A Man Of Means
by Diana Palmer, contemporary (2002)
Silhouette Desire, $3.99, ISBN 0-373-76429-4

Diana Palmer fans are a tough breed. They can sit through the ridiculous misogynist hero and call him "sweet" while calling the heroine "fragile". I know, people with brain damage need love too, but the problem here is that Ms Palmer is passing off morons as intelligent people. Affirmative action is one thing, but this is outright bluffing. Don't bluff me, please.

And incidentally, if you need CPR, you better wish it isn't Diana Palmer administering it to you. She can't even get that right, and worse, she has supposedly qualified folks administering CPR all wrong. Is it so hard to pick up a book on CPR or a pamphlet to get the facts right before getting down to writing that scene?

Then again, the bigger question has to be: why is the heroine Meredith Johns so freaking pathetic? I have read three books in a row where the heroine plays the victim, and this one has to be the worst, because Meredith's victim status has no rhyme or reason to it. Her father is a wild, raving drunkard, but she loves him unconditionally! She goes to a party wearing her old clothes because she can't afford new ones, and almost bursts into tears when guys come on to her! Needless to say, this is her first excursion outside her house in four years, and I am not surprised. Some heroines should never be allowed out of their house, and Meredith is one of them.

She stumbles upon our hero injured and battered, and she follows him to the hospital, where the first thing he does upon regaining consciousness is to hurl aspersions on her character. Because she dresses like a slut, and because she is a woman. He is Rey Hart, Dumb Fart, who owns some Texan ranch - the sole prime qualifier for a man's worth, surely - and next thing I know, those two car wrecks are holed up together in that ranch, where she holds back tears and hopes that her inner retardation, sorry, purity shines through to convince Rey that she is pure and holy and he will stop hurting her. Oh, stop it, Rey, she loves you even if you have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. (Then again, she loves her daddy the same way - gosh, that sounds sick, but hey, Diana Palmer wrote Merry that way, not me.)

Of course, Merry's innocence and purity shine through like a beacon, and our hero, who hates all women because... oh, because, finally realizes that all women are sluts and hos and bitches, but Merry is so pure, he must love her after all.

It's a good thing they live in a ranch. I hear there is a higher possibility that a meteor may crash onto that hovel (as opposed to, say, a suburban area) and burn everyone in it to crisps. Now that's a nice vision to savor.

Rating: 35

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