Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-008470-7
Historical Romance, 2003
A more appropriate title for this book is A Pathetic Waif. The sugar levels of the story is at an amazing high, thanks to a heroine who starts off weeping daintily in a ghetto lifestyle and determines to remain there as long as she can to milk the reader’s tears. This isn’t an overwrought Oliver! wannabe as much as something Fagin would envision after too many sniffs from the happy crack pipe.
Fanny Jarvis is an orphan who gets beaten up by her tormentor Jack Swift as she sits on the street and begs for money or pickpocket rich people to appease Jack. Of course, she is actually the long lost daughter of some big rich English family sort, no surprise there. She picks our hero Troyce the impoverished baron’s pocket as it rains heavily – Thunder! Boom! All bow down before Rachelle Morgan’s atmospheric prose! – and gets caught. Never mind, he makes her his servant. Nice clothes, nice bed, and away from the life on the streets – isn’t that nice? So Fanny runs away. Troyce catches her back. She is an inept servant and gets bullied by everybody, boo hoo hoo. Troyce loves her, ooh, ooh, ooh! Not worthy! Never be worthy! Ugh, ugh, ugh! Oh, her twin sister has found her! She marries her guy and is now with family! Oh, oh, oh! The end.
Never mind the horrifyingly unbalanced relationship between a pathetic waif who talks like a scatterbrained ten-year old girl (“Someplace far, far away, where flowers grow wild in the fields and the smell of the sea is strong in me nose” – someone please show me where I can find a grassy field by the sea – “the sun never stops shining and the music never stops playing” – I guess I shouldn’t ask who is playing that music) and a man who can’t make up his mind whether to pity or to sleep with the woman he brings in to be ill-treated by his family members. Fanny or Faith or Flatulence or whatever her real name is, she doesn’t even try to grasp any opportunity to better herself despite constantly talking about nonsense like musicians playing where the sun is always shining on green fields floating over the sea. In fact, she actively opposes any changes in her life, just so that the author can make her go eek-eek-eek forever. In trying to milk the sweet little waif thing so hard, Rachelle Morgan ends up with a big chunk of cheese that is A Scandalous Lady.