Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-80922-2
Historical Romance, 2001
Honesty Maguire’s father tells her to go look for flowing rocks. Or flowing stones. Or something like that. Apparently flowing stones hold some secret to unlocking her past. Or something like that. Daddy must be smoking some powerful hashish when he croaked. Wait, I’m just being catty. The author is pretty transparent in her attempts to, er, “hint” at the secret in the heroine’s past, which makes the inept characters even more tedious to follow.
Anyway, that’s what Honesty decides to do. She and Daddy were con artists, you see, and they were a team, you know. Daddy+Honesty=4eva. DaddyLuvHonesty. Boo hoo hoo. Memo to Honesty: you can never marry your Daddy, so grow up, missy.
Jesse Justiss – whoa, what a name! – is a Pinkerton’s agent who decides that his swan song will be he solving a sixteen-year old case involving the murder of two heiresses. He finds Honesty, whom he suspects to be a tramp. Do tramps go around looking like does staring at the headlights of an oncoming super giant Mack truck?
Honesty has no money. Being a daddy’s girl, she has no idea how to do anything on her own. She decides to drug Jesse and then pretend that they have done the deed, so can he pay up? Jesse soon sees through her deception, especially when he comes to her rescue from some villains. Will Honesty here tell Jesse what’s up?
Of course not. I tell you, this story could have easily lose 200 pages and still make sense if this ninny tells Jesse about the flowing rocks and that great bowl of opium in the sky where Daddy awaits and waiting for Honesty where they will be 4evaNevaNeva… ahem. No, Honesty decides to lie – ineptly – and keeps pretending to be a harlot or something – ineptly, plus, since she’s a virtuous woman, she gets affronted when Jesse treats her like a tramp, even when she is pretending to be a tramp… oh forget it. Let’s just say that Honesty is an unthinking, indecisive dingbat.
Jesse is a stock hero. As Honesty degenerates more and more into a petulant, pouty schoolgirl whose childish attempts at asserting herself land Jesse into all sorts of smelly stuff, poor Jesse starts to change more and more until by the last page, he resembles a giant lollipop with SUCKER emblazoned across it.
An Unlikely Lady is darn right. Honesty is unlikable as well as unlikely. Not a lady, this one. A spoiled, bratty girly girl, more like.