Tiger By The Tail
by Casey Claybourne, historical (1999)
Berkley, $5.99, ISBN 0-425-16321-0

It's official. Alien abductions occur also in books, romance novels included. Not only that, these little green monsters substitute the abductees with clones. It's true, I swear! I saw it - or rather, read it - with my own eyes. It's all here in this book, Tiger By The Tail by Casey Claybourne.

Ms Claybourne has obviously taken a leaf out of William Shakespeare's Taming Of The Shrew for the plot of the novel. The shrewish She-Devil of Mooresby Hall is Melisande who runs the entire Mooresby holding in an iron grip. Bianca is played by Eileen Mooresby. Eileen is pregnant with her fiance's child, and to save Eileen's good name, Mel must marry. You see, the naughty Granpa Mooresby who holds the financial rein of the family has declared that Eileen can't marry unless Mel marries first. So Mel decides, hola! She will go to the local gaol, pick up a criminal, fake a marriage, and when Eileen is safely wedded, send that fellow off with a pouch of coins. Let's not question the rationale of such a plan, shall we, for we all know that in the local gaol, one can pick handsome, sexy, all-round-hunk and roguish men like William Taggart. It's like a stud farm.

No, this first half of the book is pure, unadulterated delight as Mel and Will trade barbs worthy of any Shakespearean funny couples. It is simply enjoyable watching them trying to outwit, out-argue, and outmatch each other. Mel is feisty, spunky, and speaks her mind freely and fearlessly while Will is a delightful rogue. I thought I had a keeper in my hands.

Until the aliens come in halfway through the book and kidnapped Mel.

Or maybe they kidnapped both Mel and Will and replaced them with robo-Romance-cliche-clones. Whatever they did with these two wonderful characters, I am not happy!

What happened is that Mel-Clone and Will-Clone get married and next thing you know, Will-Clone turns into an illegitimate-son-of-a-scum and drags Mel-Clone to Scotland where he spends his time dragging her to bed and acting like a mean bull to her. Will-Clone is a selfish, thoughtless, brainless bonkers dolt who keeps feeling remorseful after every of the many nonsense that befalls Mel-Clone in Scotland. Remorseful, but not doing anything about it. Grrrr!

And Mel-Clone has lost all her gray cells and probably her spine too. She no longer is the She-Devil but the meek, subservient, servile, and martyr third-grade Joan of Arc rip-off. She becomes co-dependent and as fiery and brainy as burnt pea. My condolences to these two people. This is what marriage does to you, eh? Tsk tsk.

I'm xeroxing the first half of the book until they got shackled, put THE END right there at the last sentence, staple it, put it between the pages of my favorite anthologies, and then pitch the book into my pile of forgotten books. What a waste.

Rating: 50

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