A Necessary Husband
by Debra Mullins, historical (2002)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81908-2

According to the Great Chamber Pot McOracle holding court in the Coven of Avon Editors' cave, Western romances don't sell, and all those who refuse to switch gears and start writing Regency/Scotland romances just like McOracle here preordains will be merrily driven out of the Avon Romantic Treasure Wonderland. Debra Mullins happily capitulates to McOracle and humbly submits A Necessary Husband.

She probably has read every single one of the previous Avon romantic stories in the "Yankee Showing Those Englishmen How To Act Stoopid" romance line and happily picks and matches the plot devices for her book. A Necessary Husband - Debra Mullin's necessary task? - is one of the most predictable, snooze-inducing reads I've ever come across, and worse, I loathe the hero Garrett Lynch.

Garrett Lynch is an American sea captain, and we all know that Americans have no manners, love to sexually harrass women, and don't adhere to pansy British garbage like manners and restrain because Americans are all cool like that. But he's also a Marquess of Kelton. Sort of like Madonna, I guess, who has done everything but in the end has to make herself a global laughingstock by mastering a really dodgy "London accent", you still aren't cool unless you have an English title. The triumph of Anglophilia!

He is on a rampage in London because his sister Meg is under the Evil Influence of his grandfather, the old man who disowned Garrett's father when the latter marry for love. He wants to drag sister home, but whoa, he is stumped when he sees that hot sexy butt of that woman playing Meg's etiquette teacher. Boing!

On her part, Lucinda Devering is everyone's favorite victim. Her husband died while playing bondage games with his mistress - how disgusting, what happened to the virtuous missionary position, what is wrong with the world today, et cetera - and now Lucy's reputation is Ruined Forever. She also believes herself to be barren because her hubby's perfunctory poking yields no powerful tadpoles potent enough to fertilize her recalcitrant eggs. (Of course, when a husband can play bondage games with another woman but not his wife, somthing is really wrong here... what, Ms Mullins? Bondage games are evil and only skanks do that? Oh. I see. Carry on then.)

The Grandfather, who is not so evil as he is a Matchmaking-Bent Psycho (we always need one of those) hires Lucinda to shape up Garrett so that he can marry some Miss Wrong. Garrett harrasses Lucy, molests her, propositions her with the grace of a drunken fratboy, and Lucy is vexed. Ooh! But he is like, sexysexysexy, oh lordylordy sexysexy mercymercy oh! But she must not succumb! She must not - oops! How did Garrett's banana end up poked up there? Think of England, dear, think of England and sing the martyr karaoke anthem.

And we need a dotty aunt, we always need one, who thinks that an uncouth, rude, and boorish jerk like Garrett is the one for Lucy. As if I need constant reminding - maybe the author knows that if she doesn't use Aunty Dingbat Agatha to remind me so often how hot Garrett is, I may just realize what a jerk he is? - but in this case I agree with Dingbat Agatha. Jerk and Martyr deserve each other - may they remove themselves from the gene pool of romance characters. No, wait, they will procreate. Oh dear.

Oh yeah. The conflict. Lucy's brother-in-law, Malcolm, wants her bad, and he doesn't care if he will kill, plunder, murder, or how much he humiliate himself in the process, as long as he gets Lucy. I tell you, if I blink, I may just confuse him with Garrett. Oh yeah - Garrett's the sex-fiend who's hot and who makes Meg's kittens stand at attention. Malcolm's just the sex fiend. That's love, my friends.

Full of uninspired and inane overused plot devices, half-baked and overly familiar characters, plot twists I can see coming a galaxy away, and dialogues I can pretty much speak aloud word by word ten minutes before the characters mouth them. Either I'm psychic now or this is one book that caters to the select niche of amnesiac readers. You know, those readers that can't remember things that happen half an hour ago, ala Guy Pearce's character in that brilliant movie Memento.

Ooh, heavens. The image of a half naked Guy Pearce reading this book gives me my first thrill ever since I opened this book. How about me reading it to a half-naked Guy Pearce on the same bed? Ack. My heart, my heart! Someone hand me my aspirins quick!

In the meantime, Debra Mullins, along with Brenda Hiatt, Suzanne Enoch, and too many other authors, gets sucked deeper into the Great McEditorial Homogenizer located in the deepest level of the Avon dungeons. Poor, poor dears. In the deepest abyss of the Hearstian Hells, no one can hear you scream.

Requiem aeternam dona eis,
Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis
Requiescant in pace

Rating: 51

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