His 1-800 Wife
by Shirley Hailstock, contemporary (2001)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-157-X

Shirley Hailstock takes a break from her usual romantic suspense contemporaries to write a, uhm, screwball-lite romantic comedy. How does His 1-800 Wife fare? Well, you know how people stare at something stupefyingly unbelievable in the sky, like a pink UFO, and go "What on earth...?" Well, that's me. What on earth...?

By the way, shouldn't this book be called Her 1-800 Husband?

You see, Catherine Carson doesn't want to married. Oh, she does, with that biological clock going tick-tick-tick and all, but she just doesn't like the men her mother and her sister keep throwing her way. Besides, Cathy has been burned before, being engaged to a control freak, so uh-uh, no way is she going that fast down that path again, no siree.

So what does she do? Tell Mom and Sis to stay out of her life? Move to another state? Go call up some girlfriends and paint the town red? Of course not. Cathy has low self-esteem, and oh, she just can't tell Momma and Sis to back off. So she decides to get a guy, marry him for a while to get Momma and Sis off her back, and then dump that guy.

Hello, lunacy.

Jarrod Greene is Cathy's childhood enemy, but he decides to help her when he sees this grown up woman - phwoar, man, look at those, I mean, that face, man! So they get married. What now?

Well, Cathy keeps on whining and complaining. Oh, her life is falling apart. How dare Jarrod be so attractive? Oh, why is her life so annoying? So going out of her way? Dang it, how dare the sex be so good! She doesn't want this - Jarrod get out! No, waitwaitwait, she wants this - Jarrod, come back! NO! Get out! But oh, she is so lonely and unhappy, she needs someone to comfort her - oh Jarrod...

Yep, it's all about Cathy. Cathy calls, Jarrod comes. Cathy gets PMS, Jarrod is kicked out of her way. Jerrod is a nice, decent, if one-dimensional Mr Rich-and-Perfect who seems to exist solely to cater to Cathy's neuroses. Of course, Cathy gets her man in the end. But boy, she getting there is one annoying, painful helluva read.

Rating: 49

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