The Irish Enchantress
by Amy J Fetzer, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6830-1

Trouble looms early in this story when misunderstood witch Fionna O'Donnel tries to save her daughter from being trampled by Raymond DeClare's horse. The event ends with Fionna - alone, faced against DeClare and his armed-to-the-teeth men - gives the man a round tongue-lashing that culminated in her calling him a bastard English thief out to exploit the fair, free lands of Ireland. Obviously in her zeal to be a martyr, she forgot that her daughter would be in danger should she herself be cut down (or worse) by a group of mad, bad, English thieves and rapists (according to her).

Lucky for her, Raymond DeClare, the new owner of GleannTaise Castle (Fionna is actually the castle's Irish heiress), is a Sensitive New Age Guy who could give the 21st Century NYPD and LAPD precincts lessons in table manners. When he frees a thief because he decides he couldn't punish a starving man, I have to check the copyright statement to see if Amy J Fetzer isn't another pseudonym for Claire Delacroix/Claire Cross.

The Irish Enchantress is a story of sensitive, 21st century Mr and Miss Nice People playing at becoming knight and lady. It's like a Care Bear version of medieval times. I know in the 1176 they didn't have rocket scientists, but still, apart from Raymond and Fionna, everyone else is a sheep-like docile baaa caricature who seems to have no mind of their own. Hero says jump, they baaa, "How high?" Naturally, these same sheep initially give Fionna hell, until Raymond embraces her, boinks her, and makes her the new Lady of the Castle. Then they start to change their bleating and embrace her too for the saint she is. (What? They are nice to her because they know she now has the power to burn their pathetic lil' huts? Come on, how you seen these sheep? I doubt they can even think.)

Sinead, Fionna's daughter, will make Raymond get in touch with his paternal instincts. A royal-blood squire will seal Raymond's transformation into the 12th century Bill Crosby. And Fionna, what a joyless martyr! Never mind that they may stone her after she saves their kids - she must save kids! She is - heroine! Must - save - kids - ooh, pretty butterflies! Pink, pink butterflies! (Incidentally, she can also speak to faeries. Either she's really a mystic, or all those herbs in her medicinal cupboard aren't just there for healing kiddies missions of mercy. I don't know, really - the way she behaves, I'll say it's probably more towards the latter.)

I'm sure, two years into the marriage, Raymond and Fionna will found the United Medieval Nations and discover the secret to World Peace. Their kids will revolutionize trigonometry and build a stairway to the moon.

Such a large slice of Utopian pie is really too much for me. It's easy to read, I must admit, and as a bonus, there's only a ninny heroine. Raymond DeClare is more sensitive than a Care-Bear, and sometimes, that's a good change from the usual alpha-brutes. But really! High on fluffy saccharine, The Irish Enchantress is potent enough to give me nightmares about disgusting fat teddy bears with hearts tattooed on their potbellies chasing me for dear life. "Hugsie! Hugsie! Love will save the day! We are the Care-bears and we love you!" Ugh.

Rating: 60

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