By Love Unveiled
by Deborah Martin, historical (1993)
Topaz, $4.99, ISBN 0-451-40362-2

Lady Marianne Winchilsea is not a happy woman. First, her father is arrested for trying to poison King Charles II and is said to be executed. Next, her Gypsy aunt drugs her to ferret her to safety. If that's not bad enough, an upstart named Garett Lyon has moved into her father's house and... ooh! But our heroine, who has been playing Gypsy healer with his aunt, just can't say no when Garett is injured and needs some loving healing. And when people are trying to kill him, or her, or both, and when she thinks he's responsible for her father's arrest, well, it's never a smooth road to a happily ever after.

By Love Unveiled exasperates me. Not because it's bad, but because of Marianne. I know, I know, I complain too much about heroines, but really, Marianne is such a nitwit. Her sole idea of action seems to be throwing herself into some stupid action, and when she's in deep trouble, appeals to the baddies' reasoning to see things the "right" (read: her version of right) way. She wants to do this, to throw herself at Charles II to tell the king that his father can't be a traitor because, nay, he just can't be. Yeah, that's a wise move. And when situations require that she be a little cunning and, you know, do the dirty little L word ("lie"), she just can't. It's not nice to lie, even when she is in danger. Hence Garett unmasks her easily and leads her into a merry dance that has her sputtering in exasperation and indignation.

Marianne is really out of place in this story. The author has created a story that has some great political intrigue, but the heroine just cannot adapt. She's like a block of wood caught in the middle of a crossfire, or a deer in the middle of an oncoming train if you will. Can't lie, won't lie, feels guilty for the slightest of reason (including telling the hero to get lost) - she's roadkill. It's just luck and the hero and her aunt that keeps her from being one.

By Love Unveiled is a pretty good story. I know that. But whenever Marianne furthers the complications of the plot with her stupidity and rigid, unbending tell-the-truth-even-if-I-and-everybody-dies codex, I want to choke that woman until she's blue in the face. What I wouldn't give to see this wench scream and suffer her way to Survivor in Africa. Then again, they'd probably boot her out as soon as they can. Heh, really.

Rating: 71

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