Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6775-5
Historical Romance, 2001
I know there’s trouble when I have to read the 27-paged Chapter 1 of An Improper Bride three times just to make head or tail out of it. Sara Blayne writes as if she is paid by the word, and paragraphs stretching longer than a page each are not uncommon here. And the prose is written in thick, probably authentic (or just plain verbose) Austen-speak that I find indecipherable. Plus there seem to be a zillion characters in Chapter 1 that I have to gnash my teeth to make out who’s who.
What I get is that this story is about Lady Elfrida Rochelle who, while tipping some “mind-relaxing” (ahem) psychic-aid potions, sees that her Twin Soul, her karmically and cosmically perfect mate Guy, the Earl of Shields, is in danger. She must go to London to save him! Never mind that her spoiled younger and prettier stereotype sister thinks she’s nuts. Guy and Elf may have met once, eight years ago, when he insulted her dancing skills and then promptly forgot all about her, but Elf knows the stars are right. They are soulmates.
Needless to say, Elf is the type of heroine who does a lot of stupid things in the name of kookiness, and she is positively a threat to society when she is worried, surprised, or stunned. Firearms go off accidentally in her presence, and everyone go “Oops, hee-hee, isn’t Elf cute and adorable?”
Well, I have one good thing to say about Elf though. Think of what fun it will be to have her at a party. Just imagine, she can always take out that bowl of mind-relaxing potions and herbs of hers and pass it around. “Forget spin the bottle, y’all, let’s all go see our Twin Souls instead! Just take a deep sniff, and we’ll then hold hands and sing John Lennon songs, right? And then we’ll… we’ll… oh, fuck that, let’s have an orgy instead!”