by Virginia Farmer, historical/time travel (2000)
Leisure (Timeswept), $4.99, ISBN 0-505-52385-X
Hmm, it seems if one visits historical reenactments, there may be a great chance that one might get sent back in time, into the body of the fellow he or she is reenacting. Wow. Is there a Thomas Gibson wedding reenactment anytime in my vicinity soon? (I'll be the bride, thank you very much.)
Well, Jocelyn Tanner obviously hasn't read time travel romances, because she plays the auctioned wife in an 18th century reenactment. She faints, and what do you know, here she is in 1797, being auctioned off by a smelly, oafish brute to a drunk, smelly, but handsome rake! A gal can't be any happier, right? Garren Warwick, the buyer, actually doesn't want a wife, but his ding dong has led him into a scandal involving a buxom, very naked, very willing widow and some outraged society people. Dad insists that this ne'er-do-well scoundrel son marry that lusty widow, but Garren balks at that.
After all, we all know widows that give out don't deserve a chance to be romance novel heroines.
So he buys the first auctioned wife he sees. He will give her his country home to do as she pleases, and then he will hie off to merry London to play ding dong bells with happy widows some more.
Jocelyn, on her part, is terrified. She's in another body in another time. What to do? Her only knowledge of life in the country is from cowboy movies (i.e. "Sidesaddle - wot's dat?"). And don't start about her accent and vocabulary. And Garren abandons here alone in the country home of Spenceworth.
But no matter, Garren's father comes down and teaches Jocelyn to be a Grand Lady. Garren comes back and wham! Lust in first sight. They spar, lots of things happen, the usual. The Other Woman also try to cause trouble.
Now, Sixpence Bride is a pretty fun story with easy humor. But I really wonder what is it that makes Garren a hunk that Jocelyn will fall for. She keeps saying he's a hunk, yes, I can see the transient appeal of a dark, handsome rake, but for long-term bliss? If I'm Jocelyn, I'd go nab the Daddy. Forget Garren, who never manages to get beyond his shallow veneer.
I don't find this book pretty disagreeable. I just wish, well, sometimes, maybe it'll be nice if the author shows me some depths under the hero's debauched, drunk surface. The romance in Sixpence Bride has a bit of a hollow ring to it, thus preventing it from being much more than a pleasant read on a nice lazy day.
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