Avon, $14.00, ISBN 0-380-80793-9
Historical Romance, 2000
A Season beyond a Kiss is the continuation of a crappy two-parter barely-50-pages-each novellas by the same author published in two different anthologies. Part one’s The Kiss, Part two is Beyond the Kiss, hence part three, A Season beyond a Kiss. Nice title. Nice cover. Horrible writing, plots and all.
I know, Ms Woodiwiss’ practically the First Lady Of Romance. But let me have the temerity to say that if she keeps writing in verbose styles and plots so childishly simple, she is in danger of becoming a living dinosaur. Romance writing has progressed to more sophisticated trends, and it’s a shame she seems content to be caught in a time warp.
The plot’s ridiculous enough. After vowing to love each other forever, Raelynn and Jeff faces the test of their love when that hag Nell comes up and says “Jeffie darlin’, surprise! Guess who’s having your baby?” Raelynn, the loyal wife, immediately accuses Jeff of being a tomcat. Later, when Jeff is found at the scene of Nell’s murder… oh boy.
Oh boy, really. Raelynn, the intelligent woman, can’t bear the pain and runs away, leading to a big, long separation all detailed in loving, vivid verbal diarrhea of a writing style. Big misunderstandings abound, and Raelynn sheds enough tears to flood Venice while running away for the millionth time from her troubles.
At page one, we have Raelynn lying in bed, flashing her long beauteous lashes that shield her glittery orbs (or something) as she reminisces what a great lover Jeff is and how lucky she is to have him. Hmmph – so much for perfection, that woman can’t even trust her hubby. Next page she is still in bed, working herself into blissful remembrance of her loving hubby. She’s still at it at page three. I skip to a random page where there’s Jeff’s court case, complete with melodramatic screaming and shouting and not at all a speck of resemblance to any normal court. Skip some more to a page where I am subjected to more of physical descriptions of O Beauteous Raelynn as she collapses in a swoon (arms artistically positioned to give the classical look when swooning, of course).
Okay, so the author tends to gush too much and abuses the usage of commas in her sentences. No big deal, I can live with that. But the characters are so one-dimensional they make a sheet of paper look as concrete as the Eiffel Tower. Raelynn is supposedly virtuous and strong, but the moment adversity looms, she collapses and – my, look at her run! Jeff is goody, sensitive, speaks as if he’s a walking dictionary, and he is so strong he makes Superman looks like Pauly Shore. And the bad guys can drive Wile E Capote into early retirement. They don’t talk, they snarl, they stomp, and you’ll never guess that they look ugly.
Boring, boring characters and really tiresome plot executed in a style that looks as if the author is paid a dollar per word, A Season beyond a Kiss makes me poleaxed in stupefaction at page 6 and by page 188 I am comatose with numbness, and there are still 300+ more pages to go. The word “season” definitely applies here.