Duel Of Hearts
by Diane Farr, historical (2002)
Signet, $6.50, ISBN 0-451-20720-3

Maybe it's a Jane Austen thing, and I'm not too into Jane Austen unless the movie versions feature full frontal nudity scenes of Jeremy Northam or Colin Firth, but oh, my head. When the ear-splitting wailing of heroine Delilah "Lilah" Chadwick and the overbearing whining of the hero Adam "Drake" Harleston (Earl of Drakesley) stop raging in my head, that's because I have probably bashed my head bloody and is now earning my well-deserved rest in some hospice with pretty garden and pretty, pretty butterflies.

Like I said, must be a Jane Austen thing.

Lilaaaaaaaaaaa's father is marrying a woman half his age. He must be stopped.

Draaaaaaaaaake's cousin is marrying a man twice her age. She must be stopped.

From the moment they meet and bicker over a carriage, Lilaaaaaaaaaaa and Draaaaaaaaaake bring to mind two eight-year old brats who can use some permanent time-out. She wants the carriage to herself and her companion and all her bags, even if he has paid for her carriage, and she wants it NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW. He doesn't want to share, so NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. She doesn't like him, YOU SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK (or whatever it is in Austenspeak). He neither, NEENEEE EEENEEE MEENEEE NEENEEEE.

They work together. They bait each other. You suck. No, you suck more. You are suckier than I am. No, you are the sucker. And since this is a traditional Regency in all but name, we're talking about the boring kind of sucking. Lilaaaaaaaaaaa stomps her feet. Draaaaaaaaaake sulks some more. They fight over every - single - thing, big or small. And all this fighting in the shrillest, sharpest, whiniest pitch that threatens to burst every vessel in my furiously throbbing head.

By the late third of this book, I am clinging at straws for dear life. I don't why I do this to myself - maybe because the author writes well and I am hoping for some divine revelation that will make it worth all my torment, but I close this book still hearing Lilaaaaaaaaaa and Draaaaaaaaake screaming and yelling at each other. Maybe I will start screaming and jumping at the slightest sounds in the house soon.

Is this some divine retribution on poor old me for not liking Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer? If I go watch Jeremy Northam in Emma now, will I be forgiven? Whatever it is, please make it stop - just. make. it. stop!

Rating: 56

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