Snow In September
by Rachel Lee, contemporary (2000)
MIRA, $5.99, ISBN 1-55166-554-9

Step one: open A Handbook Of Traumas, Psychoses, Neuroses, and Phobias and pick out five most popular ones and slap 'em on the heroine. No, make that seven. Ten. Two, since this is a book from that Duncan Mill Cowboy Fan Club Factory, add in a sheriff hero. Make the whole story revolves around our heroine wallowing in self-pity in the most vocal, shrilliest manner possible and making life hell for both the patient hero and the impatient reader, and you've got Snow In September flying across the room like a lousy, unbalanced frisbee.

Without a suspense thread to keep my interest going, SIS's over-reliance on abusive childhood and a zillion traumas and insecurities, liberally laced with lazy, predictable character development, stand out like a sore thumb. It's okay if the traumatized characters are strong, pull themselves together, and make life as best as they could. That's courage, that's survival. Make a heroine that goes on and on about how miserable she is even as she plays doormat and acts hot and cold with the hero - that's whiny.

Let's try to count the many mental baggages our heroine Meg Williams have:
(a) Mommy gives her no respect and our heroine has a case of direly low self-esteem,
(b) Guilt, guilt, guilt because hubby dies after he raced out of their house during an argument. We all know first hubbies can't be good, but a heroine whipping herself bloody over a man is a sure sign of wimpiness good heroine character.
(c) Daughter Allie, rebellious and gives Momma no respect, is not only suicidal, she has the brains to flee her depressing household. Wait, Allie, let me join you!
(d) Meg doesn't trust men, believes that she isn't a good woman, mother, or wife or even lover.

Sheriff Earl Sanders has always been in love with Miss Uptight Misery, and now that the husband is dead, he figures it's time he comforts the widow. So it's they kissing, she screaming in guilt because she can't be a good woman, they boinking, she beating herself bloody because she's a bad woman, they snogging, she screaming at him to get lost because she's not a good woman, and when he walks away in hurt, she moans how sad her life is. Boo-hoo!

Did I mention Allie's boyfriend who is not only an abused child, he subjects himself to the beating because he is only trying to protect his mother from his scumbag daddy?

Sometimes life gets so screwed up that the only way one can face it chin high to put his or her foot down, say "F*** it" to the whole mess, and show them the finger. Too bad no one tells Meg and Pushover Company that. Me, I'm off for some romantic comedy.

Rating: 36

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