My Fair Quiggley
by Judith A Lansdowne, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7017-9

Even if it's being marketed as a mainstream romance, My Fair Quiggley - love that title - is actually a Regency romance. The sexual tension and love thingies are meagre - no, worse than meagre. And the story is as slow as a snail's crawl, there is nothing but chattering happening most of the time, and the heroine is as dumb as peanut shells. What else is new?

Desdemona Quiggley, sister of some Viscount (or something), decides to be Independent. Thus, she and some dotty dingbat spinsters run a business (perfumed herb pillows) right to the ground in their independence show-off. Actually, they blame this highwayman Dandy Dan who took off with their shipment of pillows. Now, they decide to capture Dandy Dan themselves and claim the reward. To do this, they waylay the path and bring down the first stranger they see in town with a slingshot. Strangers don't come to this town, apparently, so the first stranger = Dandy Dan.

Girls, please stay in bed and don't come out until you're 80.

WhackQuack and company bring down the wrong man, of course. He's actually CJ Wesley, the Marquis of Daxonbury. Waxingbanbury to you. He's an ex-soldier (a heroic one, of course), a dandy, a rake, a... well, he's a veritable potpourri of all readers can want in a Regency hero. Can he cook? Nah, probably not. He is looking for his Aunt Miranda, one of WhackQuack's lady business partner. Aunt Miranda hasn't contacted her family for a long time, so Waxingbanbury comes to see what Auntie is doing.

Gawd, the women in this story are stupid. Seriously, when they discover that Waxingbanbury has no guns on him, they start clucking like hens whether he is the real guy or not. Then they discover, omigosh, he doesn't have the scary scar or beard like they say Dandy Dan has! Ladies, ladies, will it kill you to stop, look, and think before you fire that slingshot?

Meanwhile, the real Dandy Dan is actually someone closer to them than they think. He has kidnapped a girl named Elizabeth for ransom, and they fall in love. Or something. I am still wondering what these two are doing in the story. But the sad thing is, this author's attempt to channel The Professional is way more interesting than Waxingbanbury and WhackQuack's love story. Quack and Banbury have no purpose, no intention, no direction, no chemistry, no sexual tension, no substance, no raison d'etre, and oh yeah, no fun. Banbury just hangs around, Quack just hangs around and gets corrected by everybody over the most obvious things she should have gotten right (but she doesn't - quack!), and everybody ambles around in his or her own sweet time.

"Come on, man, Emily and Mom just got eliminated from The Amazing Race, the lawyer team is showing way too much flesh for my own good, and you people just sit there and chit-chat?" I want to yell. "Someone set their skirts and pants on fire, dammit!"

There's not enough Dandy Dan and his loyal puppy girlfriend (the latter isn't too smart either - he rescues her and ooh, she falls for him because he rescues her - please get a life, missy), a romance that isn't that interesting but it sure beats reading about Banbury correcting Quack's blunders and making her stare in shock because Quack heroines can't flirt or anything. All Quack can do is to stare in indignation and go all huffy. If she isn't being a starry-eyed Quackerdumbo, that is.

Do I enjoy My Fair WhackQuack? Not really. I'm bored. Maybe if I haven't started reading this after this week's frustrating, exciting, and oh-so enjoying The Amazing Race (memo to lawyers: strip off those khakis when you go diving next week, and to the Frat Bastards: marry me, the both of you, and we'll all be happy Mormons or Amish or something), this book wouldn't be like a giant concrete slab that I crash into after my excitement high. Maybe I'll keep this one for when I have trouble sleeping.

Rating: 58

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