My Wicked Earl
by Linda Needham, historical (2001)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81523-0

Linda Needham's last book was a disappointment, and I'm hoping My Wicked Earl will be more up to par with the author's best works (The Wedding Night and Her Secret Guardian). My Wicked Earl is much better than The Maiden Bride, but reading it, I can't help but to feel that the author has plagiarized her own work, specifically The Wedding Night.

The feel of the plot and the characters are similar. A girly heroine, a macho gruff hero with some hidden hurt, and a plot revolving mostly these two - and a kid - stuck in a big house with many, many boxes to unpack. He wants something she has, this time around, Charles Stirling wants the whereabouts of anti-government seditious poison pen author "Captain Spindleshanks". Hollie Finch is the captain in question, of course, but she's not telling him, letting on that Captain Spindleshanks is her husband instead. Charles put her under house arrest (in his house), and Hollie and his/not-his brat (you'll know what I mean if you read this story) will soon thaw his heart.

And also, at the same time, Hollie is doing this because of Daddy. Daddy died due to injustices perpetuated by the government, and Hollie unthinkingly takes up his crusade. For Hollie, who talks to Daddy in her mind, it's all about Daddy. Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy. Hollie, who seems genuinely shocked that she is arrested and she has no plan B in advance. Who just cannot lie because gawd, she hates lying, and look, she just can't lie. Memo to the author? A heroine like this, one who fumbles to remember a lie she told moments ago, in a life-threatening crisis? Hollie's not smart, cute, or endearing. She's a child, and reading about a big man like Charles having the hots for Hollie is like watching child softporn involving kiddie Shirley Temple. There is something wrong and filthy about all this.

The heroine of The Wedding Night is a good mix of innocence and worldliness. By comparison, Hollie is like one of those airy-fairy child-like women you see on the TV screen during a drug-bust coverage on the news.

The hero is a good man, just like the hero in The Wedding Night. In fact, come to think of it, everything about MWE just reminds me what a superior book TWN is. I think I'll just leave Lolita Crusader and her Captain Bigboy here and search for my well-read copy of TWN.

Rating: 71

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