormal Romance, 2003
Lynn Kurland goes the extra mile in making the heroine of A Garden in the Rain extra spineless, extra stupid, and in extra distress. I don’t know why, maybe it’s to cater to some purportedly feminine virtue of mine that has me heaving my generous bosoms in heartfelt wistfulness when a larger-than-life hero comes in and sweeps the heroine from all her troubles forever and ever. If that sentence causes your own bosoms to heave, hey, what are you waiting for? Me, however, I find it hard to get into this mechanical and very calculated “Women in Distress; Save Us, O Hero” story.
Debt-ridden Madelyn Phillips loses her job and her home in Seattle, thanks to a fiancé that got her fired from her attorney job. Never mind, she still has time to go on that honeymoon trip to Scotland instead of filing a lawsuit on that jerk’s ass. You do remember that she’s a lawyer, don’t you, even if Ms Kurland doesn’t? Then, at Scotland, wow, she ends up sleeping in a broom closet, and this is sometime in between losing her passport, getting her credit cards cancelled by said fiancé (don’t ask), and more. So it’s just the right time for Patrick McLeod to come in and save our heroine – that is, if he can get over his overly-showy angst about his dead wife and kid. That evil fiancé and Patrick’s nasty daddy-in-law want to cause trouble, and if that’s not bad enough, our gruesome twosome then get sent back to medieval times.
This is a phrase to describe this book: “One rape trauma away from being a Catherine Anderson book.” An unrealistic and too-contrived weak heroine in distress, a hero whose self-pity verges on perverse exhibitionism, and ultra-lurid villains all come together to create a book that never makes sense (why would the heroine fall for that ridiculously cartoony villain of a fiancé to the extent that she lets him control every aspect of her life?).
A Garden in the Rain is non-stop manipulative melodrama driven by the heroine’s stupidity and haplessness and laced with an extra generous helping of the hero’s whine and cheese. You like? Lynn Kurland is throwing a party at the buffet table – $7.99 only, people! Everyone else give this book a wide berth. There are better Lynn Kurland books out there anyway.