More Than You Know
by Jo Goodman, historical (2000)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6569-8

Rand Hamilton, captain of the ship Cerberus, wants his family estates back. To do so, he must have pots and pots of money, and what better way to get these pots of money than to go treasure hunting, right? The long-lost Hamilton-Waterstone treasure, to be exact. The key to discovery of this treasure lies in two cryptic riddles.

One day Randy is asked to bring along a female passenger on his trip to the South Pacific. Claire Bancroft is looking for her lost father and brother. She had lost her sight in one of those mysterious islands too, and she hopes that revisiting the island where she lost her eyesight would aid her in her recovery.

Randy isn't keen, but Claire knows a thing or two about the riddles. Not that she knows it. Randy takes her along, en route a visit to his family home first.

More Than You Know has a great premise, but the characters drive me nuts to the point that I have to force myself to finish this book. I've never seen women characters displaying so much "understanding" before, not since Joan of Arc thought it'd be a noble cause to burn instead of showing the Church the finger. I can only take so much peace and understanding from martyrs before I feel this urge to knock some heads together.

It's ridiculous, really. If a heroine's virtue is to be kind and considerate and all-giving, so be it. But please, not to the point of making excuses for the men's behavior.

Rand stands by and lets his mother get beaten up by her husband. He tells that Claire because his mother has betrayed the family name by marrying the man who owns the lands (never mind that she wants to make sure the lands are in the family's hands still), she deserves it. "She's a whore," he tells Claire.

But instead of reaching up and pulling the man's ears off for such stupidity, Claire understands. "You feel guilty because you are unable to protect your lands," she says with martyr tears of understanding rolling down her cheeks. She delivers a gentle scolding, but really, she understands. And Rand nods, of course, of course, she's right! Now he has an excuse to assuage his conscience.

His sister Bria almost get assaulted by an evil suitor. "Don't kill him! Don't kill him!" Bria screams at Rand. "It's me! I was the foolish one! Me, me, me!" Same with Mrs Hamilton. "Me, me, me!" she says when her husband hits her.

Give me a break from these women.

Rand baits Claire, mocks her, insults her. But hey, Claire understands. She understands everything, really. Even when Rand reveals his none-too-noble motives about her, peace brothers and sisters. She Understands.

I think I need to lie down for awhile.

Rating: 57

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